Toasted Cake Is Our New Favorite Cake

July 26, 2017

The key to any dinner party? Expert prepping. If you want to be able to socialize with your guests, then your menu should include some dishes that can be made ahead of time. This doesn’t work for every dish, but there are plenty that will still taste delicious (and look beautiful) after making them a day or two in advance.

Photo by Julia Gartland

One of my favorite recipes to serve at parties is this olive oil cake, not just because it's extremely versatile, but also because I can make it days before guests arrive. Just before serving, I slice the cake into small rectangles and toast them under the broiler until they’re warm and golden brown. It retains its moist and delicate texture, and the crispy, browned edges are so good that I actually prefer a toasted piece to a freshly baked slice.

Toasted olive oil cake is the perfect vehicle for any number of toppings, including ice cream, whipped cream, toasted nuts, or even thinly sliced fresh basil. It can also be cut into bite-size “croutons” to garnish creamy desserts like chocolate pudding or lemon posset. I like it best in the summertime, when I can serve it with whatever fruit is in season. Here in New York, the farmers markets are brimming with fresh blueberries, so I decided to make a quick and easy compote to spoon on top.

Photo by Julia Gartland

Unlike other compotes, this one features whole fresh blueberries folded into a puree of cooked blueberries. When I am simmering the blueberries, I sometimes add a few sprigs of fresh thyme into the pot. The floral and grassy flavor it adds is faint, but it complements the blueberries nicely. You could replace the thyme with a couple of bay leaves and it would add a peppery, herbal flavor. I like the idea of fresh herbs mingled with my dessert. I don’t crave pure sweetness, and I find the gentle herbal flavor complex and compelling. Like the cake, this recipe can be made a day or two ahead of time. But also like the cake, don't expect there to be any left over.

If you have a favorite recipe that you like to make in advance of dinner parties, leave me know in the comments!

See what other Food52 readers are saying.

  • Charlie S.
    Charlie S.
  • MJprovence
  • Eleanor grosz
    Eleanor grosz
  • Patti
  • Terry
Josh Cohen

Written by: Josh Cohen

Born and raised in Brooklyn, I’m perpetually inspired by the diversity of foods that exist in this city. I love shopping at the farmer’s market, making ingredients taste like the best versions of themselves, and rolling fresh pasta. I learned how to make fresh pasta in Italy, where I spent the first 6 months of my career as a chef. I've been cooking professionally in New York City since 2010.


Charlie S. August 4, 2017
Oh my, I've been toasting cake slices since my days at Le Cordon Bleu, Paris in the early 1980s.. Contrary to some other posts, a butter-based cake certainly toasts as well as an olive oil cake, maybe better. If you're using cheap, supermarket brand butter with a high water content then it's time to up your butter game is all I can say. Hint: salted butter, even in its cheap iteration has about half the water of unsalted, cheap butter. Adjust recipes accordingly but do give it a try!
MJprovence August 4, 2017
what nobody seems to understand is that this is 'olive oil' butter. It looks like a pound cake, acts like a pound cake in some ways but different in others toasts BETTER than a pound cake. I love olive oil cakes....
Eleanor G. August 4, 2017
Sorry, yes it is accessible.
Eleanor G. August 4, 2017
It's not accessible.
Patti August 4, 2017
The recipe for the cake is in the 2nd paragraph - the link "olive oil cake", right under the picture.
Can't wait to try this!
Terry August 4, 2017
Our family has been toasting pound cake for generations!
jennifer August 4, 2017
Cake recipe?????
Glen G. August 4, 2017
i dont see the recipe for the cake??
Pam August 4, 2017
Where is the recipe for the cake?
Sarah J. August 6, 2017
Here is the cake!
AntoniaJames July 26, 2017
I do this with toasted slices of sour cream corn bread. I make and freeze loaves of it using the last of the summer's corn (and with frozen corn during the winter), served with blueberries in vanilla + bay or ginger light syrup that I can during the summer, with a touch of maple-sweetened thick Greek yogurt - perfect for Sunday and casual dinner party desserts during the cooler months. Love the idea of using the olive oil cake! Am thinking this would be perfect for a dinner party on my calendar next month. Would also be delightful with a cranberry compote in early December! ;o)
Diane F. July 26, 2017
I remember toasted poundcake topped with vanilla ice cream as a special treat when I was a child in southwestern VA.
amysarah July 26, 2017
Decades ago, mother would toast sliced pound cake for our breakfast - generously slathered with butter. Butter on butter, so delicious.
BerryBaby July 26, 2017
Years ago Giada had a toasted pound cake recipe that I tried and it is very good. Kicks up pound cake a couple of notches!