Presenting last weekend’s Boozy Bake: this olive oil, lemon and chardonnay cake. We love everything about this cake – its bright flavor, fragrant, fluffy crumb and inviting golden color. We also love how the wine gives this cake some richness and more layers of fruit flavor. We used one of our favorite chardonnays, favored for it’s ripeness and aromatic, almost pineapple-like flavor. It’s also a little richer and creamier than other chardonnays. If you prefer a crisper, less ripe chardonnay with notes of apple or lemon, that would work, too. As you know by now, we love citrus flavors dearly, so we chose to serve the cake with more candied lemons, but we can also easily see this cake going very well with a light cream cheese frosting or a sprinkling of slivered almonds.
For the cake:
1 1/4 cups sugar
2/3 cup good extra virgin olive oil
2/3 cup chardonnay
1/3 cup lemon juice
zest of one lemon
2 1/4 cups unbleached white flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp orange extract
1/2 tsp white pepper
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp powdered ginger
1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
For candied lemon slices:
2 lemons, washed and thinly sliced
2 cups water
2 tbsp chardonnay
1 cup granulated white sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
Make the candied lemons. In a sauce pan or skillet, combine the water, sugar and wine. Bring to a boil. Add the lemon slices. Cook over medium heat. Stir and turn occasionally. Cook for 15-20 minutes or until the liquid is reduced to a thin syrup and the orange slices have turned translucent. Reduce to a low heat. Simmer for 10 minutes or until the syrup thickens and the slices are tender but still intact. Transfer the orange slices to a rack or lined tray to cool. Reserve the syrup for glazing and brushing on cakes.
Make the cake. Preheat oven 350 degrees F. Grease and line two 8×2 inch cake tins.
In one bowl, combine chardonnay and lemon juice. Set aside.
In one bowl, combine sugar and lemon zest. Mix well until sugar becomes lightly colored and fragrant. Set aside.
In another bowl, combine and whisk together the flour, spices, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
In another bowl, use your hand mixer to beat the eggs until just combined. Add vanilla and orange extracts. Beat eggs. Start from medium and gradually increase to high speed. Add sugar gradually. Beat for about 4-5 minutes or until mixture is light in color and forms ribbons when mixer attachment is lifted.
Add olive oil. Beat for another minute to combine.
Alternately add flour mixture and wine mixture in three parts to the eggs, starting and ending with the flour mixture. Scrape down sides with spatula if necessary.
Pour the cake batter into prepared pan. Bake each cake for 45-50 minutes or just until the cake has turned a golden color and a cake tester comes out clean. Unmold and set cakes on the rack.
As the cakes are cooling, brush the tops and sides with syrup. Optional: top cake with candied lemon slices.
Have some cake! Serve the slices warm and with some whipped cream.