A new & improved, easy summer dessert classic, with lemon of course and good quality olive oil, but also lime (for a more complex flavor) and buttermilk (for extra fluffiness and moistness), but you’ll have to work fast because of the reactive chemistry of the mixture but I’ll explain !
As you all know, this is one of the simplest cakes you can make, to provide you with the simplest of pleasures and satisfaction. But like everything, it can be improved.
Here’s what I did to improve this simple pleasure and how it all works together.
The principal ingredient is flour, a total of 1 ¼ cups or 5 x ¼ cup of flour for each of the 5 secondary ingredients, each also measuring ¼ cup, like egg, sugar, citrus juice, olive oil and buttermilk. And then you need the little extras like salt, then baking powder and baking soda, as well as vanilla extract and lots of zests.
Using half fresh lemon juice and zest as well as half fresh lime juice and zest and a good quality Southern European extra virgin olive oil (the kind that has bite and almost stings the back of your throat) will increase the flavor complexity of this simple cake.
I add buttermilk (or kefir or even plain yogurt) in the cake batter, alongside the citrus juices, so that when they are combined with the baking soda and baking powder, a reaction rapidly occurs, like a gentle bubbling, which is why you should only combine the dry ingredients with the wet ingredients at the last minute, when your baking molds are ready to be filled and your oven is pre-heated. The result is an aerated, fluffy cake that remains spongy yet moist.
The extra garnishes, instead of a simple sprinkling of icing sugar are the glaze, made with icing sugar and lemon and lime juice, which should be added in several coats, for a whiter and thicker effect (since there isn’t much sugar in the cake batter). The additional garnish of lemon curd in the middle and some dried citrus strips of zests, transform these simple cakes into almost pastry-level desserts.
You can make a larger cake but I prefer little individual cakes that can be easily handled, glazed and filled, which is why little cupcake-sized cakes with a hollow in the middle for the filling are better.
You may be wondering where to find these little individual silicone mini-bundt molds. They’re actually used for making home-made donut-shaped soaps. But you can just as easily use a cupcake tin. Just turn the baked cakes over, once baked, scoop out a little hollow in the middle and do the fancy decorating after that. In the end, they’ll look and they’ll taste just as good.
Let's coax & tempt the sun back with some happy summer baking … :)