Baking & Dessert

By Tara O'Keeffe | January 6, 2011

Photo: kiri73

It’s the new year, which means many of us are trying to eat better and cook nutritious meals. Sneaking healthier ingredients into your favorite foods is a fun challenge, and what better to experiment with than dessert!

Baking with olive oil is a wonderful way to lighten up baked goods and adds a fruity flavor to a variety of treats like cakes, cookies, and pie crusts. Used in place of less desirable fats like butter and shortening, its heart-healthy properties can make us all feel a little less guilty about indulging in a piece of cake.

This recipe for Olive Oil and Clementine Bundt Cake, adapted from the glorious cookbook Baked Explorations, will become your new go-to cake. It’s not dense and heavy like most Bundt cakes, and features the bright and tart flavor of the seasonal clementines at your local market. You can enjoy this for dessert with a spoonful of whipped cream, or have a slice with your morning coffee. Pick up a fruity bottle of olive oil this weekend and conduct your own experiment.

Using high-quality olive oil is important. Don’t use your everyday stuff – the cake showcases the olive oil’s flavor.  My favorite is from O. & Co.

Adapted from Baked Explorations: Classic American Desserts Reinvented

Photo: Tara O’Keeffe

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 4 large eggs, separated
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 cup plain yogurt
  • 3/4 cup good-quality extra-virgin olive oil
  • Freshly grated zest of 3 clementine oranges
  • 1 tsp vanilla paste, or 1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Confectioners' sugar, for dusting
  • Freshly whipped cream(optional)

Directions

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Generously spray the inside of a 10-inch Bundt pan with nonstick cooking spray.

2. Sift the flour, baking powder, and salt together over a large bowl. Set aside.

3. Using a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment (a hand mixer will work too), beat the egg yolks until they are pale and light. Slowly add in the sugar and continue mixing until it is completely incorporated. Add the yogurt and olive oil and mix thoroughly. Add the orange zest and vanilla, and mix until just incorporated.

4. Add the flour mixture to the wet ingredients in two parts, beating after each addition until just combined. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and beat again for a few seconds. Transfer the cake batter into a large bowl and prepare the mixing bowl for use.

5. This time using the mixer with the whisk attachment, add the egg whites and beat until stiff peaks form when you hold up the whisk. Scoop 1 cup of the egg whites into the batter. Use a rubber spatula to gently fold them in, carefully turning the bowl with each fold, until just incorporated. Add the remaining egg whites and repeat. Take your time with this step, rushing will prevent your cake from getting a proper rise.

6. Pour the batter into the Bundt pan and bake for 40-50 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through, until a toothpick comes out clean. Transfer the pan to a wire rack to cool completely. Place your cake plate on top of the Bundt pan and invert to remove the cake. Tap the top of the pan with a knife to help this along. Just before serving, dust with confectioners sugar.

7. Store the cake tightly covered with plastic wrap or in an airtight container to prevent it from drying out.

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