Joy of Baking

Italian olive oil lemon cake

(George Boomer)
By Alison Boomer
February 17, 2010

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Serves 8

Italian cooks use the highest quality olive oils for baking because of its unique combination of buttery taste and rich density. This easy, traditional olive oil cake with lemon has a light, but tight crumb and stays moist for days (if it lasts that long). Countess Romana Bicocchi of Numerouno olive oil estate in Tuscany gave me the recipe last year, which I adapted using American flour. Serve wedges of this cake midmorning with coffee, in the afternoon with tea, or after dinner with oranges or clementines.

Butter (for the pan)
Flour (for the pan)
7 eggs, separated and at room temperature
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1 cup top-quality olive oil
1 cup flour
3 tablespoons cornstarch
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
Grated rind of 1 lemon
Confectioners’ sugar (for sprinkling)

1. Set the oven at 375 degrees. Butter a 9-inch springform pan and dust it with flour, tapping out the excess.

2. In a bowl using a whisk, beat the egg yolks and gradually beat in the granulated sugar and olive oil.

3. Add the flour, cornstarch, baking powder, and lemon rind. Mix well.

4. In an electric mixer, beat the egg whites until they form soft peaks. Gently fold the whites into the yolk mixture until no white patches show.

5. Transfer the batter to the pan. Bake the cake for 40 minutes or until the top springs back when pressed with a fingertip.

6. Let the cake cool. Unlatch the spring and slide the cake onto a flat platter. Sprinkle generously with confectioners’ sugar.