Here's a delicious, adult kind of cake that's sweet but not too sweet. The complexity of the flavor surprised me. Sweet, slightly tangy, almost savory. The flavors come in layers, starting with the gooey, sticky sweet honey glaze....slightly citrus in the middle, ending with the subtle savory-sweet taste of olive oil.
I discovered this recipe in a newly acquired cookbook titled The Dahlia Bakery Cookbook. What a find! Full of dozens of wonderful recipes I'm anxious to try and taste and savor.
One note that was made for this cake is to do everything by hand. No electric mixers. Your arm might get a good workout, but the end result is worth it.
Rustic Olive Oil Cake with Honey Syrup
Vegetable Oil Spray for the pan.
2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for the pan
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 1/4 cups whole milk, room temperature
1/4 cup Grand Marnier
1/4 up fresh orange juice
Zest from one lemon (about 1 heaping TB spoon)
3 large eggs
2 cups sugar
1 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup honey
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup water
1 strip of orange or lemon zest (1/2" x 4")
Preheat the oven to 375' F. Spray a 9" round cake pan with cooking spray. Cut a 9" round of parchment paper and place it on the bottom of the cake pan. Spray the paper with cooking oil then coat the pan with flour, shaking off the excess.
In a small bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, and baking soda. Add the salt, stir and set aside.
In a small bowl, combine the milk, Grand Marnier, orange juice and lemon zest. Set aside.
In a large bowl, and whisk the eggs by hand until well combined and smooth.
Gradually add in the olive oil in a steady stream and continue whisking the egg mixture until emulsified.
Add in 1/3 of the dry ingredients, whisking by hand until smooth. Add 1/2 of the wet ingredients, whisking by hand until smooth....add another 1/3 of the dry ingredients, the last 1/2 of the wet ingredients and then the final 1/3 of the dry ingredients, making sure you continue whisking in between each addition. Scrape down the sides as needed. Don't over whisk (I don't think your arm will allow this to happen).
Pour the batter into the prepared cake pan....tapping to release any air bubbles.
(This made me soooo very nervous. I mean...that batter was right up to the rim! I placed it on a baking sheet in case the cake spilled over the sides during baking. I also did the sideways crab walk as I inched my way to the oven. I'm happy to announce that not a drop spilled! Not during transporting nor during baking. Whew)
Bake until golden brown, a little domed and most likely cracked. This should take about 70 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean (a few moist crumbs is ok).
Allow to cool for about 15 minutes before removing from the pan. Run a knife around the edge. Place a plate over the cake, turn over to release the can from the pan. Peal off the parchment paper. Place another plate over the cake, turn over and there you have it....right side up.
To make the honey syrup (while the cake is baking):
Combine the honey, sugar, water, clove and orange zest in a small saucepan. Over medium-high heat, bring to a simmer, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Adjust the heat to keep it at a simmer. Continue simmering until it has reduced by about half (you should have about 3/4 cup of syrup). This will take about 10 to 12 minutes.
Remove from heat and allow to cool to room temperature.
Remove the clove and orange zest. Pour over individual slices as you serve the cake.
Or...poke the cake with holes, using a toothpick and pour the syrup over the whole thing, allowing all that gooey goodness to seep inside.