Olive Oil Quatre Quarts with Chopped Fruit
This variation on a classic French pound cake, in which ingredient quantities are determined by relative weight, uses olive oil instead of butter for a light, fresh flavor. The recipe was developed by SAVEUR contributor Nancy Harmon Jenkins, who recommends using a Polder Kitchen Scale for accurate measure. The cake is delicious on its own, and even better with a dollop of whipped cream or vanilla ice cream. It’s also excellent for breakfast.
For this recipe, most ingredient quantities are determined by relative weight: the weight of the eggs in their shells should be matched by the weight of the sugar, flour, and olive oil. Three eggs should weigh about 6 ounces; for any variation in weight, adjust the quantities of sugar, flour, and olive oil accordingly.
- 2-3 cups chopped, fresh fruit (peeled, if necessary) like peaches, plums, apples, or pears
- 3 large eggs
- All-purpose flour (about 1 1/4 cup)
- Sugar (about 3/4 to 1 cup)
- Extra-virgin olive oil, a bland and sweet variety like taggiasca or arbequina (about 3/4 cup)
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
- 1 tsp. almond extract (if using peaches)
- Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Butter and flour a 9-inch cake pan, preferably one with a removable bottom.
- Make the batter: First, weigh your eggs in their shells. This is your base line and allows you to expand and contract the recipe as much as you wish. The eggs should weigh around 2 ounces each, 6 ounces in all. Once weighed, separate the whites from the yolks and set aside. Weigh the same amount, 6 ounces, of sugar. Remove a couple of tablespoons and set aside to add to the whites when you beat them. Set the remaining sugar in a mixing bowl. Measure out the same amount, again 6 ounces, of all-purpose flour, transfer to a small bowl and set aside. Finally, measure 6 ounces, by weight, of extra-virgin olive oil.
- Using an electric mixer, slowly beat the olive oil, a few ounces at a time, into the sugar, until all the oil has been absorbed. Beat on high a couple of minutes to make a fluffy mixture. Add the egg yolks and continue beating vigorously to blend well. Still beating, add the flour, about a quarter at a time, incorporating each addition fully before adding more. Add the vanilla extract (and almond extract, if using), and stir to combine. Set mixture aside.
- Add a pinch of salt to the egg whites and, using scrupulously clean beaters, beat the whites to soft peaks. Sprinkle the reserved sugar over the whites and continue beating to very stiff peaks. Using a spatula, gently fold the egg whites into the batter until thoroughly combined.
- Turn half the batter into the prepared cake pan. Distribute about three-quarters of the chopped fruit over the batter in the pan, then top with the remaining batter. Finally, distribute the remaining fruit over the top and transfer to the preheated oven. Bake for about 45 minutes, or until the cake is done (the top is golden brown, the sides pull away from the pan and a broom straw inserted in the middle comes out clean). Remove to a cake rack and let cool before removing from the pan.