Obsessed with cakes made with olive oil

First of all, let me tell you right away that I did not grow up on baked goods made with olive oil.  Cakes are made with butter in Italy, then and now.  Olive oil is used extensively in cooking, but a good cake is loaded with fresh, pictureunsalted butter, unless it’s a Pan di Spagna, a sponge-type cake, which uses no fat at all.  This is a fairly new trend, both in the States and Italy.  You know, probably the heart-healthy thing, unsaturated fats and all that (good) jazz.  So I started surfing the web and found tons of recipes made with extra-virgin olive oil, and I jumped into experimenting, because, well, I’m an adventurous and passionate baker.  So in the last few months, I’ve been purchasing different olive oils (and no, not at all the pricey, ‘boutique’ kind, but whatever was of good quality and, dulcis in fundo, on sale), collecting complementing ingredients, and my kitchen has
been a blur of activity.  I’ve made cakes in Italian, that is weighing stuff on a scale, and using the vanilla-flavored baking powder Pane Angeli that I purchase in Italy, Ferrero cocoa…and American chocolate chips (the best in the world, I assure you).  And I’ve  played gleefully with delectable
American olive oil cakes, flavored with tangerines, lemons and…rosemary.  Yes, you read correctly, rosemary.  I actually just had a slice of a solid, aromatic, gorgeous Bundt cake made with finely chopped fresh rosemary, tangy with grated lemon peel, fruity with a Spanish extra-virgin olive oil that comes in an epicturelegant slim bottle.  And I mess with people’s minds too, that is, I insist that they guess the secret ingredient. Would you believe that most thought that it was poppy seeds? What? Oh, well, having a little fun, that’s all.  Now, the pretty Bundt flavored with orange peel was a bright golden color, moist and satisfying.  I call this type of cakes breakfast cakes because, in my opinion, they’re best served in the morning with a little cup of good Italian espresso (my preference), or foamy cappuccino, and, well, I consider them a great incentive to get out of bed, especially if the day ahead is yet another challenging one.  So here they are, my friends, two of the recipes (Olive Oil-Lemon Cake with Rosemary and Olive Oil-Orange Bundt Cake) I plucked from the web, reworked to my taste and by my experience and baked in the stunning Bundt pans that are part of my prized collection. Oh, by the way, I recommend the use of the one and only Microplane, the best grating tool ever invented, which makes really quick work of zesting citrus, and I actually really enjoy using it (try it and you’ll see what I mean).  Come, now, brighten your cakes with some olive oil!


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