Chef Andrea’s Cardamom and Olive Oil Cake
Recently, Holly admitted her powerlessness over the char grilled prawns at the West Edge’s favorite eatery, Lecosho. She recommended following the dish with this fantastic cardamom olive oil cake for dessert, and my ears perked right up.
Now as a Sicilian, when you say “olive oil,” I say “more!” So I called over to beg pastry chef Andrea for her recipe and she graciously gave it up. The Ranier cherries that she serves with it are at the end of their season now, but don’t let that stop you from attempting this cake! Try a few slices of Northwest pear, poached in wine and sugar, or a few cubes of caramelized pumpkin, roasted until soft to garnish. This cake is heavenly with freshly ground cardamom, but is also a brilliant vehicle to feature any number of exotic spices- try pink peppercorns, saffron, fennel (or fennel pollen!) or anise seed, paired with a different flavors of gelato.
A word on the recipe itself: “Real deal” bakers and pastry chefs weigh their ingredients, much like we weigh our spices here in the shop. Weighing provides far more consistent and accurate measurements, which is why we choose to sell our spices that way, too. I left Chef Andrea’s original weights in the recipe in case you’re in possession of a gram scale, but also translated them to the more commonly used volume measurements for the average home cook, too.
- 290 grams all-purpose flour (2 1/3 cups)
- 6 grams baking powder (1 1/2 teaspoons)
- 4 grams Utah Basin salt (1 scant teaspoon)
- 2 eggs
- 316 grams sugar (1.5 cups plus 1 tablespoon)
- 2 cups whole milk
- 2 cups olive oil- pomace, or a mild-tasting extra virgin
- Freshly ground cardamom seed, to taste (~2 tablespoons, for us)
- Preheat oven to 325 F if you've got a convection oven, 350 F for standard.
- Line a half sheet tray (for the home cook, a full-sized jelly roll pan) with parchment paper, and grease it liberally with olive oil or non-stick spray.
- Cream sugar and eggs to ribbon stage.
- Sift together the dry ingredients, and set them aside.
- Combine the olive oil and milk (they won’t incorporate, but this is okay).
- With a stiff rubber spatula, add the dry ingredients and milk/olive oil mix to the creamed sugar and egg mix in alternating thirds- that is, 1/3 of the dry ingredients, mix, 1/3 of the milk/oil, mix, repeat until all ingredients are just incorporated.
- Add your desired amount of freshly ground cardamom.
- Pour into the prepared pan, and spread until even.
- Bake for 20 minutes, or until the edges are golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. If you're not using a convection oven, turn the cake pan halfway through baking.
- Allow the cake to cool on a wire rack.
- To serve as they do at Lecosho, top with a scoop of almond gelato (Chef Andrea makes her own, but we love Procopio!) and pile of pitted local Rainer cherries, mascerated in just a bit of sugar. Enjoy!
I made this cake yesterday and it didn’t turn out at all – really, 2 cups of olive oil? The cake was dense and oily, only about 1 cm/ 1/2 inch high once it cooled. I can’t believe Chef Andrea serves this …. is there a typo in the recipe, or a step missing? I used weights to be sure I had the right proportions and followed the directions to the letter. I am not a professional but I do know my way around the kitchen. This could not have been right.
Chef Andrea does indeed serve this, and it’s delicious and a best seller. You are right though that it is not a tall cake. I’m sorry you had difficulty with the recipe. We have triple-checked for typos and/or conversion errors, and our next step will be to retest the recipe ourselves. We’ll let you know the results!
Resident spice recipe tester and food science geek here! Sorry for the delay, I’m only here a few days a week, these days!
Two cups is correct- this cake has very similar proportions to a traditional American pound cake (pound of butter, pound of flour, etc…) The olive oil does give it a different texture- almost fudge-y, like a brownie without the chocolate. It is a flatter cake, but it’s baked in a sheet pan because the best parts are the crispy top and edges, so baked in one layer, there is more surface area to brown.
In terms of finding it oily, I’d suggest a few things to combat that, if you’re keen to try again. One, you perhaps didn’t cream the eggs and sugar all the way to ribbons. This is necessary to build the stability to hold all of the oil. The other, is that this cake isn’t baked until “just done,” it stays in a bit longer and browns and crisps- almost, dare I say, frying as it goes. The third option is that perhaps you did everything right, and are just not partial to the cake. That’s of course a possibility! We tested in the shop today, and it was a hit- see our photo above.
Again, if you’re interested in trying again, you could try going one part semolina flour to two parts all-purpose, and seeing how you feel with a dryer, more substantial crumb.
Happy cooking, and thanks for starting a dialogue!
This was delicious! … and with the pears poached in wine, wow! Thanks for the recipe!
I dislike olive oil, but love cardamom, so while looking at the picture of the Olive Oil Cake, I thought: “Pancakes!”
So I infused the milk for my pancake recipe with the green cardamom pods & whipped up a batch of Cardamom Pancakes.
Easy & delicious*–two words I love to use together when I’m in the kitchen.
*And even tastier when that last leftover pancake is reheated in the toaster on Day 2.