When I was asked to create a recipe for a new flavor of premium extra virgin olive oil, I jumped at the chance. I love baking with olive oil because it makes cakes so rich, moist. The folks over at Pompeian have created a premium line of mono-varietal (i.e. produced from a single grape) extra virgin olive oils called the Pompeian Varietals Collection. This new line is meant to celebrate the unique flavor profile that a single type of olive provides, while allowing the consumer a chance to learn about the unique journey behind each bottle.
The collection consists of three types of olives:
- Arbequina – a mild-bodied extra virgin olive oil with a round taste of fruitiness and a delicate sweetness.
- Picholine – a medium-bodied extra virgin olive oil with a fruitiness and hints of herbs that works well with meats or sauces.
- Koroneiki – a full-bodied extra virgin olive oil with robust fruitiness and a peppery finish that is perfect for soups or salads.
One of the cool things about Pompeian Varietals is that you can track the story of the olives from harvest to your table. You can uncover the history behind each bottle — starting at the mill, country and harvest date and ending at your very own kitchen table.
The olive oil I selected for my recipe was Arbequina. Arbequina is native to the Mediterranean and the Middle East. Arbequina olives produce an extra virgin olive oil that is intensely aromatic and its flavor profile strikes a delightful balance between grassy and peppery notes, finishing with a buttery almond flavor.
I thought that this particular olive oil flavor profile was perfect for an almond-olive oil cake – so I created a recipe for what I am calling Heavenly HALO Olive Oil Cake with a Brown Butter, Citrus & Almond Glaze. HALO stands for:
- Lemon and
In both the cake batter and in the glaze, the honey, almond, lemon and orange come together in harmony with the olive oil for a symphony of (almost) sinful flavor.
The recipe is simple and you don’t have to bring out the stand mixer. Everything combines easily by hand in just a few mixing bowls.
When you taste the cake, you can tell that it’s made with olive oil because it’s so moist. And you don’t have to smother the cake in glaze because there’s a delicate sweetness to the cake itself that comes from the buttery almond flavor of the Pompeian Arbequina Extra Virgin Olive Oil.
I absolutely loved how this cake turned out and can’t wait to use the other Pompeian Varietals in my cooking. The other Pompeian Varietals are stronger, bolder in their flavor profiles and lend themselves more to savory dishes. But the Arbequina olive oil is so light and versatile that you could use it in almost any baking recipe.
What’s your favorite recipe for baking with olive oil? If you use the Arbequina extra virgin olive oil in your next baking recipe, be sure to share it here on Baked Chicago. I’d love to hear how it turned out for you. Now pardon me, but a slice of cake and a cup of coffee are calling my name….LOUDLY.
Preheat oven to 350F degrees. Generously grease and flour a 9-inch round cake pan. Set aside.
In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder and salt to thoroughly combine. Set aside.
In a large mixing bowl, whisk eggs to break up yolks. Add brown sugar and whisk it thoroughly. Add the olive oil and whisk until mixture is lighter in color and thickened (about 1 minute). Whisk in vanilla and almond extracts, followed by lemon zest and orange juice.
Add dry ingredients to the mixture and whisk until thoroughly combined. Continue whisking until batter is smooth and emulsified.
Pour batter into prepared baking pan. Bake for 45 to 55 minutes. Cake is done when it pulls away from the sides of pan and springs back lightly when touched. A cake tester or toothpick inserted should come out clean.
Allow cake to cool for 10 minutes in pan, then remove it and allow it to cool completely on a wire rack.
While cake cools, make the glaze. Melt butter over medium heat in a small saucepan. When butter is melted, lower heat and watch carefully until it turns a light tan color. Swirl in pan while heating to distribute heat evenly. It should smell slightly nutty. Turn off the heat and let it cool. It will continue to darken.
In a medium bowl, whisk milk with the confectioners' sugar until smooth. Slowly whisk in butter and lemon juice. Stir in chopped almonds. Spread the glaze on top of the cake and let it set.