Complicated name for an uncomplicated delicacy
Last week, we raved about Sixty Vines’ Texas Olive Oil Citrus Cake. The cake itself was light and not too sweet, a departure from the rich density associated with traditional cake. They served theirs with a mascarpone that added a touch of sweetness the citrus-focused creation might have otherwise lacked.
We were inspired. When it came time to pick a recipe for this week, we knew we wanted to do an olive oil cake, but we also knew we wanted to try it in a different flavor profile than the citrus. Y’all, there are a lot of olive oil cake recipes out there, so feel free to browse around for one that suits your needs. We went with this recipe from Waves in the Kitchen, which sounded incredible (we’re both big balsamic fans). Danielle Gerson of Waves in the Kitchen does an incredible job of creating great recipes that are straightforward and easy to follow. You can read the instructions we (mostly) followed here.
Here’s our experience:
The steps are simple, and thankfully for our clean-up time, minimal dishes are required. We used a KitchenAid to mix the batter, but doing it by hand would be just as easy and wouldn’t take long at all.
There are a few things we learned that we wanted to share for when you try this recipe on your own. The brown sugar we used got clumpy, so once the batter was mixed, we had to go in with a spoon and break them up individually. That’s the only downside of using the KitchenAid–it can’t see the spots it misses! Also, we spent entirely too long meticulously placing the balsamic strawberries and sprigs of thyme artfully on the cake. Somehow, this was the most stressful part of the entire thing. While aesthetically pleasing, that step is definitely not necessary and if you’re on any sort of time crunch you can definitely just sprinkle them on and it’ll still look cute. Finally, the round 9-inch pan we had was a tad too shallow for the amount of batter we put in it. It fit, but barely, and most of the cooking time was spent with us staring at the oven hoping it didn’t overflow. It didn’t, thank goodness, but our cake ended up with a tiny (cute) muffin top.
The cake turned out beautifully. I mean, look at it! We did, though, have some issue with cooking times, largely related to our pan being too shallow for the batter. Where the strawberries were the heaviest, the batter right underneath didn’t get fully cooked the way we would have liked. We recommend spacing the fruits out a bit more than we did to ensure this doesn’t happen. As for the taste, it was incredible. It was light but a tad gritty from the cornmeal, and the balsamic strawberries added the perfect sweet touch we wanted. Overall, a success for Fizz and Fork’s first recipe!
What you should know before you try:
- If you can’t find balsamic glaze at the store, don’t panic! You can do what we did and make your own glaze by simmering balsamic vinegar on the stovetop with some sugar, honey, or other sweetener of your choice. You’ll know it’s done when it has a thick, syrupy texture. However, be aware that this is a somewhat lengthy process and that you will need to add much more balsamic vinegar than you’ll need glaze–it will reduce to at least a half or a third by the time it’s at the correct consistency.
- This cake is made with cornmeal, so the texture is slightly gritty. If that’s not something you’re a fan of, you can use a finely-ground cornmeal and/or you can sift the cornmeal before use.
- Olive oil cake is by nature very versatile and takes on a lot of the flavor you’re using to add to it. If balsamic strawberries don’t appeal to you, you can pretty much pair it and infuse it with any fresh fruits of your choice.
When should you make this cake?
This cake is delicate, and honestly a great end to any meal. If we had to pick an occasion, we think this delicacy would make a great tea party cake. Don’t have any tea parties in your calendar? Baby showers, Mother’s Day, or Easter are other great options!
Don’t forget to check back next Wednesday for another restaurant review, and follow us on Instagram @fizz.and.fork and leave a comment below! Thanks for reading!