I never thought the day would come I would astound my mother with my cooking abilities. She knew I had been working in a professional kitchen for the last eight years but never saw me in action for the limited time she would come here for and, when I was vacationing in Italy, the last thing I felt like doing was cooking and, especially, making cakes. Now that she is here for a solid two months, I have been making food for her and she is most impressed with my desserts, asking me to write down recipes, watching me as I work dough and quizzing me on ingredients. What I make at home is all fairly easy so who knows what she would think if she saw some of the stuff we make at work. I have clearly been on a cake binge recently, mainly for her sake.
The following recipe was also a mainstay in our restaurant for quite some time. The original recipe (at this point heavily re-worked) came through the husband of a former chef. Don’t be put off by the idea of using extra virgin olive oil in the cake – it adds flavour and wonderful moisture and it won’t taste as if you were eating salad. My advice is to use a mild tasting extra virgin olive oil, more on the fruity side. Pastry flour is highly recommended to keep the batter light.
The version in the photograph came about thanks to some pretty sunflower molds that I was given and was inspired to use. The recipe will yield one bundt cake (with a little bit of batter left over) or 10 small ones.
2C + 2 T Pastry Flour
1 1/2 C Sugar
1/2 ts each Finely zested rind of Tangerine, Lemon and Orange (microplane zesters work best)
1 ts Baking Soda
1 ts Baking Powder
1 1/2 ts Salt
A few drops Lemon, Orange and Tangerine Oils* (optional)
1 1/2 C Milk
1 C Canola or Corn Oil
1/2 C Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- Begin by combining the finely grated citrus zest with the sugar. Mix using your hands and allow the flavours to infuse while measuring the rest of the ingredients.
- Combine and sift dries (including sugar) in a large mixing bowl. Set aside.
- Combine wet ingredients with a whisk in another bowl.
- Add wet ingredients to dries slowly, whisking constantly to avoid lumps, but do not whisk too vigorously.
- Pour into very well sprayed bundt pan(s), filling about halfway.
- Bake at 325F if using a convection oven (about 20 minutes for individual, around 1 hour for a large bundt) or 350F if using a still oven (it will take a bit longer). Check cakes about halfway through baking time and rotate the pans.
- Bake until lightly golden brown and a wooden skewer comes out clean when inserted.
* Citrus oils can be purchased at gourmet food stores or on-line.