This is a flawless, crisp-chewy, endlessly malleable olive oil cake blueprint you will want to pocket, even without the crazy-sounding addition of olives. But you should really suspend disbelief and give them a try. For more on why, see the original article here. Variations: 1) Omit the olives, increase the salt to a slightly heaped 1/4 teaspoon, fold 1/2 cup cacao nibs into the batter, and press 1/2-2/3 cup salted, roasted Marcona almonds into the top before baking. 2) Omit the olives, replace the 1/4 cup almond meal with toasted pistachio meal (or ground, toasted unsalted pistachios), add 2 tablespoons shiro miso to the wet ingredients, and press 3/4 cup salted, roasted pistachios into the top before baking. Adapted slightly from Charlotte Druckman for Brightland Olive Oil. —Genius Recipes
- Prep time 10 minutes
- Cook time 30 minutes
- Makes one 9- or 10-inch cake
(95g) all-purpose flour
(25g) almond meal
baking powder (the aluminum-free kind, if you can find it)
(100g) light or dark brown sugar
(100g) granulated sugar, divided
(110g) extra-virgin olive oil
(80g) pitted oil-cured black olives, roughly chopped
- Heat the oven to 350°F with a well-seasoned 10-inch cast-iron skillet in it. (9-inch is fine if that's what you have—it will just take a little longer to bake.)
- Sift or whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl. In the bowl of a stand mixer (or using a large mixing bowl and handheld electric mixer), beat the olive oil, brown sugar, and 1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons (75g) granulated sugar together on medium-high speed until thoroughly combined. Add the eggs, one at a time, to incorporate, scraping down the bowl, then add the vanilla and beat to incorporate.
- Decrease the speed to low and add the dry ingredients, mixing until just combined.
- Remove the hot cast-iron skillet from the oven and carefully brush the bottom and sides with olive oil. Scrape the batter into the skillet and smooth the top. Scatter the olives all over the batter, covering it. Sprinkle the top evenly with the remaining 2 tablespoons sugar (25g). Remembering the pan and handle are hot (!), return it to the oven.
- Bake until cake is golden and a toothpick inserted into a center part of the cake comes out free of batter, about 30 to 40 minutes.
- Wait a good 10 minutes before flipping the cake out of the skillet. Use a butter or dinner knife (not too sharp) to make sure the cake is loosened from the sides of the pan, and, if necessary, to coax the edges off the bottom of the pan for easy flipping. Have two plates ready, because you’ll need to flip it twice so it’s right (olive) side up.
- Depending on how well-seasoned your cast iron pan is, it's possible that the bottom will stick. If it's sticking all over, let it cool and firm up a bit more, then try to ease it out with a spatula, or just serve it from the pan. If one spot sticks and remains in the pan after you flip out, tuck the missing piece in like a puzzle and no one will notice! Let cake cool completely before serving.