There are few things which resound more strongly of summer than the combination cake, cream, and berries.
Today, on this very hot Wednesday in the very crux of summer, we are taking an old and reliable trio, and giving it the full foodie treatment.
Foodies are funny sorts of people who get very excited when you place savory adjectives in front of sweet nouns.
For instance, while they would scarcely bat an eye at a typical chocolate pie, put a pretzel crust on the scene and you are certain to win hearts.
I would laugh at the phenomena, except that I often find myself falling prey to the charm of the unexplored or unexpected. Despite the frivolity of trends and marketing ploys, I cannot help myself from following the duo of sweet and savory because 99% of the time, it leads somewhere delicious.
This cake is no exception to the rule, and if you have never had the pleasure of slicing into a sugar-encrusted, crumbly olive oil cake, please do not let another summer pass before doing so.
Sure it sounds odd initially, but while the notes of the olive oil are present, they are more of an aromatic canvas for the flavors of fresh orange and Grand Marnier.
The cake comes together in a fairly standard fashion and has the most incredible, sugary crust after it has been baked.
The only true oddity about this cake is that you really need to wait a full day before indulging. It is painfully hard but abundantly rewarded.
As the cake sits, the flavors continue to meld and the texture softens into something vaguely reminiscent of fluffy clouds.
Wait, you haven’t tasted clouds? Moving on.
Oh, and did I mention the macerated berries? Maceration is chef talk for soaking berries in a bit of sugar and liquid (in this case fresh orange juice and Grand Marnier) until they form their own syrup and soften up a bit.
It takes berries to an entirely different level and really rounds out that beautiful cake we baked.
This is how we Wednesday.
Orange-Infused Olive Oil Cake with Grand Marnier Macerated Berries
for the cake
recipe adapted from Bon Appetit Magazine
1 1/4 cups extra virgin olive oil, plus extra for the pan
1 cup + 2 tablespoons granulated sugar, plus extra for the pan
2 cups cake flour
1/3 cup almond flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
3 tablespoons Grand Marnier
3 tablespoons fresh orange juice
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 tablespoon orange zest
3 large eggs
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
Liberally coat an 8-inch cake pan with extra virgin olive oil. Cut a circle of parchment paper to fit the pan and place on the bottom of your cake pan; coat with a second layer of olive oil. Sprinkle an even layer of granulated sugar over the bottom and sides of the pan, and tap the pan to shake out any excess.
In a large mixing bowl, sift together cake flour, almond flour, baking powder, baking soda, and kosher salt. In a separate bowl, combine Grand Marnier, orange juice, and vanilla extract.
Combine eggs, orange zest, and 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons of granulated sugar in a large, clean bowl and beat with an electric mixer until thick and pale yellow in color. The mixture should fall off of the beaters in ribbons. This should take 3-5 minutes.
With the mixer on high speed, gradually beat in 1 1/4 cups olive oil.
Reduce the speed and begin incorporating the flour and amaretto mixtures, adding in one-third increments, and alternating between the two until the batter is smooth. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula and fold several times to ensure that there are no hidden pockets of flour.
Pour the batter into the prepared cake pan and sprinkle the top with a layer of granulated sugar.
Reduce the heat to 350 degrees F and bake the cake for 40-50 minutes; until the top is crisp and golden and a skewer inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.
Allow the cake to cool completely before removing from the pan. Wrap the cake in plastic wrap and allow to sit at room temperature overnight.*
*Cook's Note: While this waiting period is not absolutely necessary, the cake will greatly improve in flavor and texture after it has had a day to rest. The rewards are well worth the wait. If covered, this cake will last up to four days.
The following day, prepare the berries.
for the macerated berries
1 cup strawberries, sliced and hulled
1 cup blackberries
1 cup blueberries
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
2 tablespoons fresh orange juice
1 tablespoon Grand Marnier
Combine all berries in a medium mixing bowl and sprinkle with sugar. Pour in orange juice and Grand Marnier and toss all to combine.
Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
Serve berries alongside large slices of olive oil cake.