re-baking: oil cake (olive oil and sauternes cake)

It’s so rare that I crave anything sweet, but going through pictures of this cake was torturous. I can still remember how enjoyable it was, the sweetness of the sauternes and dense yellow flesh, even though I made it weeks ago. The bottle of sauternes is still at my parent’s house, where I’d made this last time and where I’m headed again this weekend. I really have no choice but to make this again while I’m there–it’s the only way to exercise this craving.

That’s right, I’m voluntarily going to bake this again! Not just bake because I promised I would when I started the le sauce baking academy. I have to admit that I’m more confident around a bowl of flour and eggs than I was at the start of all of this, but I still approach each new recipe with more than a little trepidation. The first cake, a genoise, was not easy. Thankfully, this olive oil cake was not that difficult. The two results were quite different as you’d expect, with olive oil replacing butter as the fat in this classic.

This is the famous recipe of Alice Waters and, not that I could, but I wouldn’t change a thing. I ended up taking it to a family gathering and the rich, thin slices fed many, all of whom were unanimously enamored. It pleased a visiting aunt so much that she reminded my mom twice to get the recipe from me, and it had my cousins’ kids, pre-school to pre-teen alike “mmm-ing” over it.

And what I loved almost as much as eating it was admiring it beforehand. It depresses in the centre (Alice warns us it will) and gets all droopy on the edges, like the quintessential cake animated in kids’ books and TV shows. The kind of thing I’d expect Baker Smurf to be whipping up during Saturday morning cartoons.

As usual, I’d love to hear from you if you try this cake or have advice or comments about genoise, olive oil or any other cakes. Because this is part of the baking academy series, please leave your cake tip in the original post so we can get all of our cake learning in one place. Thanks!

Alice Waters’ Olive Oil and Sauternes Cake
(Via the LA TImes)

5 eggs, separated
3/4 cup sugar
1 tablespoon mixed grated orange and lemon zest
1 cup sifted flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup Sauternes
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons Extra Virgin olive oil
2 egg whites

Beat egg yolks with 3/4 cup sugar in bowl with whisk 3 to 5 minutes or until light-colored and well beaten. Add orange and lemon zest and set aside.

Combine flour and salt. Add bit by bit to sugar-egg mixture, beating continually until incorporated. Add Sauternes and olive oil in increments.

Beat all 7 egg whites until stiff peaks form. Fold into egg-yolk mixture.

Grease 8-inch spring form pan and line with parchment paper. Grease again and pour batter into pan. Bake at 375 degrees 20 minutes, rotating cake if necessary to ensure even cooking.

Reduce heat to 325 degrees and bake 20 minutes longer. Turn off heat, cover cake with round of buttered parchment and leave in closed oven 10 minutes while cake deflates like fallen souffle.

Remove cake from oven and invert onto flat surface. Remove spring form pan and allow to cool completely. Cake may be stored, well sealed, in refrigerator.

Makes 1 (8-inch) cake.

Note: Dust cake with powdered sugar, if desired. Serve with fresh peaches and glass of Sauternes.