Friday, April 6, 2012

Ladi Tourta - Olive Oil Cake

Have you ever heard of a cake made of olive oil?  I hadn't until I went on a quest to find a Mediterranean/Greek dessert.  Let me back up.  I am part of an awesome book group, and each month one of us hosts the meeting at our homes.  Hosting means we pick the book and provide a light meal.  Honestly, the meal can be as low key as you want, but you know me... I tend to get a little crazy with things like this.  The book I picked was Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides, .  Have you read it?  It gets a bit long in parts but that is folded in with real angst and gender identity crises.  I really like it.  Anyway, this is not about the book, it is about the food, more specifically the cake!!  The story is about a Greek family (see how quickly I jumped back to the book??) so I decided the meal should have a Mediterranean or Greek theme.  The meal was easy to plan until I got to dessert.  I did not want to make baklava and that is all I could think of.  Well, that or other fried pastries drizzled with honey.  Not that I have anything against baklava or fried pastries drizzled with honey!  I just didn't want to MAKE them!  

So, I went on a quest for some OTHER dessert, and fell upon Ladi Tourta, an olive oil cake created by Iron Chef Cat Cora.  Hmmm.  I have never made a cake made of olive oil, and to be honest, I love that Cat Cora calls it "Ladi Tourta" instead of "Olive Oil Cake".  Doesn't it sound fancy?? 

First of all, this recipe calls for 12 ounces of extra-virgin olive oil.  The recipe's comments tended to agree that this was way too much olive oil and 8-9 ounces was better.  So, I weighed my olive oil and when I got here to 8 3/8 oz., I decided that was enough!

One important factor when making an olive oil cake is using some great olive oil.  If that is the main ingredient, it needs to shine.  Well, I am super lucky in that category.  I have a favorite olive oil which is not only excellent, it is also extremely reasonable.  I totally had an inside scoop in finding this olive oil!  My brother-in-law (that being my husband's sister's husband) is a Spanish olive oil distributor!  They actually live in Spain, and a while back he told us about their product.  This is a high quality olive oil that is sold to companies who use their own label on the bottle.  This is the Central Market Extra Virgin Olive Oil.  The bottle you see is 16.9 fl. oz. and costs $4.99 at HEB (my favorite grocery store).  If you live in Texas, know anyone in Texas, or have a hankering for a field-trip to Texas, get yourself to an HEB or Central Market and get some of this olive oil!  You will thank me, I promise!

This cake is super easy.  First you whisk together the eggs, sugar, olive oil, milk, liqueur, orange juice, and lemon zest.  Then in another bowl you sift together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.  You may notice my fancy sifter.  I do own a sifter but it gets on my nerves.  It is the kind where you turn a handle but the handle always sticks in some place so it does this awful CLICK, CLICK, CLICK and is overall a real pain.  I have yet to replace it, because then I figured out this handy sifting method:  using a sieve!  Just dump whatever ingredients into your handy dandy sieve and it all "sifts" through.  Ahhh.
Then, you mix the dry ingredients into the wet ones, fold in the almonds, and pour it into a 10 inch buttered cake pan.  Bake for an hour at 350F.  Easy peasy! 

I failed to take a photo of the cake after it came out of the oven but it had this beautiful darkish golden top (I'll do better, I promise!!)  Sit that baby on a cake plate, sprinkle with powdered sugar, and voila!  A beautiful cake!  Oh, and it is really good!  The olive oil and orange really go together nicely and the almonds give it a nice crunch.  I will definitely be making this again.  La-di-da-di Tourta!!

Olive Oil Cake:  Ladi Tourta
Adapted from Food Network, Cat Cora
3 large eggs, beaten
2 cups granulated sugar
12 ounces extra-virgin olive oil
10 ounces milk
2 ounces orange liqueur
2 ounces fresh orange juice
3 teaspoons lemon zest
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt
4 ounces blanched almonds, finely chopped
Powdered sugar, for garnish
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Butter a 10-inch cake pan.
In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, sugar, olive oil, milk, liqueur, orange juice, and lemon zest. Sift together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Mix the dry mixture into the wet mixture. Whisk until well blended. Gently stir in the almonds.
Pour the batter into the prepared cake pan and bake for 1 hour. Place on a rack to cool.  Once the cake is cool, run a knife around the edges and place it on a plate. Sprinkle with powdered sugar and serve.

Print Recipe

Get ready to wow your friends and family!  They might not have heard of olive oil cake either!

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