i came across an article about olive oil cakes (apparently all the rage in artisanal coffee shops these days) in nymag this morning, and it jogged my memory about an olive oil cake from Desserts by Pierre Herme. i thought i’d join the olive oil cake fray and give the ligurian olive oil cake a go. i found the recipe on martha’s website as well and have included some of my baking notes below:
- i used a 9 inch springform pan instead of the 10 inch recommended. as such the cooking time took me 40-45 minutes instead of 30-33 minutes.
- even in a 9 inch pan, the cake instead is quite short. it rose to a height of 2-2.5 inches.
- i might even replace the meringue top with a fleecy layer of whipped cream instead.
- i used bertoli’s extra virgin olive because that’s what i had in my pantry but the recipe recommends using the best olive oil you can find. that might change the flavour profile a bit.
tastewise, i expected to be overwhelmed by the taste of olive oil in this cake, but instead it has a lingering effect that i could only pick up at the very end. i probably would not even know that there’s olive oil in this cake if i hadn’t been the one pouring it in. the raspberries add a fruity punch to the cake that offsets the density of the sponge. the lemons seem to enhance the flavour of the raspberries and then fade away into the background. the soft meringue (almost like a cream as the cooking process browns the top but doesn’t dry it out) contrasts nicely with the crunchy crust of the cake. all in, the cake is a bit like something you would expect to be served to city dwellers after a long day of picking grapes while on vacation in the tuscan countryside.