There are flavors that are part of me, of my roots, my memories, my life. Flavors that reflect who I am, what I love, and where I want to be. Flavors that take me back in time, to beautiful familiar places, surrounded by intimate faces, contagious laughs, placid settings. My family has an olive tree grove up on a marvelous hill not far from Rome, enclosed by foothills and serene small towns towering over top. It was my grandfather’s and now it’s ours, our pride and joy, and a source of an excellent first cold pressed extra virgin olive oil, not much, but enough for the family. My grandfather is still alive, he is 95 and other than being a little deaf on one ear and blind on one eye he is doing pretty good for his age. Until last november my grandma was still with us, too, she was 97 when she passed away, leaving a hole in our lives that we’re trying to fill with all the enormous remembrances. I feel so very lucky to have had all those years with them. What a blessing.
When my grandpa was feeling that old age was getting on him, he divided that piece of land with the olive trees among his sons and daughters for them to take care of. I have so many great memories of picking olives all together on a beautiful sunny fall day (usually at the end of november, beginning of december): joyful voices scattered all around, the sound of the olives falling on the covered ground or in baskets, my father climbing to the top of the trees to shake the branches and my mother yelling at him to be careful. And at lunch time we would take a break and have a nice picnic under the olive trees, our appetite voracious from the hard work. The sky deep blue, the sun warm on our faces, so precious. I am a city girl but even a city girl likes a little time in the country 🙂 .
This brings me to the cake I am baking today, a cake where the olive oil is the main character, in flavor, texture and scent. An amazing cake, moist and fluffy, with juicy cherries that burst in your mouth when you bite into them, and almond meal that gives the mild nuttiness and sweetness. Such a perfect cake, this Cherry Almond and Olive Oil Cake, such a revelation. My mother used to tell us stories that when she was little, during the war, she would fill her hungry belly with cherries, still her favorite fruit. She would love this cake.
It is also a gorgeous cake to look at, gorgeous in a modest, humble way, possessing the rustic beauty that you find in the countryside, just a dab of powder, a touch of cherry rouge.
Try it, you will be amazed at the intriguing flavor of this Cherry, Almond and Olive Oil Cake, where all the qualities of the ingredients harmonize in a superb, unbellished pastry.
Today’s song, an italian classic : “Volare“ by Domenico Modugno. Nel blu, dipinto di blu…
The recipe is adapted from Food 52’s Grape, Almond and Olive Oil Cake.Print
- 1 cup Greek yogurt
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 3 eggs
- 1 lemon (zest and juice)
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1 and 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 3/4 cup almond meal
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup pitted halved cherries
- olive oil spray for the bottom and sides of pan
- icing sugar for the topping
- Preheat the oven to 350° F.
- In a large bowl, whisk by hand the yogurt, olive oil, eggs, lemon zest and lemon juice until well blended (this could also be done in a blender or stand in mixer).
- Add the sugar, flour, almond meal, baking powder and salt. Mix well.
- Spray a 9″ pan with olive oil. Press lightly the cherry halves decoratively into the batter, cut-side down.
- Bake for 35 minutes or until a wood skewer comes out clean.
- Let cool on a rack.
- Sprinkle with icing sugar.
P.s. It is already september…can you believe that? Where did the summer go?? Well, while you’re reading this we’ve just landed in Italy for our most deserved holidays. We won’t abandon you, though, our posts will come out as usual…I told you we cooked up a storm before leaving… 😉 . Check also our Instagram page @sugarlovespices once in a while to see what we’re posting from my beautiful Country!
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