When I found this recipe, I didn't read the recipe all the way through. I read the reviews. It had great reviews. And I got to skip two steps: making the lemon curd (because I already had it) and making the whipped topping (because I didn't want it). But I somehow managed to skim over the fact that it was an olive oil cake, until 6am on Tuesday when I started making it. Had I known that, I might have picked up the extra light tasting Bertoli olive oil. But all I had on hand was this lovely olive oil that a friend of mine brought me from Madrid. Light is not a word I would use to describe it. It's a very olive-y tasting olive oil, whereas I usually like a butter-y tasting olive oil.
I threw my fears aside (I even thought about substituting the olive oil for canola oil) and used the darkish, green-ish, strong smelling olive oil. As I was mixing the batter, all I could smell was olive oil. At 6 in the morning. Nervous doesn't begin to describe what I was feeling. But, oh my!, when it came out of the oven, it smelled like heaven.
I made my Tuesday cake in the spring form pan that epicurious had recommended. The batter filled the pan 3/4 of the way and puffed 2-3 inches above the top of the pan when baked. When I un-molded the spring form pan, I caught a few crumbs and it was so delicious. It was all I could do to wait until it cooled to slice it, fill it, and frost it. On Sunday, I decided to make the cake in 6" cake pans. I worried about it not having the spring form release, but it came out of the pan like a charm. I also broke the batter into 4 pans instead of baking it in one pan like I did on Tuesday. Both methods worked fine, but I do wish I would have baked the cake a few minutes less on Sunday. I thought it was ever so slightly tougher on Sunday.
On Tuesday, I did frost the cake. I made a light lemon flavored whipped cream frosting. I had some issues with the frosting on Sunday, so I just dusted the stacked cakes with powdered sugar and served the whipped cream on the side.
This cake is lemon perfection. The crumb on it was perfect. It was dense and moist without being heavy. There was only a hint of olive oil. I could almost give up chocolate cake, entirely.
Lemon Scented Olive Oil Cake with Lemon Curd Filling
cake recipe adapted from epicurious
curd recipe courtesy of Joy of Baking
For the cake:
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
5 large eggs, separated
3/4 cup sugar, divided
3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon grated lemon zest
3 tablespoons lemon juice (this took 1.5 lemons for me)
1 cup cake flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
Adjust the oven rack to the middle position. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.
Brush all sides of a spring form pan with melted butter. Line the bottom of the pan with a round of parchment paper, then brush the pan and parchment again with the butter. Allow to chill 2 minutes to set. Dust with flour and knock out the excess.
Beat the yolks and 1/2 cup of sugar in a large bowl with an electric mixer on high speed until the yolks are pale and thick. At medium speed, beat in olive oil, lemon zest and lemon juice until combined. Stir in the flour and mix on low until combined.
With clean beaters, in a large clean bowl, beat the whites and salt on medium high speed until foamy. Add the remaining sugar and continue to beat until the whites hold a soft peak. Gently fold 1/3 of the whites into the yolk mixture to lighten it. Then fold in the remaining whites gently until thoroughly combined. Transfer batter to prepared pan, smooth the top, and rap on the counter to eliminate air bubbles. Bake until golden brown and a wooden pick comes out clean when inserted in the center, 40-50 minutes. Cool in pan on a rack for 10 minutes, then remove the sides of the pan and cool 1 hour. The top in cave a little.
For the lemon curd:
3 large eggs
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup fresh lemon juice (2-3 fresh lemons)
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 tablespoon finely grated lemon zest
In a stainless steel bowl placed over a saucepan of simmering water, whisk the eggs, sugar and lemon juice until blended. Cook, stirring constantly, until the mixture becomes thick. This will take approximately 10 minutes. Remove from heat and immediately pour through a fine mesh strainer. Cute the butter into small pieces and whisk into the mixture until the butter has melted. Stir in the lemon zest and let cool. The lemon curd will begin to thicken as it cools. Cover immediately and refrigerate for up to one week.
To assemble the cake:
Invert the cake and discard the parchment paper. Cut the cake horizontally in 2 or 3 even layers (I chose to do 2) with a long serrated knife. Transfer one layer, cut side up to a cake plate. Whisk the lemon curd to loosen it, then spread it some filling over the top of the layer. Top with remaining cake layer, cut side down. Dust with powdered sugar and serve with whipped cream.