Top | Jim Dixon

Olive-Oil Cake with Honey-Roasted Rhubarb

(recipe, Jim Dixon)


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Introduction

I adapted this cake recipe from Tenuta di Capezzana, the Tuscan olive-oil producer. It’s easy and incredibly delicious. The rhubarb, however, was my own invention. I started just roasting it with olive oil, then sprinkling it with sugar to eat, but the honey works much better. I also like how the rhubarb holds its shape, instead of breaking down like it does when you stew it. We ate a lot of rhubarb growing up, and it's one of my favorite things, but I'm adamant about never mixing it with strawberries.

Ingredients

    Cake
    1. 3 eggs
    2. 2½ cups sugar (see Note)
    3. 1½ cups extra-virgin olive oil (see Note)
    4. 1½ cups milk (see Note)
    5. Grated zest of 2 to 3 oranges or lemons
    6. 2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
    7. 1 tsp. baking powder
    8. Large pinch of salt
    Rhubarb topping
    1. 6 stalks (about 2 pounds) rhubarb
    2. 2 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
    3. ⅓ to ½ cup honey

    Steps

    1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour a 12-inch cake pan (I usually make this in a 12-inch cast-iron skillet).
    2. In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs and granulated sugar. Add the olive oil, milk, and citrus zest.
    3. In another bowl, stir together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Make a well in the dry ingredients and slowly add the egg mixture, stirring just until blended. Do not overmix. Pour the batter into the prepared pan.
    4. Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, 50 to 55 minutes. I let the cake cool in the skillet and serve it directly from the pan, but you could let it cool completely, loosen the sides with a knife, and invert onto a serving plate (hold the plate against the cake pan and flip; hopefully it will come out in one piece).
    5. While the cake is baking, slice a half-dozen or so rhubarb stalks into half-inch pieces. Toss them with a few tablespoons of olive oil, then arrange on a sheet pan and drizzle with about ½ cup honey. Roast at 350 degrees for about 20 minutes. Let cool and spoon over slices of olive-oil cake.

    Note

    Culinate editor's notes: This recipe makes a very sweet, very moist cake. You can cut down the sugar to 1 1/2 cups and still have a perfectly sweet cake; likewise, if you cut back on the liquid ingredients (just 1 cup each of olive oil and milk), you'll get a lighter, fluffier cake. Buttermilk is delicious as a substitute for the milk.