Something happened last week that made me literally forget about everything, and move on up to live in a cloud for a few days. Jim asked me to marry him and as much as I didn’t think I could get any higher over it, you all pushed me further up. Thank you for all the congratulations! We had no idea that so many of you had been following out little love affair over the past years and were so elated over the response from our engagement post. Thank you!
I hope I can repay you for such goodness with this almond olive oil cake. It’s not mine, as Gina DePalma created it, and Sassy Radish posted it (and urged me to try) a few weeks back. And while I can’t actually give it to you, unless you live in the tri-state area and would like to come over for a cup of tea while I bake us one, it’s so easy to make you may be able to do it quickly enough to think it was somebody else working, and not you. It’s worth the 10 or 15 minutes of prep that you’ll put into it, and then some. It’s also worth finding some natural almond flour (or making your own) to use in it.
Natural almond flour is almost coarse grain, with specks of almond skins and a nutty, intensely almond aroma. It brings a great deal to the cake, even unglazed. Though when the cake is topped with nutty browned butter, the almond flavor is heightened right up onto the cloud with me. After one bite (and before the many, many bites that followed) I had already deemed this cake my favorite cake, one that may even end up served to a few of my closest family and friends in a year or so, on some certain day.
If you make this cake, don’t skip the browned butter, or the toasted almonds on top. Besides the natural almond flour, the topping is what turns this cake into a favorite cake. It’s rich and intensely flavorful, toasty and warm. The zests add a bright contrast to what can be too much nuttiness otherwise. I baked mine in a 9 inch spring-form, but I’m sure you could do it in a bundt for an even prettier presentation. Because for as easy as it is to make, it’s a celebration cake, a wow factor cake, and of course, a thank you for your kindness cake.
[Editor’s Note: I’ve made this cake again since this post, and the glaze turned out much thinner and soaked into the cake more—something I prefer. Not sure why the glaze turned out like this in the picture the first time I made it, maybe I let it cool too long or something, but don’t be worried if yours looks different. And either way, it’s delicious.]
Almond Olive Oil Cake
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup blanched or natural almond flour
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 3 large eggs
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1/4 teaspoon pure almond extract
- Grated zest of 1 medium lemon or 1/4 a medium orange
- 1/2 cup orange juice
For the Glaze:
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 cup confectioner’s sugar
- 3 tablespoons whole milk
- A few drops of fresh lemon juice
- 1/2 cup sliced, blanched almonds, toasted and cooled
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease and flour a 9-inch round cake pan or springform pan and set aside.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, almond flour, baking powder and salt to thoroughly combine them and set aside.
Crack the eggs into a large mixing bowl and whisk them lightly to break up the yolks. Add the sugar to the bowl and whisk it in thoroughly in both directions for about 30 seconds. Add the olive oil and whisk until the mixture is a bit lighter in color and has thickened slightly, about 45 seconds. Whisk in the extracts and zest, followed by the orange juice.
Add the dry ingredients to the bowl and whisk until they are thoroughly combined; continue whisking until you have a smooth, emulsified batter, about 30 more seconds.
Pour the batter into the prepared pan, and bake the cake for 30 to 45 minutes, rotating the cake pan halfway through the cooking time to ensure even browning. The cake is done when it has begun to pull away from the sides of the pan, springs back lightly when touched, and a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean.
Allow the cake to cool for ten minutes in the pan, then gently remove it from the pan and allow it cool completely on a rack.
While the cake cools, make the glaze. Melt the butter over medium heat in a small, heavy saucepan. When the bubbles subside, lower the heat and watch the butter carefully, swirling it in the pan occasionally to distribute the heat. When the butter begins to turn a light tan color and smells slightly nutty, turn off the heat and let the butter sit. It will continue to darken as it sits.
While the butter cools, sift the confectioner’s sugar into a medium bowl. Whisk in the milk until completely smooth but thick, then slowly whisk in the butter. Taste the glaze and add a few drops of lemon juice to balance the sweetness. Stir in the toasted almonds. Spread the almonds and glaze onto the top and sides of the cake and let it sit until set and dry.