The fruity, palatable flavor of olive oil works so well as a dipper for our favorite breads or as a main ingredient in our homemade salad dressings. It’s rare that we bake with it. It’s somewhat rare for many people to bake with olive oil. In fact, for some, this will be the first time they’ve ever seen it done. Olive oil is associated with savory dishes, but you may be surprised at how complementary it can be with desserts. Not too long ago, California Olive Ranch sent us a bottle of their sustainable, local product to sample. (Actually, we received three bottles, two of which were gifted to lucky winners during July’s Blogging While Brown weekend.) Baking up a dessert was one of the first ideas that came to mind after submitting a recipe to their Seasons Best Salad Recipe Contest. It’s nice to have your cake and eat it too.
California Olive Ranch is based on Oroville, CA, which is far, far, far away from Los Angeles. We’re talking Northern California, even past San Francisco and Sacramento. On the ranch, they plant and harvest three varietals of olives–Arbequina and Arbosana from Spain and Koroneiki from Greece. Arbequina olives make up the largest percentage of their harvest. The flavor of the olives produces an oil that has piquant notes of tropical fruits, artichokes and apples. The green bottle protects the olive oil from light and extreme heat, and there are cute little olive-shaped insets along the side where your fingers naturally rest as you drizzle oil from the spout. The folks at California Olive Ranch are so in tune with their product, and it seems as though they want you to be the same way. The back of the bottle has the harvest date stamped on the label, so we know that these olives were just picked, pressed, bottled and sealed last November. All in all, it’s always great to see how so many California based products make it into our hands. You can feel the pride every producer shows when you make use of their work. It seemed like a no brainer to test California Olive Ranch’s Extra Virgin Olive Oil in a cake–a fairly dense cake that would allow the flavor of the olive oil to shine.
A pound cake is traditionally made from butter, but the use of oil lightens it up a bit and creates a spongier texture. It is perfect for a plop of whipped cream or ice cream. Instead of grapeseed oil or the usual vegetable oil, olive oil would slide into the equation. Unlike grapeseed oil or vegetable oil which are neutral in taste, the olive oil lingers and floats through each bite. You can even smell it as you bring the a forkful of cake to your lips. It’s a warm, fruit and pure aroma that hits you and travels through your taste buds. It is a great way to finish off a meal. As olive oil goes so well with sweet and savory ingredients, this would be a very simple cake to modify with other notes of citrus, liquors, or even herbs and spices. You should also remember that olive oil is a healthy lipid that is beneficial to your cardiovascular system, bone structure, brain function, smooth digestion and also as an anti-inflammatory. These are all perfect reasons to try pouring olive oil into your mixing bowl every once in a while.
Olive Oil and Sour Cream Pound Cake – Serves 8 to 10
1 1/2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
2/3 cup sour cream
3 eggs, at room temperature
2/3 cup sugar
1/2 cup California Olive Ranch Olive Oil, plus 1 teaspoon to grease the pan
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
Powdered sugar, optional
1. Drizzle 1/2 teaspoon of olive oil into a 9″ x 5″ loaf pan and coat the bottom, sides and edges. Line the pan with parchment paper, trimming the edges as necessary but leaving enough overhang to create ‘handles’ that will make it easy to remove the cake from the pan. Rub the remaining 1/2 teaspoon of olive oil along the paper. Set aside.
2. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
3. In a medium bowl, whisk together the sour cream, eggs, sugar, olive oil and lemon juice until combined.
4. Scrape the liquid ingredients into the dry ingredients and whisk again until smooth and there are no lumps. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake in an oven preheated to 350 degrees for 60-70 minutes or until browned. A cake tester inserted in the middle of the cake should come out clean once it’s finished.
5. Allow cake to cool for at least 30 minutes, then carefully lift it out of the pan with the edges of the parchment paper. Cool for another 30 minutes on a cooling rack. Move to a serving plate or cake platter and dust with powdered sugar if desired.
Click HERE for the printable recipe.
Disclaimer: We were provided with free samples of olive oil, but the opinions expressed in this post are our own.