I had absolutely nothing sweet in the house. I did not want to make a lot of sweet food to totally derail my diet. So, I had to come up with something quick and small to go with the berries I had taken out of the freezer.
I could not find a recipe that was small enough and I had been wanting to try to make a cake made with olive oil. I was hoping that what experience I had in making cakes in the past would tell me when the texture was correct if I just experimented. Here is what I came up with.
This literally took ten minutes to mix, and about twenty to thirty to bake at 350 degrees. The only simpler cake to make is Grammie Burrill's TV chocolate cake posted elsewhere.
This is very similar to a very large Ladyfinger. You could add cocoa to this with no problem, along with the flour or dusted on top.
Using fresh or frozen fruit, mix sliced strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, cherries or sliced stone fruit with a couple of tablespoons of sugar. Add a splash of Grand Marnier if you like. Let it stand to produce a syrup while the cake is made. Or you could grill pineapple, peaches or plums on the charcoal grill and set aside to weep or drizzle with honey.
Separate two eggs.
Mix 2 Tablespoons of sugar into the yolks and beat with a wire whisk or beater till the sugar is dissolved and the yolks are pale yellow and slightly thickened.
Beat in about a tablespoon of olive oil or melted and cooled butter. You do not detect the taste of the oil.
Beat the egg whites with two tablespoons of sugar till they hold soft peaks.
Pour the egg yolk mixture over the whites. Add a capful of almond extract or 1 tablespoon of grated citrus peel.
Fold the mixtures together while slowly sifting 4 tablespoons of all purpose flour over the mixture. You do know how to fold, don't you? Do not over-do this, stop when the color is uniform.
When the entire mixture is uniform, extremely light and similar in texture to a soft mousse, pour it into a greased and floured loaf pan.
Bake for about 20 minutes. My oven is unreliable, so watch it and adjust the time as necessary. It should be a medium toast brown, and it will begin to draw away from the sides of the pan when done. Stick in a toothpick and check to see if it comes out clean.
This is VERY delicate, so after cooling briefly, turn it out onto a clean dishcloth. Pick it up gently with the cloth and invert it onto a rack to cool right side up. Allow to cool completely.
Split the cake in half horizontally. Place the lower half on an oval platter...I know that is a bit picky and specific, but that is what I like. I have an Italian platter in stark white with a wide rim of marble patterned pink with a shield...just the thing.
Pour half of the fruit and resulting syrup over the lower cake half. Add a layer of whipped cream if you like lots of cream. If you did not get enough syrup, you could mix in some Grand Marnier to extend it.
Put the top layer of the cake on the berries. Cover the top with the balance of the fruit and syrup, and mound with whipped cream. Top with a couple of whole berries or a strawberry that is partially sliced and fanned out. Add a sprig of mint if you like...
Serve with tea or coffee or a nice sweet dessert wine like Malvasia.
You could melt some dark chocolate and drizzle it from a fork over the whole thing in thin lines, but that might be gilding the lily.
You will get two very healthy honeymoon portions from this, but it could easily make four if you have plenty of berries and cream.
You could use this in a dozen different ways.
1. Layer with bananas and pour chocolate sauce over it.
2. Layer with jam or jelly, then frost the cake with whipped cream. Cranberry preserves would be similar to the white cake elsewhere in the blog that my stepfather's grandmother used to do.
3. Use in a trifle like dessert, by cubing the cake and layer in a parfait glass with puddings, lemon curd, whipped cream and jams.
4. Fill with Nutella if you can deal with the crumbs, (Perhaps softening it in the microwave for a second or two would help.) Frost with whipped cream and top with toasted and crushed hazelnuts.
5. Fill with lemon curd and top with whipped cream.
6. Fill with cannoli filling and top with powdered sugar and strew a few bits of minced candied orange peel on top.
7. Cube it up and use in Chocolate Fondue.
8. Use for petit-fours.
9. Soak the cake with simple syrup, cut with the liqueur of your choice..Frangipane, Amaretto, Grand Marnier, Malvasia...etc.
10. Frost with hazelnut frosting, or any other you like. It is very neutral so you can use your favorites.
11. Fill with a plain white frosting or whipped cream laced with toasted Coconut. Top with a snowstorm of the Coconut.
12. Make Tirimisu if you do not have time to go out to find Ladyfingers.
You could let your sense of adventure take hold and grind a quarter cup of blanched almonds into a fine powder in a food processor, and use that instead of the flour.