Join Kathy on one of our amazing culinary vacations to Italy or France!Learn More
I’ve been spending a lot of time in the kitchen with Italian mammas, some of whom you’ll meet on the Food Lover’s Odyssey Puglia Culinary Vacation, I was lucky enough to also spend some time in the kitchen with a few handsome men, one of whom is Donato of the olive oil company Taurino. Using Donato’s olive oil, I created a super easy and tasty lemon olive oil cake from Puglia.
Taurino is a family-run business. Founded by Donato’s parents, Pino and Maria, Donato and his sister now run the “farm,” as they call it. Pino and Maria are still an active and visible part of the business and pop in to meet guests daily. We visited their olive oil company, learned how they make olive oil and had a picnic in their olive groves. Donato takes great care in his guests’ happiness, making sure we’re full and happy when we leave. Donato and his sister take the same care in every detail of olive oil production, from the manner in which they water the olive trees down to the packaging and shipping of the oil and other products. The care they take in its production ends with an extra virgin olive oil of the finest quality.
Along with two types of extra virgin olive oil, Taurino makes pâtes with their olives and other of the many flavorful vegetables of Puglia; artichokes from Brindisi, local bell peppers and sun-dried tomatoes. During my recent visit to Puglia, I have to admit I went through jars and jars of the artichoke and bell pepper pâtes, slathering copious amounts on slices of Pugliese bread.
JOIN US IN PUGLIA FOR OUR WEEK-LONG PUGLIA CULINARY VACATION
MEET, COOK AND EAT WITH LOCALS WHILE EXPLORING THE CULTURE AND CUISINE OF THIS BEAUTIFUL SOUTHERN ITALIAN REGION!
We cooked and ate many savory dishes using Taurino’s olive oil. Today’s recipe, though, is for something sweet, a lemon olive oil cake using their mild extra virgin olive oil. Many people use melted butter when making cakes, but I believe that the olive oil gives you a moister cake. This lemon cake I made with Donato is light but decadently dense and moist with a vibrant lemon flavor and the olive oil is a subtle secondary flavor. It is important to make sure that you whip the eggs until they have doubled in size to help give this cake its structure. The cake is just sweet enough and so tasty that it doesn’t need an elaborate garnish. I’ve simply dusted it with some powder sugar. When they are in season you can also garnish with berries, especially strawberries and raspberries.
(makes one 9 ½-inch cake)
For the cake:
1 3/4 cups (225 g) “00” flour or cake flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
Pinch of salt
1 cup (200 g) granulated sugar
Zest of 4 small organic lemons (2 or 3 lemons if they are large)
1/4 cup (60 ml) lemon juice (from 1-2 lemons)
Scant 1 cup (225 g) whole-milk plain yogurt
1/2 cup (100 ml) extra virgin olive oil
About 1/4 cup powdered sugar to sprinkle on top of the cake
Strawberries or raspberries to garnish (optional)
Preheat the oven to 375°F and grease a 9 1/2 cake pan with olive oil, then dust it with flour.
Sift together the flour, baking powder and salt and set aside. Add the zest to the granulated sugar and rub together to infuse the sugar with the zest’s lemon flavor. Using a stand mixer with a whisk attachment, beat on medium-high speed the sugar and eggs until the mixture has lightened in color and doubled in size, 3-5 minutes. On low speed, whisk in the lemon juice and yogurt. Add the olive oil, pouring slowly so that flows in a stream. Mix in until it is combined. On the lowest speed, stir in the flour mixture only until combined. Pour the batter into the prepared cake pan and bake for 40-50 minutes. (A toothpick inserted in the middle will come out with a few moist crumbs.)
Remove from the oven and cool for 20 minutes. Remove from the cake pan and cool completely. Dust with powdered sugar and garnish with strawberries and/or raspberries. Buon Appetito!