Almond Olive Oil Cake
I’ve been casually calling this cake “visitor cake,” even though most of the time I make it just for me. But, hypothetically, this almond olive oil cake would be a lovely addition to just about any gathering, at your house or elsewhere.
Put another way, I’ve never needed the excuse of having people over to make this cake, and neither should you. This cake doesn’t need a reason. It’s the kind of cake you want around any day of the week, easily accessible on your kitchen counter.
A handful of simple ingredients, including ground almonds and olive oil, come together to make a tender, moist, and not-too-sweet cake that you will keep coming back for hunk after hunk. The olive oil adds a subtle flavor to the cake while also keeping it more moist at room temperature than butter would.
I’ve served it with an apricot chamomile compote and whipped cream here, but it would pair well with any fresh or cooked fruit you have on hand, with whipped cream or yogurt, or plain; it is extremely satisfying on its own.
This cake is infinitely adaptable. A few ideas: swap vanilla extract for almond extract, swap 1 teaspoon of lemon zest for 1/2 teaspoon of orange zest, steep dried chamomile flowers in the milk for 10 minutes (then strain).
For the best flavor, use a fresh, high-quality extra virgin olive oil. California Olive Ranch Everyday Extra Virgin Olive Oil is a great, readily available option.
Leftover cake can be stored at room temperature for up to three days.
Almond Olive Oil Cake
For the cake
100 grams (1.5 cups) all-purpose flour
125 grams (1 1/4 cups) ground almonds or almond flour
3/4 teaspoon salt
1.5 teaspoons baking powder
4 large eggs
200 grams (3/4 cup + 2 tablespoons) granulated sugar
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
140 grams (2/3 cup) extra virgin olive oil
180 grams (3/4 cup) whole milk
For the compote
1 pound (about 5–7) fresh apricots, quartered and pitted
50 grams (4 tablespoons) granulated sugar
1/2 vanilla bean
optional: 1 tablespoon dried chamomile flowers, loose or in a tea bag
For the whipped cream
3/4 cup heavy cream
Make the cake
Make sure your oven rack is in the center position and heat your oven to 340°F (170°C). Line the bottom of an 8” x 3” round cake pan with parchment paper and grease the sides with extra virgin olive oil.
Mix the all-purpose flour, almond flour, salt and baking powder together in a medium-sized bowl.
Using a mixer on medium speed, whip eggs until foamy, about 1 minute. Add sugar, lemon zest and vanilla extract, increase speed to high and whip until pale and fluffy, about 3 minutes.
Reduce mixer to medium speed and slowly pour the oil into the mixture until it’s fully incorporated.
Reduce the mixer to low speed and add half the flour mixture until fully incorporated, then slowly pour in the milk. Turn off the mixer and fold in the remaining flour mixture with a rubber spatula, until just incorporated.
Pour the batter into your lined and greased cake pan and bake for 50-60 minutes, until the outer crust is golden brown and a wooden toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean (a few crumbs are okay).
Optional: While the cake is baking, start the compote (see below).
Allow to cool for 10-15 minutes, then run a thin knife around the edge of the cake to loosen from the sides of the pan and gently remove. The cake is good at room temperature for up to 3 days.
Allow the cake to cool completely before covering leftovers with plastic wrap or a glass cake dome.
Make the compote
Toss all of the ingredients together in a large bowl and let macerate for up to one hour to draw the juices from the fruit.
Pour the mixture into a heavy saucepan and cook over low heat for 10 minutes, until the sugar has dissolved and the apricots have softened.
If you have added dried chamomile flowers in a tea bag, remove the bag. Otherwise, there is no need to remove the dried flowers. Allow the mixture to cool to room temperature before storing in a jam jar or other container.
Make the whipped cream
The trick to making whipped cream by hand is a chilled bowl, chilled heavy cream and a clean whisk. Chill a bowl in the freezer for 5 minutes before getting started. Once chilled, add your chilled heavy cream to the bowl and whisk vigorously until soft peaks begin to form. This should only take a few minutes, and should be made just before serving.
Cut your cake into triangle-shaped wedges and serve with a dollop of whipped cream and the apricot compote.