Olive Oil and Dessert Wine Cake

28 Apr

When Alice and I were putting together our menu for the day of cooking, we wanted a nice cake that was simple, unpretentious but a nice end to the meal. Alice knew of a rosemary olive oil cake, but had no recipe for it. In our search for the perfect cake, Betsy helped us with this tried and true recipe. You may be surprised to hear of a cake made with olive oil. Let me tell you right now, you owe it to yourself to give it a try. It will change any preconceived notions you might have about sweet and savory.

(Do it!)

What a winner! Light and fluffy but with a gorgeous texture from the olive oil and a richness from the dessert wine. It was just the thing.

We used the best ingredients possible

first separating the eggs and beating the yolks with the sugar

Or in our case, mistaking the salt for sugar and wondering why it wasn’t beating up so nicely, with Karen going to a great deal of effort to get it to beat up into a light fluffy mixture

before finally realizing that we had used salt. Once we got the proper ingredients in the mixer, we achieved a nice light yellow creamy mixture of egg yolks and sugar as the base for the cake.

The oil and dessert wine were added to the mixing bowl

along with the sifted flour and other dry ingredients.

Then the egg whites were beat into soft peaks

and folded into the rest of the batter.

By carefully folding in the whipped egg whites, the rich cake batter became very light and airy. We poured it into the prepared baking pan

and put it into the oven.

While the cake was baking, we also made a lemon zest infused sugar syrup that we mixed through some blackberries to serve.

In a small bowl, we rubbed the zest of one lemon

into a 1/2 cup of sugar until well combined

Then added to a 1/2 cup of water in a small saucepan

and let it simmer until slightly thickened and syrupy.

After the cake was done, we tossed the blackberries in the syrup, piled them atop the cake, and then gave a light dusting of powdered sugar before being served.

This recipe is a favourite of Betsy. It is in the Australian ‘bible’ of cooking – The Cook’s Companion by Stephanie Alexander.




5 eggs, separated
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup dessert wine
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
150g plain flour, sifted
pinch of salt
2 egg whites
1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
pure icing sugar

Preheat oven to 180 degrees C (350 F). Butter a 24 cm (9 inch) springform cake tin and line base with baking paper. Beat egg yolks with half the sugar until pale and thick, then add wine and oil. Fold in flour and salt and transfer to a large bowl. Wash and dry mixer bowl and beat all 7 egg whites with cream of tartar until they hold soft peaks. Beat in remaining sugar until you have a soft meringue. Fold lightly but thoroughly into yolk mixture. Spoon in to prepared tin and bake for 20 minutes. Turn off oven, cover cake with a buttered round of baking paper and leave to cook slowly. Remove from oven after 15 minutes. (The cake tends to deflate as it cools so it needs to be protected from all sudden changes of temperature.) Dust with icing sugar before serving.

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