Ligurian Olive Oil & Citrus Cake 

  • 1 1/2 cups Ligurian extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1 1/4 cups whole milk
  • zest and juice of 1 large lemon
  • zest and juice of 1 large orange
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.  Using a 9-inch springform pan, lightly butter and flour the bottom and sides of the pan, or evenly spray with baking spray.  Line a sheet pan with parchment paper, setting the springform directly onto the parchment.  Set aside.

Working with a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, combine the olive oil and eggs, whisking until smooth.  Add in the milk, lemon juice and zest, orange juice and zest, and the sugar.  Whisk until combined and smooth.  

Combine the flour, salt, baking powder and baking soda in a separate small bowl, whisking to combine.  With the mixer turned off, add the flour mixture to the bowl of the stand mixer, gently whisking until just combined.  Scrape down the sides and the bottom of the bowl, whisking again for just a minute.  Transfer the mixture to the prepared springform pan.  Place the sheet pan with the filled springform into the preheated oven, baking for 80-85 minutes.  As the time comes close to 70 minutes, check the top of the cake to be sure it is not browning too quickly before the cake is done.  If so, place a large sheet of foil loosely over the springform to prevent excess browning.  Test the cake for doneness at 75 minutes to gauge the baking time.  The cake-tester or toothpick should come out clean with just a few crumbs attached.  Continue baking at 5-minute intervals until the cake is fully baked.  Remove from the oven, allowing it to cool completely before removing the outer ring of the springform pan.  Serve with fresh berries if desired.

Liguria is a northwest region of Italy, sometimes referred to as ‘Italy’s Northern Mediterranean Paradise’ or the ‘Italian Riviera’, placed on a mountainous arc of Mediterranean coastline. Liguria is one of Italy’s best regarded regions for its terroir for olive trees and the subsequent production of extra virgin olive oil.  Ligurian olive oil has a fruity more delicate flavor that enhances the ingredients it is paired with.  The region also boasts ownership of the Ligurian sauce known as Pesto Genovaise, comprised with its pine nuts, Genoa basil and, most certainly, olive oil.

Using Ligurian olive oil here in this recipe for Olive Oil Citrus Cake results in a cake with a golden hue and a moist crumb.  The cake does not taste like olive oil nor citrus, but more of a well-balanced bite that leaves you wanting more.  Offering a cake uniquely different than one made with butter. 

Recipe: Cindy Ramsey

Photo: Cindy Ramsey