Monday, April 25, 2011

Not too Sweet...But Oh So Good!

Searching, searching…scanning cookbooks, flipping through cooking magazines, looking for that perfect desert…big desert?- cake with lots of frosting, or cheese cake - too much; sweet fruit, pie or tart - not what I’m looking for; custard - no; bread pudding - closer but not quite right…the meal I was preparing was going to be ‘big’ so I was feeling that desert needed to be ‘just a little something’ not big sweet. I remembered these Mexican pastries that my mom used to get, mostly cake-y bread with just the slightest bit of sweet, she would keep them in a special place in a kitchen cupboard - not to be touched by us - just for her - for her 10AM pick me up - that was what I was looking for, and then it came to me…Italian Olive Oil Cake. One layer, super moist and not too sweet. And another great thing about this cake is it just takes a couple bowls and a whisk…you know sometimes when you’ve got a lot going on in the kitchen it’s just nice not to have to get out the big mixer or some other big piece of equipment…quick, easy, yummy…works for me!
Torta di Mandoria (Moist Almond Cake)

1C All-Purpose Flour
½ C Blanched or Natural Almond Flour

1 ½ tsp Baking Powder

1 tsp Kosher Salt

3 lg. Eggs

¾ C Granulated Sugar

½ C plus 1TBS Extra Virgin Olive Oil

½ tsp Vanilla Extract

Grated zest of 1 med. Lemon or ¼ med. Orange (I used the lemon)

½ C Orange Juice

For the Glaze:

2 TBS Unsalted Butter

1 C Confectioner’s Sugar

3 TBS Whole Milk

A few drops of Lemon Juice

½ C Sliced, Blanched Almonds, toasted and cooled
Heat oven to 350D.

Grease and flour a 9” round cake pan or springform pan and set aside.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, almond flour, baking powder and salt to thoroughly combine…set aside.
Crack eggs into a large mixing bowl and whisk them lightly to break up the yolks. Add the sugar and whisk it in both directions for about 30 seconds. Add the olive oil and whisk until the mixture is a bit lighter in color and has thickened slightly, about 45 seconds. Whisk in the extracts and zest, followed by the orange juice.
Add the dry ingredients to the bowl and whisk until they are thoroughly combined, continue whisking until you have a smooth batter, about 30 more seconds.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake the cake for 30-45 minutes, rotating the cake pan halfway through the cooking time to ensure even browning. The cake is done when it has begun to pull away from the sides of the pan, and springs back lightly when touched. A cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean…

Allow cake to cool for ten minutes in the pan, then gently remove it from the pan and cool completely on a rack.

While the cake cools, make the glaze. Melt the butter over medium heat in a small saucepan. When the bubbles subside, lower the heat and watch the butter carefully, swirling it in the pan occasionally. When the butter begins to turn light tan, turn off the heat and let the butter sit, it will continue to darken a bit as it sits. Add the sugar, milk and lemon juice and whisk until smooth. Cover the top of the cake with the glaze and let it drizzle down the sides. Sprinkle the toasted almond slices on the top of the cake.

There you have it…a not too sweet cake, that looks great and is a great accompaniment to any meal…or just that 10 AM pick me up!

1 comment:

  1. This is one I will try. Did you take a photo of the finished cake? Would love to see it.