A few weeks ago I started carrying a notebook on me, so I could write down ideas when they came to me. I don’t remember where I was when I thought of making a pound cake with olive oil, but the idea popped into my head fully-formed–“olive oil pound cake”! Brilliant, I thought.
I think the idea really came from a little place in Berkeley called Sketch Ice Cream. Sketch was the first ice cream place I ever saw to use unconventional toppings, such as olive oil and sea salt. I’ve only ever been there once, because I live in San Francisco without a car and Sketch is located in a part of Berkeley that is inaccessible by BART. If you are ever in the area, or if you live in the area, I highly recommend you stop by. So although Sketch didn’t directly inspire me to make the olive oil pound cake, it opened me to the idea that savory things can be sweet. Like salt on caramel.
When I decided to make olive oil pound cake, I googled it and saw that it is not an original idea. Sad! Instead of using an available recipe, I decided to go ahead and make a regular pound cake and substitute olive oil for the butter. I found this nifty article about baking with olive oil, and it told me that 3 TB of olive oil can be substituted for 1/4 C of butter. So, I used 3/4 C of olive oil in place of the 1 C of butter the recipe originally called for. I also added the zest of 1 lemon, and the rosemary.
Olive Oil Pound Cake, adapted from the joy of baking.com
1 3/4 C flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/8 tsp salt
3/4 C olive oil
1 C sugar
2 tsp vanilla
zest of 1 lemon
Set the over to 350˚. Grease a 9x5x3″ loaf pan. Line the bottom with parchment paper (I used waxed paper, and it worked wonderfully) and grease it.
Sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt. I didn’t sift. I never sift. It’s the lazy in me. Maybe something fully amazing would happen to this cake if you sifted, but I didn’t, and it was still delicious.
Beat together the sugar and the olive oil.
Add the eggs to the mix one at a time, fully incorporating each egg before adding the next. Add the vanilla, lemon zest, and rosemary.
Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients until just incorporoated. Pour into pan.
Let cool for approximately 10 minutes, then overturn and cut. It should come out of the pan without a fuss. Serve warm either alone, or with honey or jam. If you’re feeling adventurous, slather that pound cake with butter. It’s ok; it’s made with olive oil!
Or, if you made some, serve with maple cream.
It is also really good cut into thick slices and toasted in the morning for breakfast. Or you could use it as the base for french toast! I haven’t tried that one, yet.