Extra-virgin olive oil with a hint of fresh orange zest produces a subtle and flavorful cake, not overly sweet, with the satisfying texture of a pound cake. This cake improves over a day or two and toasted slices are nice for breakfast, even as much as a week later.
From Pure Dessert (Artisan 2007) by Alice Medrich. —Alice Medrich
one bundt cake or two 5- to 6-cup loaf pans
all-purpose unbleached flour
(400 grams) sugar
extra-virgin olive oil
grated orange zest (from 1 medium orange)
medium (amontillado) or dry sherry
A 10- to12-cup tube or Bundt pan or two 5- to 6-cup loaf pans
Position a rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat the oven to 350° F. Grease and flour the pans or line the loaf pans with parchment.
Mix the flour, baking powder, and salt thoroughly and sift together onto a piece of wax paper. Set aside.
Pour the sugar and oil into a large mixer bowl. Grate the zest of the orange into the bowl. Beat with the whisk attachment until well blended. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Continue to beat until the mixture is thick and pale, 3 to 5 minutes. Stop the mixer and add one-third of the flour mixture. Beat on low speed just until blended. Stop the mixer and add one half of the sherry. Beat just until it is blended. Repeat with another third of the flour, followed by the remaining sherry, and then the remaining flour.
Scrape the batter into the pan(s). Bake until a cake tester comes out clean, 50 to 60 minutes for either the tube pan or the loaves. Cool the cake in the pan(s) on a rack for about 15 minutes. Slide a skewer around the tube, then slide a thin knife around the sides of the pan(s) to release the cake(s). Invert the pans and invert again, setting the cake right side up on a rack to cool completely.
My career was sparked by a single bite of a chocolate truffle, made by my Paris landlady in 1972. I returned home to open this country’s first chocolate bakery and dessert shop, Cocolat, and I am often “blamed” for introducing chocolate truffles to America. Today I am the James Beard Foundation and IACP award-winning author of ten cookbooks, teach a chocolate dessert class on Craftsy.com, and work with some of the world’s best chocolate companies. In 2018, I won the IACP Award for Best Food-Focused Column (this one!).