A taste of Italy – Olive Oil Cake with Grapes

Yes, I ate that entire wedge.

One of my favorite things to do on the weekend is to wake up early, brew coffee and indulge in the Food Network. Just such an opportunity presented itself this past weekend…warm weather for open windows and doors, Peet’s coffee blend brewing and a sleeping husband left to his dreams rather than a fight with me over the remote. I turned to my favorite channel and settled in with Alex’s Day Off. It was a new show for me but it didn’t disappoint. I grabbed a pen and paper and starting jotting down ingredients, techniques and copious notes. Apparently my coffee hadn’t quite kicked in because a star of the bake show was conveniently left of my list. However, I have to say even without that ingredient, this cake is now a favorite pastry. A dense, gooey, unexpected treat with all the things that remind me of our trip last fall to Tuscany where we celebrated the marriage of good friends at Torre del Tartufo.

Here’s the fix:
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 stick butter
2 eggs
lemon zest
1.5 cups all purpose flour
3/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 cup whole milk at room temp (this is what I left out)
1.5 cups seedless grapes
1/3 cup golden raisins
1 tbsp flour

Room temperature ingredients are key for this cake. Blend the sugar, butter, eggs and zest in a mixer. Sift the flour, baking powder, salt and fold into the blended mixture. Add olive oil and milk. Next, in a separate bowl, half the grapes and add the raisins. Sift the tbsp flour over the fruit and toss together. This will keep the fruit from sinking to the bottom of the pan. Fold into the mixture and transfer the mixture to a well greased pan. I used a fluted tart pan with a removable bottom and loved the way it looked on the plate. A springform pan would be perfect and I am sure a good ol’ fashion cake pan would do the trick also. It goes into a 350 degree oven for 40-45 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean from the center. When I made it without the milk, the batter was thick and it only needed 30 minutes to bake.

Now for the delicious…the topping consists of 1/4 cup honey, ginger and grapes. Heat the honey over low heat until it starts to bubble. Next grate in a knob of ginger (maybe 1/2″ or more depending on your taste) and sliced grapes. Let it rest for a bit and then pour over the cake.

I think my favorite part of this recipe is incorporating the grapes.  Cake with fruit?! Just makes you feel like you are doing something good for yourself.  I could start my day with a slice and good coffee or finish a meal with a sliver and red wine.

Let me know how it turns out when you fold in ALL of the ingredients!


2 thoughts on “A taste of Italy – Olive Oil Cake with Grapes

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