Monday, 1 March 2010

Citrus Olive Oil Bundt Cake

with pine nut topping.

This was a very successful cake - light, but still moist; a good texture and a very delicate flavour, despite using a strongly flavoured extra-virgin olive oil, with quite a peppery aftertaste.

I used the Giada de Laurentiis recipe from the Food Network site, but left out the crumbled flaked almonds, and baked it in a bundt tin. Instead of almonds I sprinkled about 70g of pine nuts around the base of the greased and floured bundt tin, for a different flavour element and a textural contrast. I changed to a bundt tin after reading several criticisms that the cake took longer to cook than specified (and because I wanted an excuse to make a bundt cake again!).

The recipe was simple to follow - it took about 7 minutes to whisk the eggs to the point where they had thickened, and reached a pale and fluffy stage. I had no intention of measuring out teaspoons-full of citrus zest, so I used all the zest from one large lemon and one medium orange - that way I could grate the zest straight into the mixing bowl and not lose any of the flavourful oils. The end result didn't suggest that I had used too much zest.

The cake took a little longer to cook - about 45 minutes at 175C; this was probably because the depth of the batter is greater when using a bundt tin. I left it to cool for 15 minutes, as advised in the recipe, before turning out. This was the only difficult moment - it seemed the cake had stuck, but I gently eased it away from the sides with a nylon spatula and it then dropped out easily. I think the problem may have been greasing the tin with olive oil - in future I will use butter, even if there isn't any in the recipe.
As I said, this was a very delicately flavoured cake, with a lovely close textured, moist crumb - I think it will keep better than a butter sponge cake. The pine nut topping made a nice contrast, although I think it would be good to try the recipe as written, with added flaked almonds. I also think the cake could take stronger flavours on top of the citrus notes - chopped rosemary or lavender perhaps - although I'm not sure the very wet batter would take any heavy additions such as chopped nuts or chocolate chips. I was also slightly disappointed that the flavour of my peppery olive oil did not show through, but I'm not sure using a poorer quality oil would work as well.


Zeb said...

I think this looks lovely and interesting notes you give too Suelle! I gave up greasing tins with oil, especially ones with a non stick coating as it just seems to run off and pool in the cracks and corners and then when you flour on top - well, it's not nice is it? So I always use unsalted butter now. I did have a bottle of that commercial mix which seems to be made of fat and flour and is very hard to squeeze out of the bottle, but I don't like it very much. I think maybe the way is to soften the butter or even melt it, like you do for madeleine tins and then paint it on, leave for a bit and then flour over. Do you think that might work? all the best Zeb

Suelle said...

Brushing on melted butter sounds a good idea, Zeb, although I'm not sure I'm ever organised enough to do it that way. I usually just pinch a bit off the block and rely on the warmth of my hand to soften it as I smear it around. I hate washing greasy pastry brushes too!;-)

The Americans seem to rely on that fat/flour spray - I didn't realise it was available in this country.

Celia @ Fig Jam and Lime Cordial said...

Suelle, cake sounds very yummy! I make the Dorie Greenspan yoghurt cake with olive oil occasionally and it adds a nice flavour.

Re greasing the bundts, I don't use olive oil because it has a low scorching temperature - the one time I tried, it enamelled itself onto the pan I was using and left black marks. I now use a canola oil spray, which is the only one I've found which works. It doesn't have any flour in it, but the bundts always release well nonetheless. One thing - I avoid rice bran oil despite its high heating temps, because when I tried, it left permanent marks all over my pan as well.

Melted butter is great, but hard to get into the detailed bundt design without a brush. I now have a silicone pastry brush which goes straight in the dishwasher! :)

Suzie said...

The cake looks lovely - and I love pine nuts in sweet things. Olive oil makes for a lovely moist cake as well, and I always tell myself that it is much better for me too!!

Suelle said...

Thanks for the tips, Celia. I've been meaning to get a new silicone brush - I bought one, but the bristles were too short to be flexible enough.

Thanks Suzie - this was the fist time I've baked with pine nuts - I will do it more often now.

Choclette said...

This sounds lovely Suelle and so glad you've made something your happy with after the last cake. When not using silicone cake moulds, I use butter papers for greasing. I keep all the papers (or whatever they are these days) in which the butter is wrapped in the fridge and then use them for greasing, which seems to work well. Like you, it all seems rather faffy using a pastry brush.