A few months ago I heard a piece on NPR about a book that focused on baking traditions of immigrants in the United States. Oooo folklory food traditions - yes please! (You can listen to the piece yourself here.) So the author, Greg Patent, recorded sweet and savory bakery recipes from 30 countries, and he included several interesting cake recipes that went way beyond the typical American cake. I wanted to make something kind of simple, so I chose Torta di Limone - Italian lemon cake. What makes it interesting is that the fat in the cake comes from olive oil. I was kind of nervous on how this would turn out, but went for it.
The recipe was really simple and easy to make. In fact, it was finished mixing in just a few minutes, and baked quickly. I let it cool and sprinkled on some powdered sugar, and put it on my most beautiful possession, my cake stand.
The cake was very moist, but was very thin and dense. I was a little worried that I would break the 1-inch rule, but I think I was okay.
As far as the taste went....it tasted like lemon, olive oil, and sugar. Basically everything that was in the cake. I can't quite decide if I liked it...at least, I liked it for one piece and then felt fine with that. It was good...but it almost would have been better without the powdered sugar on top and served as a savory accompaniment to fish or something like that. Hmmm...that's something to think about....
Torta di Limone
from A Baker's Odyssey by Greg Patent
2 large eggs
7 tablespoons granulated sugar
7 tablespoons whole milk
7 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
9 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
Finely grated zest of two lemons
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
Confectioners' sugar for dusting
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9-inch round cake pan. Line the bottom of the pan with a circle of parchment. Grease the parchment and dust the pan with flour.
2. Put the eggs, in their shells, into a small bowl, cover them with hot water, and let stand for 5 minutes. Dry the eggs and crack them into a medium bowl. Add the sugar and whisk vigorously for 1 minute. In a small bowl, whisk together the milk and olive oil just to combine well, then add to the eggs and whisk briefly.
3. In another bowl, stir together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Add to the batter and whisk gently only until the batter is smooth. Whisk in the lemon zest and juice. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan.
4. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until the cake is golden and springs back when gently pressed in the center. Cool the cake in its pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes, then run the tip of a knife around the sides of the cake to loosen it. Cover the pan with another wire rack and invert the two. Lift off the pan and remove the paper. Cover the cake with a wire rack again to cool completely right side up.
5. Dust the torta with confectioners' sugar before serving.