OLIVE OIL CAKE WITH SAFFRON & CARDAMOM
Best of the Best Vol. 11
from the editors of Food & Wine
Best Of The Best Exclusive: Pure Dessert, Alice Medrich
Makes one 8-inch cake
• Pinch of saffron threads, crumbled
• 1/2 cup whole milk
• 1½ cups all-purpose flour
• 1 teaspoon baking powder
• 1 cup granulated sugar
• 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
• 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
• 3/4 teaspoon ground cardamom (see Note)
• 1/8 teaspoon salt
• 2 large eggs
• 2 large egg yolks
• Confectioners' sugar, for dusting
1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Butter and flour an 8-inch round cake pan. In a small bowl, sprinkle the saffron over the milk and let stand for 15 minutes. Sift the flour and baking powder onto a large piece of parchment paper.
2. In a standing mixer fitted with a whip, beat the sugar with the olive oil, vanilla, cardamom and salt at medium-high speed until well blended. Add the eggs and egg yolks 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Continue to beat at medium-high speed until the mixture is pale and thick, about 4 minutes. At low speed, alternately beat in the flour mixture and milk in 3 additions, scraping down the side of the bowl as necessary.
3. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 50 minutes, until the top is golden and a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean. Let the cake cool in the pan for 15 minutes, then invert the cake onto a rack. Turn the cake right side up and let cool completely. Dust the top of the cake with confectioners' sugar, slice into wedges and serve.
Note: Buy the freshest ground cardamom for the best flavor. Alternatively, you can crush 12 cardamom pods and grind the seeds in a spice grinder or in a mortar.
Make Ahead: The cake can be wrapped in plastic and kept at room temperature for up to 2 days. Dust with confectioners' sugar before serving.
Editor's Note: For the best flavor, use good- quality saffron sparingly: not more than a scant 1/8 teaspoon crumbled. Its flavor will intensify as the cake sits—in fact, the cake tastes best the day after it's made. If you're not a saffron fan, leave it out.