Tag Archives: cake

Olive Oil Cake with Rosemary and Dark Chocolate (and Orange Mascarpone Frosting, if you like)

There are a lot of ways that you can try to dichotomize people- Right-Brained vs. Left-Brained.  Introverts vs. Extroverts.  Cat-People vs. Dog-People.  (For a while I thought maybe I was an all-around “Animal-Person”, but after much consideration I have come to the conclusion that I am truly a Cat-Person who happens to like some dogs.)

One category that has always baffled me are the people who claim that they are “not a dessert person”.  As someone who, in an ideal world, would conclude every meal with at least a little something sweet, I have a hard time relating to people who claim to never be tempted by ice cream, chocolate, or baked goods.

As I have gotten older, though, my sweet-tooth has developed a more refined palate.  Although there are still a few super-sugary treats I have a hard time resisting (i.e., Dunkin Donuts or Cadbury Creme Eggs), the desserts I really appreciate are the ones that have a lighter touch with the sugar.  Strawberries with balsamic and basil, for instance.

Or this Olive Oil Cake with Rosemary and Dark Chocolate.  I think this is a cake that even the self-proclaimed non-dessert people would like.  It’s not too rich or too sweet, has a nice graininess from the spelt flour, and the rosemary is fragrant and earthy.

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I followed the recipe exactly, so just follow the link above over to The Vanilla Bean Blog.  While you’re over there, spend some time perusing all the delicious-looking recipes.

A technical note: The recipe calls for using a 9 1/2 inch fluted tart pan.  If you are wondering if you can get away with using a 9-inch tart pan, the answer is yes, but the cake will rise above the edge and bake over the side a little bit.  Absolutely no effect on the taste, just not quite as neat, if you’re concerned with such things.  You can also use a springform cake pan with higher sides; you won’t get the pretty fluted edge, but you don’t have to worry about overflow.

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If you are wanting something fancier, you can top the cake with an orange-scented mascarpone frosting, which makes it a little more decadent but still not over-the-top.   I did this for Mother’s Day, and no one complained.  If you should choose to do so…

  • While the cake is cooling, combine 1 pound mascarpone cheese, 1 cup chilled heavy whipping cream, 1/2 cup confectioner’s sugar, and 1 teaspoon grated orange zest (or a little more, if preferred) in the bowl of a stand mixer.  Use the paddle attachment to beat at high speed, until soft peaks form- about 60-90 seconds.
  • Spread frosting on the top (and sides, if you like) of the cooled cake.  This recipe will yield way more frosting than you will need for the cake, but I’m sure you can find a way to use it up.  I’m thinking it would be lovely with ginger snaps or graham crackers….
  • Keep frosted cake chilled and serve within a few hours.

With or without frosting, leftovers of this cake (if there are any) are wonderful for breakfast.

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Last Night’s Dinner, Sunday Edition: Mexican Ceviche Tacos and Olive-Oil Cake with Candied Oranges

Several years ago when my sister Emily and I were living together we unsuccessfully tried to establish a tradition of weekly Sunday brunches.  I think it probably lasted a few weeks, but the one that stands out was the week we were going to have bagels and lox, and mimosas.  Except one of us forgot to buy orange juice, which led to a brunch of bagels and lox and a bottle of champagne, which led to a very unproductive Sunday afternoon.

Last month, along with Nick and Em’s fiance Mike, we decided to try a new tradition of weekly Sunday dinners.  (Scheduling something after 2 pm immediately increases the likelihood that I will follow through with it.)  Pre-blog, there was the steak salad that Nick and I prepared, and last week, Emily and Mike made a delicious asparagus soup.  Last night was our turn, and with the heat we’ve had recently, a no-cook (or minimal cooking) dinner sounded appealing.  So I dug up a recipe for Mexican Ceviche Tacos for inspiration and headed to the fish market.

I ended up with 1 1/4 pounds of fresh rockfish.  As the recipe called for, I cut the fish into 1/2-inch cubes and tossed it in a marinade of 3 tbsp lime juice, 2 tbsp lemon juice, 2 tbsp sugar, and salt and pepper.

I’m always amazed that the citrus will “cook” the fish:

But sure enough, five hours later, the fish was white and looked pretty much the same as if you cooked it:

Beyond the fish preparation, I did deviate from the recipe a bit:  There are several members of my family who aren’t crazy about red onion, but I love how the vivid color enhances the ceviche, so I compromised by cutting the quantity back to 1/2 cup chopped red onion.  Also, to tone it down, I marinated the onion in the juice of one lime and one lemon starting just before I started the ceviche (so it probably marinated about 5 1/2 or 6 hours total).  This seemed to work well – the onion was definitely present, but blended more with the other flavors.  It also worked well because I used one chopped fresh jalapeno pepper instead of the pickled peppers in the recipe.  Since the recipe calls for a tablespoon of the liquid from the picked jalapenos, I just used the lemon/lime juice from marinating the onions instead.

After the fish marinated for 5 hours, I strained it, discarding the fish marinade, and mixed the fish together with 1 cup chopped tomato, the red onions and onion marinade, the chopped jalapeno, 1 tbsp olive oil, and about a 1/2 cup of chopped cilantro.  (I love cilantro, so I was very generous with it as you can see.)  I also mixed in an additional two limes’ worth of juice and juice of one lemon, as well as seasoning with more salt and pepper.

We served the ceviche on whole-grain taco shellsChopped avocado, thinly sliced romaine lettuce, and additional sliced jalapeno peppers available for taco assembly (not pre-mixed into the ceviche).  Nick cooked some rice in chicken broth, fajita seasoning, and adobo sauce from a can of chipotle peppers.  (And yes, he made that up himself.)

And dessert…  I followed this recipe for Olive-Oil Cake with Candied Oranges directly.  Two comments:  First, syrup can come to a boil really, really suddenly.  It looked like it was getting close, so I went to grab the sliced oranges from my prep table and within the ten seconds I was away from the stove, the water/sugar/honey mixture boiled over.  It did not ruin it at all, but it did make for some fun cleanup.  Also, I’d taste the cake before drizzling additional syrup over it when serving; the syrup poured on the cake when it comes out of the oven makes it pretty sweet.  Half of us ended up drizzling more syrup on the cake, the other half felt it wasn’t needed.  

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