March 20, 2013

Lemon Olive Oil Cake

Something clicked today, and I am so grateful it did. The last few weeks have been pretty rough on our family. Stressed, busy, painful, disappointing, frustrating... with one kid trying out new obnoxious personalities and another reverting to bed-wetting, (Clarification: it's not the bed-wetting I mind, it happens. But it gives him the most horrific rash, and I feel awful for him!) we haven't always been the most peaceful, happy, united family. We've tried, really really hard, but it's been a bit strained. I've been terrified. 4 years ago, after losing Autumn, I hit rock-bottom as a Mom, and ever since then, when I get cranky and easily frustrated, I am so afraid I could end up back there. Logically, I'm pretty sure I won't, but I can't help but fear the worst in me.

Today, somehow, I wasn't angry. I was frustrated, but I didn't snarl at anyone. I was exhausted, sore, sick, overwhelmed, and spent. But I liked my kids again. I let the little battles go. I thought before I spoke, and only raised my voice so Joe could hear me over his own screaming. I don't know how I did it, there was nothing different about today; if anything, it was the perfect excuse of a day to lose it. I could be so proud of myself, and think, "Well! That's the good Mom in me finally resurfacing!" and to a certain extent, I am! But I also know, somehow, that I had help. I didn't ask for it, I didn't even pray or read my scriptures today, yesterday... No one knew about this particular struggle and prayed for me (though I thank all of you for the prayers and good wishes for my wisdom teeth!! They're doing MUCH better!) and yet somehow, my Father knew I needed it. Just a little push to remind me that I can do this, that I do love it, and that I can add another hurt, lonely little soul to this family, and not fail her. He loves me, and her, and my family. And I am grateful.

I am also grateful for cake. :)

Lemon Olive Oil Cake (from Splash of Something)
Printable Recipe

¾ cup olive oil (I used extra-virgin for its fruitiness, but regular olive oil works, too.)
1 large lemon, zested and juiced
1 cup cake flour (not self-rising)
5 eggs, separated, reserving 1 white (you’ll only need 4 whites)
¾ cup plus 1 ½ tablespoons sugar

Put oven rack in middle position, and preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9-inch springform pan with oil, then line the bottom with a round of parchment. Oil parchment, too.

Whisk lemon zest together with flour. Reserve juice for later.

Beat together egg yolks and ½ cup sugar in a large bowl with an electric or standing mixer on high speed until the mixture is thick and pale, about 3 minutes. Reduce speed to medium, drizzle in olive oil (3/4 cup) and reserved lemon juice, and beat until just combined. Using a wooden spoon or spatula, stir in flour mixture (do not beat) until just combined.

Beat eggs whites (from 4 eggs) with ½ teaspoon salt in another bowl with clean beaters until foamy, then add ¼ cup sugar a little at a time while continuing to beat until eggs whites just hold soft peaks, about 3 minutes. Gently fold one-third of whites into yolk mixture to lighten, and then fold in remaining whites gently but thoroughly. (The batter should look like it has about doubled)

Transfer batter to springform pan, and gently tap against work surface a few times to release air bubbles. Sprinkle top evenly with remaining 1 ½ tablespoons sugar. Bake until puffed and golden and a wooden pick or skewer inserted in center of cake comes out clean, about 30-40 minutes. (Keep an eye on it after 25)

Cool cake in pan on a rack for 10 minutes, then run a knife around edges, and remove side of pan. Cool cake to room temperature (takes about an hour), then remove bottom of pan, and peel off parchment. Transfer cake to serving plate. Serve dusted with powdered sugar, or with berries and whipped cream, or plain. Your choice!
This is one of those recipes that I would call simple, yet technical. It isn't hard, nor does it take a long time, but you do need to be careful, and pay attention. That said, this is one of our family's new favorites! The boys asked for seconds, The Geologist said, "It's weird... but it's really good."
I think he meant the texture. This cake does not taste like olive oil, I promise. If no one told you there was olive oil in it, you would never know. The texture, on the other hand, is a change for these-here parts. We usually like our cakes moist as can be. This cake is closer to an angel food cake, really! Light as air, yet a bit dense, fluffy, but not at all dry!
It's our new favorite cake to have with fresh berries and homemade whipped cream, which is really our favorite dessert. We have it all the time during the summer! Shortcake, move over, there's a new favorite! (That's a lot of favorites) Speaking of favorites, Splash of Something (where I saw this recipe) is one of my favorite food blogs. My friend Katrina writes it, and she's fabulous. She's one of the people I want to be when I grow up. And she has the most adorable little girl I think I've ever seen!
Basically, it's downright delicious. Yes, I know you have to beat the eggs, separately, and fold things together. It's okay. You can do it. Be brave, and give this one a try! You might just love it. :)

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