Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Meyer Lemon Olive Oil Cake with Honeyed Raspberry Compote and Coconut Cream.

Olive oil cake- it's complex, delicious, earthy, and surprisingly easy to make. This is a modification of my favourite olive oil cake, Smitten Kitchen's Blood Orange Olive Oil Cake, which I've baked with a handful of different modifications in the past, from grapefruit to coconut oil. This cake is great, its rich yellow hue, the chunks of sweet lemon, and the added raspberry compote and coconut cream give it a lovely appearance and layers of flavor, but the recipe is simple, straightforward, and forgiving of substitutions. The trickiest part is remembering to put the coconut milk in the fridge a few hours in advance.

Zest two lemons. 
I love meyer lemons, they're sweet, and tart, and juicy, like ready made lemonade in a peel.
They have an interesting history, too. I'm not sure if it's due to their hybrid species, but their appearance can vary wildly, most are softer and thinner skinned than a traditional lemon, but some meyers are large, orange-ish, and rounder- more like an orange in appearance, while some are small, yellow, and lemon shaped. I bought some of each type this time to taste them next to each other, and though no two taste identical, I couldn't identify any truly marked differences in taste either. 

Jubilee two of the meyer lemons, I did the ones I zested but it doesn't much matter.
. The most important part of jubilee-ing something is to cut the connective membrane away from the flesh, this makes removing the flesh much easier.

Set aside the delicious lemon flesh.

Combine your sugar and zest. This method of flavouring sugar is also useful in cookies, meyer lemon flavoured sugar would make a delicious lemon scented sugar cookie. 

Juice two lemons. Leave S's lens cap in a puddle of lemon juice in your shot.

Combine wet ingredients. Whisk in delicious, delicious olive oil.

Mix up your dry ingredients. I'm not a food snob who insists on adorably packaged package french baking powder, S's younger brother lived in Montreal during college and gave us all his housewares when he moved to Shanghai afterwards. This is great packaging though. I would never buy fancy baking powder, I actually hate baking powder. It has an upsetting consistency and makes this squeaking sound when you scoop it. If S is home I make him measure it out. It is useful though.

When it's all combined don't worry if your dough has some bumps in it (even before adding in that lemon flesh), you don't want to over mix this cake because all your rise is going to come from the baking powder and soda. 

If your loaf pan unmolds well then don't worry about the parchment paper. My load pan is made from one big piece of metal folded like origami into shape, and while it looks cool, and is made domestically from recycled metal, it doesn't unmold well. So I line it in parchment paper.

So lemony and perfect.

Now, for the coconut cream.

This stuff is a bit like cool whip, the colder it is, the firmer, so start with ice cold coconut milk, skim off that cream, add some confectioners sugar, mix it up, and after it reaches the consistency of ever-so-slightly-too-soft whipped cream (it'll never stiffen all the way up), pop it back in the fridge or freezer if you want it extra-stiff. I keep mine in the freezer in between uses, just like cool whip.

The compote is simply raspberries and honey mixed with a spoon, so good and so simple, you'll soon find yourself making it to top all sorts of things.

Serve them up as is, or if you're making this for a fancy-pants party, consider slicing the cake thin and layering it in a nice bowl or dish, a layer of cake, a layer of raspberries, a layer of coconut cream, repeat.

Meyer Lemon Olive Oil Cake with Honeyed Raspberry Compote and Coconut Cream Recipe:
Adapted from Smitten Kitchen's Blood Orange Olive Oil Cake

Butter for greasing pan (I used parchment paper, but it's not necessary)
4 Meyer Lemons
1 cup (200 grams or 7 ounces) sugar
Scant 1/2 cup (118 ml) buttermilk or plain yogurt (I used Fage greek yogurt)
3 large eggs
2/3 cup (156 ml) extra virgin olive oil
1 3/4 cups (219 grams or 7 3/4 ounces) all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons (8 grams) baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
Honeyed-Raspberry Compote (recipe below)
Coconut Whipped cream (recipe below)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 9-by-5-inch loaf pan. Grate zest from 2 lemons and place in a bowl with sugar. Using your fingers, rub ingredients together until lemon zest is evenly distributed in sugar.

Supreme two lemons: Cut off bottom and top so fruit is exposed and lemon can stand upright on a cutting board. Cut away peel and pith, following curve of fruit with your knife (this is the hardest part, not cutting too far into the fruit). Remove lemon segments from their connective membranes and let them fall into a bowl. Don't stress out if your segments of lemon are ugly or small, they're going in the batter eventually anyway.

Halve 2 remaining lemons and squeeze juice into a measuring cup; you’ll will have about 1/3 cup. Add buttermilk or yogurt to juice until you have 2/3 cup liquid altogether. Pour mixture into bowl with sugar and whisk well. Whisk in eggs and olive oil.

In another bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Gently stir dry ingredients into wet ones until just combined. Fold in pieces of lemon segments. Pour batter into prepared pan.

Bake cake for 50 to 55 minutes, or until it is golden and a knife inserted into center comes out clean. Cool on a rack for 5 minutes, then unmold and cool to room temperature right-side up. Serve with coconut whipped cream and honeyed-raspberry compote, recipes below.

Honeyed Raspberry Compote:

5 oz Raspberries
3-4 tablespoons honey

combine honey and raspberries in small bowl and mix gently until combined.

Coconut Whipped Cream:

1 15oz can of coconut milk (not light, full fat)
Heaping 1/3 Cup confectioners sugar

Open can of coconut milk, pour into bowl and refrigerate for 3-6 hours. When removed from fridge you will notice the heavier white cream has seperated from the thinner clear milk, skim the cream off the top and place in bowl of stand mixer (or use hand held mixer and mixing bowl), add the confectioners sugar and beat until peaks begin to form. Use immediately or refrigerate or freeze until ready to use, thaw for about 1/2 half before usage if kept in freezer.


The original recipe called for blood oranges, but I think any citrus would be delicious in this recipe: grapefruit, tangerine, orange, a combination of traditional lemon and orange.
Coconut Oil can be substituted for olive oil, the taste becomes less earthy and the cake holds together more, it is essentially a different cake, but still tasty.
Instead of raspberry compote strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, or other berry would also work.

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