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.
| ||3 || eggs |
| ||2½ || cups sugar (see Note) |
| ||1½ || cups extra-virgin olive oil (see Note) |
| ||1½ || cups milk (see Note) |
| ||~ || Grated zest of 2 to 3 oranges or lemons |
| ||2 || cups unbleached all-purpose flour |
| ||1 || tsp. baking powder |
| ||~ || Large pinch of salt |
| ||6 || stalks (about 2 pounds) rhubarb |
| ||2 || Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil |
| ||⅓ to ½ || cup honey |
- 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).
- In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs and granulated sugar. Add the olive oil, milk, and citrus zest.
- 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.
- 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).
- 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.
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.
This content is from the
Jim Dixon collection.