I learned about olive oil cake a couple of years ago, and have always been intrigued by various descriptions. I’ve never been someone who craved dessert. I’m happy with a piece of fruit or nothing at all after dinner. Olive oil cake isn’t overly sweet, and the sweetness you do experience is bright and laced with citrus.
I looked for awhile until I came up with a recipe I was willing to put any effort into. I was especially drawn to recipes calling for citrus zest and almonds. I tried a few out, and liked The Food Network’s Giada De Laurentiis’ recipe the most.
While I was baking the first two tries (different recipes) I was also tweeting about my experience and frustration with the cakes. (Tweeting and baking go hand in hand…all this spare time on my hands waiting for my cakes to bake…what else was I going to do?)
Neither an avid nor particularly good baker, I knew I had to be doing something wrong, but I couldn’t figure out what exactly. I retraced my steps. Did I forget anything? Did I add something I wasn’t supposed to?
In my flurry of frustrated tweets came a possible answer, in the form of “unsolicited advice”. It was truly a godsend. The owner of Hi*Rise, a locally owned bakery near the ballpark was offering me advice. You better believe I took it. They bake hundreds of bagels a day. Their biscuits are to die for. (I like the one with spicy chorizo.)
He suggested I halve the baking powder. That’s it. I have to admit I was skeptical. There is no way that could make such a difference. I am here to tell you there is a way, and it is the right way. I’ve made this cake about six times in the past month, and it is perfect every time.
Remember, I am not a “dessert person”. So I just have a slice of this for breakfast with coffee.
If you have a chance, go say hi to the nice people at Hi*Rise.
And one more thing, halve the baking powder! (You just need one teaspoon, trust me.)
The photos top to bottom are the cake cooling; the cake right before serving dusted with powdered sugar; and the batter (I’d recommend following the recipe and actually chopping the almonds, I spaced out and it was too late!).