In my opinion, olive oil cake is a surprisingly hard to get dessert. only to the right. The bowl and whisk cake poster is easy to whip up, but my Google search history (“can the cake be too wet?” “too greasy olive oil cake!!!”) reveals how things don’t always go as well as expected. That’s why so far I’ve been content to get my fix at local places like Abraco that To do get it right, but I knew I couldn’t avoid homemade olive oil cake forever. It might be spring cleaning energy in the air, but I decided it was time to finally check it off my (long and endless) to-do list.
There are tons of olive oil cake recipes online (this side by side comparison is a great cheat sheet, if you’re curious), but I knew I wanted to create something that was more ‘cake’ than ‘olive oil’ – flavored with good quality extra virgin olive oil , yes, but neither extremely aromatic nor obviously a manual olive oil cake on the first bite. I imagined a soft yet structured crumb, and a simple, hearty dessert that had enough to make people wonder what exactly they were eating. If that sounds vague, that’s because it was – but it was the plan I needed to get off the couch and into the kitchen.
After a few tries, I’m glad I landed on this pistachio olive oil cake. It may not be the most “classic” version, but personally I like it better that way. Finely ground raw pistachios are whipped into the dry ingredients for a hint of nutty flavor, and while the olive oil adds moisture and flavor to each slice, it doesn’t pull all the weight in this. as far as texture goes (sour cream, an extra yolk, and a spoonful of honey). Unlike many other olive oil cakes, there’s actually no citrus zest or juice in the batter itself, but a dollop of lemony whipped cream on top does. is that subtle touch of brightness needed to pull it all together. The flavors aren’t strong or overpowering, but they don’t have to be to make the cake memorable, enjoyable, and worthy of a second helping.
As the weather finally warms up, this cake is a fun (and easy!) recipe to add to your spring baking repertoire. Neither quite a pistachio cake nor an olive oil cake, it’s a balanced hybrid that reminds me of sunshine, civilized mornings and dinners when no one is in a rush to leave – a cake, in other words, that I would consider that a success.
Pistachio Olive Oil Cake with Lemon Whipped Cream Recipe
Makes an 8 inch round cake
For the pistachio olive oil cake:
1 cup (120 grams) cake flour
¾ teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon kosher salt
½ cup (60 grams) raw shelled pistachios, plus more for garnish
¾ cup (150 grams) granulated sugar
½ cup good quality extra virgin olive oil
⅓ cup whole milk, at room temperature
⅓ cup (75 grams) full fat sour cream, at room temperature
1 large egg plus 1 yolk, at room temperature
1 tablespoon of honey
¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
For the lemon whipped cream:
1 cup heavy cream, cold
3 tablespoons powdered sugar
2 teaspoons finely grated lemon zest
Step 1: Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Grease an 8-inch round cake pan with nonstick cooking spray. Line the bottom with a circle of parchment paper and grease the parchment paper.
2nd step: Sift the flour, baking powder and salt into a medium bowl and whisk to combine. Blend the pistachios in a food processor until they are reduced to a fine powder, then whisk the walnut powder into the dry ingredients.
Step 3: In a large bowl, whisk together the sugar, olive oil, milk, sour cream, egg and yolk, honey, and vanilla extract until smooth and well combined. mix. Gradually add the dry ingredients while whisking and mixing until no traces of flour remain and the batter is smooth (be careful not to overmix).
Step 4: Pour the batter into the prepared pan and tap the pan against the counter several times to release any air bubbles on the surface. Bake the cake for about 1 hour, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
Step 5: Let the cake cool in the pan for 15-20 minutes, then gently run a small offset spatula around the edge of the cake to loosen it. Invert the cake and transfer it to a wire rack to cool completely.
Step 6: While the cake is cooling, prepare the lemon whipped cream: Using an electric mixer or a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, beat the heavy cream, powdered sugar, lemon zest and a pinch of salt until medium peaks form (try not to whisk too much).
Step 7: When ready to serve, cut the cake into slices and top with a generous dollop of lemon whipped cream. Garnish with a sprinkle of chopped pistachios, if desired.