Olive Oil in a Pound Cake


Okay, I promise this will be the last recipe from Alice Medrich’s Pure Dessert for a while. The other books on my shelf are starting to get jealous. But I can’t help sharing with you this simple and gratifying recipe. No need to wait for the butter to soften – because it does not have any, no need to wait for the eggs to come to room temperature – because it emulsifies better into the mixture when cold, and it is so darn tasty and guiltless because it is made with heart-healthy olive oil. It is important to use fresh orange zest, I tried lemon and it was not as flavorful. The only work that might be considered extra is the sifting of the flour and zesting the orange but otherwise it’s a quick recipe.

And as Alice said,” Don’t be afraid to use olive oil!” And I must say I agree with her. You will be amazed at how good this pound cake tastes!

Olive oil and Sherry Pound Cake

From Alice Medrich’s “Pure Dessert”

3 cups (13.5 oz) all-purpose flour

2 tsp baking powder

¼ tsp salt

2 cups sugar

1 cup flavorful extra virgin olive oil

2 tsp grated orange zest (from 1 medium orange)

5 large cold eggs

1 cup medium (amontillado) sherry

Position a rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat the oven tot 350 °F. Grease and flour the pans. (Or, if you prefer, line the bottom and sides of the loaf pans with parchment.)

Mix the flour, baking powder, and salt thoroughly in a large bowl and sift together.

Set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer (with the whisk attachment if you have one), beat the sugar, oil, and orange zest on high speed until well blended. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition; continue to beat until the mixture is thick and pale, 3 to 5 minutes. Stop the mixer and add half of the sherry. Beat just until blended. Repeat with another third of the flour, followed by the remaining sherry, and then the remaining flour.

Scrape the batter into the pan(s). Bake until the cake tester comes out clean, 50 to 60 minutes for either the tube pan or the loaves. Cool the cake in the pan(s) on a rack for about 15 minutes before unmolding. Smaller pans, 30-35 minutes.

If using a tube pan, slide a skewer around the tube. If the sides of the pan are straight, slide a thin knife or spatula around the sides to release the cake (unless lined with paper). If using a Bundt or other decorative pan, tap one side of the pan against the counter to release the cake, then tap the other side. Invert the cake onto a rack. Turn the preferred side up before cooling the cake completely. Wrapped airtight, the cake keeps well at room temperature for up to 3 days, or freeze for up to 3 months.

26 thoughts on “Olive Oil in a Pound Cake

  1. Love all these loafs you've been baking.

    I saw a recipe for a cake using olive oil in an Italian website but misplaced it so it's great to see that you're sharing one here. I like the sound of orange zest too. I can just imagine having a cup of tea and a slice of this!

  2. These are some of my favorite flavors, and I do love tea cakes — this looks like the kind you might buy at a quaint Parisian bake shop! Glad to know this is so easy – I might give it a try this weekend, Veron!

  3. Mmm..since this contains olive oil, I consider it healthy. Looks scumptious.
    It makes me think of Spain, with the olive oil, orange, and sherry.

  4. This sounds fantastic…orange rind and sherry oh my! And olive oil…MMMM! Thanks for passing this along Veron…it looks wonderful 🙂

  5. I give you so much credit for going through and baking lots of stuff from one book. I tend to bounce around too much. I love this loaf.

  6. A lot of time I am searching a recipe like this ( with olive oil)it sounds great. Your blog is amazing I really enjoy the high quality and beautiful photos

  7. Oooh, lovely. I baked a butter cake two nights ago and didn't follow instructions again (when will I ever learn???). I couldn't wait for it to cool because it smells so darn good I had to eat it right away, so I turned my loaf pan upside down trying to get it out and the cake just break into two parts…gah…of course you also know I skipped the step about dusting my pan…what can I do?

  8. Is there a substitute for the sherry? Is the sherry added just for flavour or is it essential to the mixture (eg moisture, crumb, volume).

  9. I think that a “flavorful” olive oil is a great idea for vegetables or salads but weird for a sweet!

    This recipe is very similar to the basic Jewish 1-2-3-4 cake [which usually uses a bland oil instead of other fats], except that the # of eggs has been increased to 5 from 4. Based upon that, I think that one can add almost any type of liquid instead of the sherry. Also, the amount of liquid can be as small as 1/4 cup or larger up to 1 cup. OJ or milk or nondairy milk subs are common. BTW, the 1-2-3-4 cake recipe OR this “pound cake” recipe can also serve as the base cake for Jewish apple cake [use 1/4 cup OJ and layer in and top with a total of at least 2 cups thinly sliced apples] or can be a coffee cake if you add 1 cup of a soured milk or sour cream or buttermilk for the liquid and layer in a streusel and top with more streusel. It is also good with other fruit, try 2 cups fresh blueberries stirred in instead of apples. If you want a lemon poppy seed variation, increase to 1 tablespoon of finely grated lemon zest, use juice of 1 lemon and add enough milk or nondairy “milk” sub to make 1 cup, use baking soda instead of baking powder, add 2 – 3 tablespoons poppy seeds with the flour.

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