Admission: I had never made Olive Oil Cake before a week ago. I have since made it twice, and had to talk to myself seriously about making it a third time in less than a week. The thing is, it’s that easy to make. Yes it takes a good amount of time to bake and then cool, but it’s simple. A simple bake that you just want to sit and eat with a fork in one go is a rare find. There’s a great many simple recipes which I love, but I think this one has now taken its place as my favourite. I’d rather make this than yet another Victoria Sponge, for instance. It also works perfectly well without any frosting, so you haven’t even got to worry about decorating it. See, it’s simple.
The cake comes out a gloriously rich yellow colour. When you cut through it you can tell straight away how moist it is. When you’re making it, it feels like a lot of oil and liquid, but the finished result is light, flavourful and with the slightest hint of orange (or lemon, if you wanted to make some substitutes). As I mentioned above, the cake itself doesn’t actually need any frosting, because it’s so moist and doesn’t need the sweet hit of a buttercream, but the second time I baked it I decided to see what it’d be like with a slight twist.
I was lucky enough for Diageo to send me some Tanqueray Gin the other week and while I’ve been having the odd gin & tonic ice lolly (or at least, I tried it and wasn’t keen) I’ve been meaning to get around to baking with it. I was tempted to replace some of the liquid in the cake with it, but decided that the cake itself wasn’t where I was going to tamper (although I have plans to re-bake it with some thyme or rosemary infused with the cake batter). I opted to whip up a simple gin frosting, using nothing but gin, icing sugar and a splash of milk, pour it over the top and grate a small amount of orange over the top. The light floral notes of the gin compliment the similary delicate orange flavour of the cake.
- 250 all-purpose flour
- 350g white sugar
- 1½tsps salt
- ½ tsp baking soda
- ½ tsp baking powder
- 315ml extra-virgin olive oil
- 300ml whole milk
- 3 large eggs
- 1½tbsps grated orange zest
- 120ml fresh orange juice (Or half and half juice and Grand Marnier)
- **Optional Gin Glaze**
- 260g Icing Sugar
- 2-3 tbsps Gin (I used Tanqueray)
- Splash Milk (if you want it slightly runnier)
- Orange Zest, to garnish
- Grease and line a 9 inch cake tin. Pre-heat your oven to 180°C (160°C fan assisted).
- In a bowl, whisk the dry ingredients (flour, sugar, salt, baking powder & sodal) together. Separately combine all of the wet ingredients and the orange zest.
- Combine by pouring the wet into the dry and whisking until they have just combined (you don't want to overwhisk this). You'll see the soda start to react with the acid in the juice.
- Pour into the prepared pan, scraping the bowl clean and bake in the centre of your pre-heated oven for 60 minutes (1 hour). A tooth pick inserted into the center should come out clean, the sides should have started to come away from the edge of the tin.
- Remove from the oven and leave to cool on a rack in the tin for about 30 minutes. At this point, remove from the tin and leave to cool on the same rack for 2 hours before serving.
- **If making the glaze**
- Once the cake has cooled, whisk the gin with the icing sugar, adding the milk if you want it to be slightly runnier. Pour over the cake and spread it around with a small palette knife. Decorate with greated orange zest of candied orange peel.
*The gin I received was free of charge from Diageo