Disappointment: My Love Affair w/ Olive Oil Cake
Many years ago, when Danny Meyer's Maialino opened in Gramercy Park, I had a slice of cake for dessert that changed me forever.
That was the night I fell in love with olive oil cakes.
It was so rich, moist and fragrant with oranges, I had to have the recipe.
I asked the waiter to please ask the chef if she/he would be so kind as to share this recipe with me.
He came out with a napkin scribbled with the ingredients on it.
Thank you! Thank you!
I was so thrilled. However, when I got home and took the napkin out of my purse, I realized they forgot to include the measurements!!! (or did they???).
So it was just a shopping list for:
Flour, Sugar, Ligurian Olive Oil, Eggs, Grand Marnier, Milk Orange Juice and Zest, etc.
I was so disappointed, and I have been forever trying to replicate that cake since that night.
Well, wouldn't you know. Leave it to Food52 to get that recipe and print it for the world to see!
There was my little napkin with the same ingredients, only this time, I have the measurements! Woo hoo!
What Food52 doesn't tell you, (because the chef told me in confidence!), the reason this cake tastes so good is that they use Ligurian olive oil. So, you see, I am in the know and have one leg up on them.
Well, I was out of Ligurian oil (which I love in dressings), so used my Colavita, a Sicilian mild flavored oil.
The recipe seems to use a lot of oil (1 1/3 cups), so make sure you are using a mild tasting one.
The chef also specified "make sure you use Grand Marnier". If you don't have a bottle, then go to the liquor store and buy one of those mini airplane bottles, the recipe only calls for 1/4 cup.
I am going to write out the recipe from Food52, I made it exactly how it was written, but trust me, it was not right.
You know I am always honest with you, some would say "blunt".
Here was the verdict:
I was very disappointed.
I had my hopes set very high for this cake and the restaurant version is so much better!!! WHY???????
My cake was much too wet in the center, almost uncooked, which I hate, so I tried saving it by cutting a big disc out of the center and we ate small pieces around the sides, and turned it into a ring cake.
I took the little center cake and wrapped it in foil and baked it for 15 minutes more, and we had a mini cake.
Disaster almost avoided.
Perhaps 1 1/3 cups of oil is too much? I have made better cakes using much less olive oil. Here is one that will knock your socks off.
The recipe calls for baking the cake in a 9" pan with 2" sides. I think a 10" springform would be better, then maybe the cake would've cooked properly in the middle.
Not sure what went wrong here, I am a pro when it comes to baking olive oil cakes.
I still love this slice when I dine at Maialino, but I am not sure if this is my favorite home version.
Maialino's Olive Oil Cake: (adapted from Food52)
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 3/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil (Ligurian or mild flavored one)
1 1/4 cup whole milk
3 large eggs
grated zest of 1 orange
1/4 cup fresh orange juice
1/4 cup Grand Marnier
(it sure seems like a lot of liquid, no?).
Heat the oven to 350°F.
Oil, butter, or spray a 9-inch springform cake pan that is at least 2" deep with cooking spray and line the bottom with parchment paper.
In a bowl, whisk the flour, sugar, salt, baking soda and powder. In another bowl, whisk the olive oil, milk, eggs, orange zest and juice and Grand Marnier.
Add the dry ingredients; whisk until just combined.
Pour the batter into the prepared pan and place on a baking sheet (my idea, so all that liquid wouldn't leak) and bake for 1 hour, until the top is golden and a cake tester comes out clean.
Transfer the cake to a rack and let cool for 30 minutes. Run a knife around the edge of the pan, invert the cake onto the rack and let cool completely, 2 hours.