Cranberry-Almond Olive Oil Cake

Every apartment in New York has its quirks. Our ceiling mysteriously cracks and the fireplace sometimes serves as a rainwater-delivery pipe. The scent of takeout food (and other substances) fills the stairwell, and the hookah bar across the courtyard keeps turning its music up higher in the hopes of luring some customers.

And in winter there are the cold drafts. Temperatures at foot level near my desk at home drop, and wind actually blows across the floor, I swear. That first cold whoosh has me shrieking and running back to the kitchen.

With the oven on and something fragrant baking, I tell myself I can face another winter. A slice of this lovely cake and a cup of tea helps a lot.

I am very into olive oil baked goods these days, and this is another winner. The recipe comes from Gina DePalma, the pastry chef at the famed Babbo restaurant, via my friend Olga of Sassy Radish. It’s a shockingly easy to whip up, but quite elegant when you’re done.

And it’s delicious. The delicate crumb and almond flavor are perfect on their own, though my addition of tart cranberries wakes it up a little. Along with citrus, cranberries are one of my strongest winter cravings, and this cake was a good vehicle for their bright flavor. In summer you could make a delicious version with red currants or sour cherries, but then you might not be quite so eager to turn on the oven.

Cranberry-Almond Olive Oil Cake
adapted from Gina DePalma, via Sassy Radish

1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup almond meal
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt
3 large eggs
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon pure almond extract
Grated zest of one orange
1/2 cup fresh orange juice
1 cup fresh cranberries

For glaze:
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
3/4 cup confectioner’s sugar
2 tablespoons whole milk
A few drops of fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup sliced, blanched almonds, toasted and cooled

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease and flour a 9-inch round springform pan and set aside.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, almond meal, baking powder and salt to thoroughly combine them and set aside.

Crack the eggs into a large mixing bowl and whisk them lightly. Add the sugar to the bowl and whisk it in thoroughly for about 30 seconds. Add the olive oil and whisk until the mixture is a bit lighter in color and has thickened slightly, about 45 seconds. Whisk in the extracts and zest, followed by the orange juice.

Add the dry ingredients to the bowl and whisk until they are thoroughly combined; continue whisking until smooth. Fold in the cranberries.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan, and bake the cake for 30 to 45 minutes, rotating the cake pan halfway through the cooking time to ensure even browning. The cake is done when it has begun to pull away from the sides of the pan, springs back lightly when touched, and a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean.

Allow the cake to cool for ten minutes in the pan, then gently remove it from the pan and allow it cool completely on a rack. Meanwhile, make the glaze. Melt the butter over medium heat in a small, heavy saucepan. When the bubbles subside, lower the heat and watch the butter carefully, swirling it in the pan occasionally to distribute the heat. When the butter begins to turn a light tan color and smells slightly nutty, turn off the heat and let the butter sit. It will continue to darken as it sits.

While the butter cools, measure the confectioner’s sugar into a medium bowl. Whisk in the milk until completely smooth but thick, then whisk in the butter. Taste the glaze and add a few drops of lemon juice to balance the sweetness. Stir in the toasted almonds. Spread the almonds and glaze onto the top of the cake (and let the glaze dribble down the sides.) Let sit until glaze sets and dries slightly.

In almond, baking, cake, cranberries

Email This Post Email This Post | Bookmark or Share | | Print This Post Print This Post