Birthdayliciousness a.k.a Portuguese Olive Oil Lemon Cake

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Yesterday I moved even further into my 40’s than I honestly feel comfortable with. Age is relative, you’re as old as you feel , young at heart, blah blah blah pass the cake please, not a slice , the whole damn thing!

Being a Chef and Chocolatier , I’d rather bake my own cake , not because I think it would be better than Shawn’s ( he’s an awesome baker ) but because I just really love doing it. When he asked if he could bake something for my birthday I already had it in hand.

Chocolate is my ‘bread and butter’ but what I love most is fresh, tangy lemon when I think of cake. In my opinion birthday cakes should be gold or yellow or white, just a thing I have and since it was my day , golden lemon it would jolly well be.

I first had an olive oil cake when I was on holiday one January on the Portuguese island of Madeira. “The Island of Eternal Springtime” turned out to be “The Island of Endless Rain, Wind and Hail” but that’s another story. I remember eating this cake at a boulevard Café-Kiosk and falling head over heels in love with the moist yet firm texture and that intoxicating aroma of lemon zest. This is my version of that memory of Portugal and it’s beyond easy.

Ingredients:

4 eggs at room temperature

1 cup powder sugar

Juice and zest of 2 large lemons

1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 cup all purpose flour

1 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp salt

Set oven at 350f.

Beat the eggs, juice and zest , salt and sugar at high speed until frothy and light in colour , about 5 minutes.

Add the oil , baking powder and flour and beat well until smooth, the mixture will be thin and pancake batter-like.

Pour into a prepared 8-9″ cake pan. That means whatever you do to prevent the cake sticking , I usually grease and flour it and place a small piece of parchment paper in the center.

Bake for 20 minutes or until a cocktail stick inserted in the center comes out clean. The cake will not be browned! That is the intention. Remove from the oven and cool in the pan with a saucepan lid on top to trap all the moisture.

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The Lemon Olive Oil Cake I enjoyed in Portugal was dusted with powdered sugar but this one was my birthday cake and you can’t have a birthday without frosting, right?

I took a cup and a half of powder sugar , added 1/4 tsp vanilla extract , the finely grated zest of one lemon and stirred in the juice drop by drop until I had a   thick but pourable Glacé Icing. Then I added one large leaf of fresh basil very finely chopped.

When the cake is completely cooled transfer it to a serving platter and pour  the icing into the center , spread from the middle outwards toward the edges , in a circular motion until evenly coated.

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I finished the top with some white chocolate decor I had in the pantry but you can serve it as is , with some unsweetened sour cream or creme fraiche dolloped on top , or grate some good quality white chocolate over it, whatever…. just keep it light and bright.

This cake is airy but firm and very tender and moist . The citrus is party in your mouth the olive oil accentuating the fruit.

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I have a half a cake left , although it did hear the ::chink:: of a fork against a plate from the kitchen just now . I think I need to go be the Birthday Cake Police before it all disappears.

PJK

 

 

 

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Butternut Chocolate Cake

After a day at work, during which all I could think about was putting my feet up with a big chunk of cake, I found self rummaging through the cupboard looking for ingredients to make it happen…
Yes , I had the essentials , flour , sugar , some cocoa powder, but how could I up the volume ? A trip to the fridge and I had it … Butternut squash.

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A friend asked me for the recipe and remarked ” oh ! A vegan recipe that doesn’t p*** me off!” And that’s exactly what this is … No manipulation , no trying to make something that isn’t of animal origin seem like it is . It’s easy , moist and very rich!

Ingredients:
2 cups finely ground butternut squash ( chop to hell in the food processor)
1/2 cup oil
1/4 cup almond milk ( or regular milk)
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 tblsp any unsweetened nut butter
3/4 cup light brown sugar
1 cup flour
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt

Mix the dry stuff together .
Mix the wet stuff together .
Add to the dry stuff
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Transfer to a greased and floured 9 inch round cake pan and bake at 350f for about 25-30 minutes or until a cocktail stick inserted into the center comes out clean.

Remove from the oven and cover with a piece of kitchen paper and then a saucepan lid until completely cooled , this traps in all the moisture. Turn out of the pan onto a serving plate.20140621-161008-58208938.jpg
You can eat it as it is but I decided to make it good and gooey with a chocolate frosting creme.

Blend 3 large avocados with a 1/2lb melted dark chocolate, 1/4 cup of raw cane sugar , a tablespoon of coconut oil and a teaspoon vanilla extract . It will be smooth enough to spread over the surface of the cake but when cooled will firm up to create a fudgey layer . It’s basically Avocado Ganache.

I finished the top off with some grated 70% Cacao chocolate .

The cake didn’t last two days … By the next day the Squash had done its work , making the cake even moister than it already was. It really is an amazing result for very little work. My partner Shawn is a cake lover and I am the enabler. Win win .
PJK.