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.
Chef Andrea’s Cardamom Olive Oil Cake
- 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!
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