Olive oil imparts richness and moisture to this simple sponge cake. Choose a subtle and slightly fruity olive oil, and your guests won’t guess your secret ingredient. The cherry compote delivers a splash of color and tart flavor.
Olive Oil Cake with Cherry Compote
For the cherry compote:
1/2 cup (4 oz./125 g) sugar
1 lb. (500 g) fresh or thawed frozen cherries, pitted
1 lemon zest strip
2 tsp. cornstarch
For the cake:
1 1/2 cups (6 oz./185 g) cake flour
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
3 large eggs
1 cup (8 oz./250 g) sugar
1/3 cup (3 fl. oz./80 ml) olive oil
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1 tsp. grated lemon zest
2 Tbs. fresh lemon juice
To make the compote, in a saucepan, bring the sugar and 1/2 cup (4 fl. oz./125 ml) water to a simmer over medium heat and cook, stirring, until the sugar dissolves, about 3 minutes. Add the cherries and lemon zest strip, return to a simmer and cook until the cherries are tender but still firm, about 2 minutes. In a small bowl, stir together 2 Tbs. water and the cornstarch. Add to the simmering cherries and cook, stirring gently, until the liquid is slightly thickened, about 1 minute. Transfer the compote to a bowl, discard the lemon zest and let cool to room temperature.
Preheat an oven to 350°F (180°C). Butter a 9-inch (23-cm) springform pan.
To make the cake, sift the flour, baking powder and salt together into a bowl. In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, beat the eggs on medium speed until thick and pale yellow, about 3 minutes. Continuing to beat, slowly add the sugar in a thin, steady stream. Then add the oil in a thin, steady stream, continuing to beat constantly. Beat in the vanilla and the lemon zest and juice. Using a rubber spatula, gently fold the dry ingredients into the egg mixture in 3 batches. Do not overmix. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan.
Bake until the cake is golden brown and springs back when pressed in the center, 35 to 40 minutes. Let cool in the pan on a wire rack for about 10 minutes, Remove the pan sides. Serve slices of the cake accompanied by the compote. Serves 8.
Find more mouthwatering ways to end a meal in our cookbook Dessert of the Day, by Kim Laidlaw.