Olive oils with sweet notes can be used for baking and are especially good in quick breads and bars like these.
For the shortbread crust:
- 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 3 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar
- 1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
- 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 10 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into cubes
For the curd:
- 4 to 6 lemons (enough for 3/4 cup of juice)
- 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
- 2 large eggs, plus 3 yolks
- 1 1/2 teaspoons cornstarch
- Pinch of fine sea salt
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- Confectioners’ sugar and flaky sea salt, such as Maldon, for sprinkling
Heat the oven to 325°F and line a 9 x 9 baking pan with enough parchment to hang over two of the sides (to be used as handles later to lift the bars out of the pan).
Make the crust: Pulse together the flour, granulated sugar, confectioners’ sugar, lemon zest, and salt in a food processor, or whisk together in a large bowl. Add the butter and pulse (or use two knives or your fingers) to cut the butter into the flour until a crumbly dough forms. Press the dough into the prepared pan and bake until the crust is pale golden all over, 30 to 35 minutes.
While the shortbread is baking, prepare the lemon curd: Grate 1/2 tablespoon of zest from the lemons and set aside. Squeeze lemons to yield 3/4 cup juice.
In a small saucepan over medium heat, whisk together the lemon juice, sugar, eggs and yolks, cornstarch, and fine sea salt until boiling and thickened, 2 to 5 minutes. Make sure the mixture comes to a boil and stays there for 30 seconds or so; you should see it thicken up before you take it off the heat. But once it boils, do not cook for longer than 1 minute or you risk the curd thinning out again. Remove the curd from the heat and strain into a bowl. Whisk in the butter, olive oil, and lemon zest.
When the shortbread is ready, take it out of the oven and carefully pour the lemon curd onto the shortbread base; return the pan to the oven. Bake until the topping is just set, 10 to 15 minutes more. Allow to cool to room temperature, then refrigerate until cold before cutting into bars. Sprinkle with confectioners’ sugar and flaky sea salt right before serving.
Makes 24 bars — Recipe from cooking.nytimes.com
Moist and satisfying, this cake can be made from ingredients you likely have on hand. Instead of making a glaze, you can simply brush the finished, cooled cake with olive oil. It’s great for breakfast, tea, or dessert. (We also like it with fresh berries and a dollop of sweetened whipped cream.)
- 3 large eggs
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1/2 cup whole milk
- 1 tablespoon orange liqueur (optional)
- 1 tablespoon finely grated orange zest
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/4 teaspoon almond extract
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
For the glaze (optional):
- 1/2 cup powdered sugar, sifted, or more as needed
- 1 to 2 tablespoons fresh orangejuice, or as needed
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Spray an 8-inch round cake pan, springform pan, or bundt pan with baking spray with flour. If using one of the former pans, line the bottom with a round of parchment paper. (If using a bundt pan, spray it well so that the cake releases easily after baking.)
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the eggs and sugar at high speed for 30 seconds. Add the oil in a slow, steady stream, beating until combined. Add the milk, beating until combined. Reduce mixer speed to low. Beat in the orange liqueur, if using, the orange zest, and the vanilla and almond extracts.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Gradually add the flour mixture to the egg mixture, beating until combined, stopping to scrape the sides of the bowl. Pour the batter into the prepared pan.
Bake until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean, 30 to 33 minutes for the round cake pan or springform pan, and 50 to 60 minutes for a bundt pan. Let the cake cool in the pan for 10 minutes. Remove from the pan, and let it cool completely on a wire rack. Make the glaze, if using: Combine the powdered sugar and orange juice in a small bowl and whisk until the glaze is smooth and coats the back of a spoon. Place the cake on a serving plate and drizzle with the glaze.
Store at room temperature wrapped loosely in foil or plastic wrap.
Serves 8 — Recipe adapted from bakefromscratch.com
Rustic and moist, this Ligurian cake deserves a place in your olive oil baking repertoire. It will infuse your kitchen with the scents of late fall—apples, cinnamon, and nutmeg. No frosting is required, but we wouldn’t say no to a drizzle of warm honey or a scoop of premium vanilla ice cream.
- 2 large Gala apples, peeled and finely chopped
- Orange juice to soak apples in
- 3 cups all-purpose our
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 2 large eggs
- 2/3 cup golden raisins, soaked in warm water or apple cider for 15 minutes
- Confectioner’s sugar, for dusting
Preheat the oven to 350°F.
Place the chopped apples in a bowl and add orange juice—just enough juice to toss and coat apples to prevent browning.
In a large mixing bowl sift together the our, cinnamon, nutmeg, baking powder, and baking soda. Set aside.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk, add the sugar and extra virgin olive oil. Mix on low for 2 minutes until well-combined. While the mixer is on, add the eggs, one at a time, and continue to mix another 2 minutes until mixture increases in volume (it should be thicker but still runny).
In the large bowl with the dry ingredients, make a well in the middle of the our mixture. Add the wet mixture (the sugar and olive oil mixture) into the well. Using a wooden spoon, stir until just blended; it will be a thick batter (do not add anything to loosen it).
Drain the raisins (which have been soaking in warm water) completely; rid the apples of excess juice by blotting them with paper towels. Add both raisins and apples to the batter and mix with spoon until well-combined. Again, batter will be fairly thick.
Line a 9-inch round cake pan with parchment paper. Spoon the thick batter into the pan, and level the top with the back of a wooden spoon.
Bake for 45 minutes or until a toothpick or wooden skewer inserted in the center comes out clean.
Cool completely in the pan. When ready, simply lift parchment up to transfer the cake to a plate or cake stand. Dust with confectioner’s sugar before serving.
Serves 6 to 8 — Recipe adapted from themediterraneandish.com
Make a double batch of this moist bread, as it freezes well and is great for sharing with family and friends. If you’re a “from scratch” kind of person, you can make your own pumpkin purée from pie pumpkins.
- One 15-ounce can pumpkin purée (not pie filling)
- 4 large eggs
- 1 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 2/3 cup water
- 3 cups granulated sugar
- 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease and our three 7 x 3 loaf pans.
In a large bowl, mix together pumpkin puree, eggs, olive oil, water and sugar until well blended. In a separate bowl, whisk together the our, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and ginger. Stir the dry ingredients into the pumpkin mixture until just blended. Pour into the prepared pans.
Bake for about 50 minutes in the preheated oven. Loaves are done when toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.
Serves 24 — Recipe from allrecipes.com