lemon olive oil cake

A couple of weeks ago, my mother-in-law loaded us up with lemons from her tree before she headed off on an overseas sojourn. I’m not really a lemon-buyer in general, I just don’t know what to do with them, but when I become a lemon-receiver, I (a) share the lemon love with friends and (b) pretty much forget about the ones I’m left with.

The other day, I remembered I had lemons. Lemons. Now what do I do with them? I didn’t have that many ingredients on hand – I hardly even had any butter, believe it or not – so I did what any well-meaning guidance-needing person would do. I asked Google. Dear Google, what shall I do with my lemons? Do you – of course you do – have a simple recipe I can whip up with the lack of everything in my pantry (but lemons, oh yes, I have lemons)?

And Google responded. Herewith a simple lemon olive oil cake, my child.

Thank you. A million times thank you, Google. For not only was this recipe actually really incredibly simple (the hardest part is separating 5 eggs, if you’re as egg-separation-challenged as I am) it yielded the moistest, spongiest, slight-tang-of-lemon, aroma-of-olive-oil cake I’ve ever made. Well, I’ve never ever made a lemon olive oil cake but you know, it was good.

Lemon olive oil cake
1 cup plain flour
1-2 lemons (grate 1 1/2 teaspoon zest, squeeze 1 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice)
5 large eggs separated (5 yolks and 4 whites to be used)
3/4 cup olive oil
1/2 cup caster sugar, and a further 1/4 cup caster sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
  1. Preheat oven to 180°C/350°F.
  2. Grate 1 1/2 teaspoons of lemon zest and mix in a small bowl with the flour. Set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, beat together the egg yolks and 1/2 cup of sugar until the mixture is creamy. Reduce speed and add olive oil and lemon juice and beat until well combined.
  4. Using a wooden spoon, stir in flour mixture.
  5. In another bowl, beat together egg whites with the salt until foamy then add 1/4 sugar and beat until soft peaks form.
  6. Gently fold 1/3 of the egg white mixture into the yolk mixture, then add the rest and stir gently until fully combined.
  7. Pour mixture into prepared baking tin (I used a loaf tin, although the original recipe uses a round cake tin) and bake in pre-heated oven for 45 minutes or until a skewer inserted comes out clean.
  8. Once ready, remove from oven and let rest for 10 minutes before removing from tray and serving.
Serves 8-10.

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