Sherry & Olive Oil Pound Cake by Alice Medrich; photo by Leigh Beisch
Recipe courtesy of Alice Medrich, dessert chef, chocolatier, and award-winning author. This recipe appears in Pure Dessert, published by Artisan in 2007, and named a top cookbook that year by Gourmet, Bon Appétit, and Food & Wine magazines.
Extra virgin olive oil with a hint of fresh orange zest produces a subtle and flavorful cake, not overly sweet, with the satisfying texture of a pound cake. This cake improves over 2 or 3 days and toasted slices are nice for breakfast, even as much as a week later. Don’t be afraid of the olive oil….
3 cups (385g) all-purpose flour (see note)
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 cups (400g) sugar
1 cup (215g) extra virgin olive oil (not too mild, robust is good here)
2 teaspoons grated orange zest (from 1 medium orange)
5 cold eggs
1 cup medium (amontillado) sherry
Note: I like unbleached flour and often substitute 80 grams of unbleached pastry flour for 80 grams of all-purpose for a more velvety texture.
A 10-12- cup tube or Bundt pan or two 5 to 6-cup loaf pans
Position a rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour the pans or line the loaf pans with parchment.
Mix the flour, baking powder, and salt thoroughly and sift together onto a piece of wax paper. Set aside.
In a large mixer bowl (with the whisk attachment if you have a choice), beat the sugar, oil, and orange zest until well blended. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Continue to beat until the mixture is thick and pale, 3 to 5 minutes. Stop the mixer and add one-third of the flour mixture. Beat on low speed just until blended. Stop the mixer and add one half of the sherry. Beat just until it is blended. Repeat with another third of the flour, followed by the remaining sherry, and then the remaining flour.
Scrape the batter into the pan(s). Bake until a cake tester comes out clean, 50-60 minutes for either the tube pan or the loaves. Cool the cake in the pan(s) on a rack for about 15 minutes. Slide a skewer around the tube then slide a thin knife around the sides of the pan(s) to release the cake(s). Invert the pans and invert again, setting the cake right side up on a rack to cool completely.
Author, pastry chef, and teacher, Alice Medrich is one of the country’s foremost experts on chocolate and chocolate desserts. Since 1976, when her renowned shop, Cocolat, opened and her first dessert feature (of many) appeared in a national publication, Alice’s innovative ideas and recipes and her insistence on quality ingredients have influenced a generation of confectioners, pastry chefs, and home cooks.