Olive Oil Cake with Red Wine Glaze

In the last post, I told you about a cooking class I took with Jennifer Abadi at Natural Gourmet Institute in NYC. She introduced this olive oil cake, which has it’s roots in the Mediterranean. Her specialty, like mine is to teach and write about dishes from the Silk Road. Jennifer’s predominant focus is on Syrian cooking. Mine is Central Asia. In any event, all countries along the Silk Road have influenced each other in one way or another. The traveling caravans, not only passed through the countries, but picked up a dish and morphed it. Much like the game of telephone…. you say a message and then some where along the line, the message has completely changed, but maybe a word here and there has remained. Same holds true for this cake. As cake moved to Europe, butter became the fat and flavor of the cake, probably because olive oil was virtually non existent.

You might think, a cake is a cake. Flour, sugar, eggs and butter. Presto! Typically when we think of cake, we think of butter, but here the olive oil is used for fat which is pretty standard in the Medditerenean. Much better and healthier than butter, and yet it also gives it a rustic flair. This cake has a slight crunch at the edges, like a beloved one at a nearby coffee shop. And above all else, it has lemon zest for flavor and red wine which needs little in the way of a supporting cast.But I know, you’re just here for the cake. And you should be, as it meets all of the aforementioned cake batter requirements, but gets a little pretty boost from the red wine. Wine and olive oil are wonderful together; they both have bitter undertones and fruity finishes and in this cake, you taste both things with each bite. 

Serves 8 to 10

For Glaze:

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup unrefined whole cane sugar
1 tablespoon red wine

For Cake:

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
3 cups All Purpose Gluten-Free flour
3/4 cup unrefined whole cane sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1 tablespoon lemon zest
1 1/3 cups extra virgin olive oil
3 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup water
2 tablespoons red wine (optional)

1. Preheat oven to 350º F. Grease a standard loaf pan.
2. In a medium size mixing bowl combine all 3 glaze ingredients and mix well. Set aside to
prepare batter for cake.
3. In a large mixing bowl, combine baking powder, flour, sugar, cinnamon, and cloves and mix well.
4. Add the lemon zest and mix again.
5. In a separate large mixing bowl combine the olive oil, eggs, water and red wine
(optional). Add to the dry mixture above, and mix well until it becomes a smooth batter.
6. Pour the batter into the greased loaf pan. Place the pan on the center rack of the preheated
oven and bake for 20 minutes.
7. Gently pull the rack out just enough to pour the glaze over the entire top of the cake.
Carefully slide the cake back into the oven and bake an additional 15 to 25 minutes, or
until a toothpick inserted into its center comes out clean (time will depend upon the heat
of your oven and size of your pan).
8. Remove cake from oven and allow to cool at least 30 minutes before inverting the pan and
dislodging the cake. Turn cake upright and sprinkle with additional sugar if desired.

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