I made this lemon olive oil cake as a dessert to go with the herbed balsamic chicken with blue cheese I made the other day. I wanted something light and refreshing to go with dinner. I was very surprised by the list of ingredients. No baking powder or baking soda, but there were a lot of eggs! Of course, this puts me on edge because I’m not a huge fan of eggs or eggy desserts, but I plowed through and made the cake. I will admit to going a little overboard with folding in the egg whites, but the cake rose to a decent height. I was supposed to wait for about an hour and a half before cutting the cake, but I couldn’t wait and cut it after half an hour.
The cake had a very interesting texture. It was definitely like a sponge cake with little to no crumb. And the flavor was perfect! The lemon was very nice and light, and the cake overall wasn’t very sweet. I took it home to Miles and he really loved it. He loved it so much that I couldn’t take it to work! I tried another piece the next day and the lemon flavor intensified slightly, but not overpowering in any way. The texture changed as well. It was more like a traditional butter cake; tender with a slight crumb. Miles got my hopes up when he asked if I could make this for his birthday. I thought that finally, I wasn’t going to have to make sculpted cakes anymore. When he realized that I couldn’t make a Pokémon out of this cake, he changed his mind.
- ¾ cup olive oil (extra-virgin if desired)
- 1 lemon
- 1 cup cake flour (not self-rising)
- 5 eggs, separated, reserving 1 white
- ¾ cup plus 1 ½ tablespoons sugar
- 9-inch spring form pan, parchment paper (parchment paper will be your new best friend)
- Put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 350°F. Grease the spring form pan and line bottom with a round of parchment paper.
- Finely grate enough lemon zest to measure 1 ½ teaspoons and whisk together with flour. Squeeze and reserve 1 ½ tablespoons fresh lemon juice.
- Beat together yolks and ½ cup sugar in a large bowl with an electric mixer at high speed until thick and pale, about 3 minutes. Reduce speed to medium and add olive oil and lemon juice, beating until just combined (mixture might appear separated). Using a wooden spoon, stir in flour mixture gently, until just combined.
- Beat egg whites (from 4 eggs) with ½ teaspoon salt in another large bowl at medium-high speed until foamy, then gradually add ¼ cup sugar, beating, and continue to beat until egg whites just hold soft peaks, about 3 minutes.
- Gently fold one third of whites into yolk mixture, then fold in remaining whites until thoroughly combined.
- Transfer batter to springform pan and gently rap against work surface once or twice to release any air bubbles. Sprinkle top evenly with remaining 1 ½ tablespoons sugar. Bake until puffed and golden and a wooden toothpick inserted in center of cake comes out clean, about 45 minutes. Cool cake in pan on a rack 10 minutes, then run a thin knife around edge of pan and remove side of pan. Cool cake to room temperature, about 1 1/4 hours. Remove bottom of pan and peel off parchment, then transfer cake to a serving plate.