Olive Oil Semolina Cake + Giveaway

>>  Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Jet lag is rough.

I just came back from a ten day trip to Asia. For those of you who have ever experienced a 12-hour time change, you know that it totally knocks you out. I get random spells of grogginess in the afternoon; I wake up super early; and I get exhausted really, really early in the morning.

Heading back to Japan reminded me that it had been close to a year since I had last gone.

A year since I had purchased all these fun little baking supplies from my favorite kitchen supply shopping area in Japan (as well as from the countless department stores!)

And I had hardly used any of them . . .

So one late night as I was talking to my mom on the phone, I whipped out my baking supplies and attempted to make something I've been meaning to try for some time now.

As a part of the Tastemaker's program at Foodbuzz, I sometimes get the opportunity to try out new products. We usually get an email describing various products to try.  Typically, I don't opt in to try products unless if I think I'll like the product or I find it interesting.

When I found out they were offering to let us try an Oxo eggbeater, I sort of scratched my head wondering, "what use do I have for an eggbeater?" I usually beat eggs with a fork and I'm pretty content doing that.

Ever since I've received the eggbeater, however, I've been surprised at how versatile this little tool can be! It's sort of like a hand-turned mixer. Because my electric mixer is usually stored away in a box, I've found that I'm often too lazy to take it out. However, this little guy is so convenient because he sits in my top drawer in the kitchen. I've found myself using him to emulsify salad dressing, mix wet ingredients, and combine dry ingredients while baking. I haven't even properly beaten an egg, yet I've used this beater so many times already for other things.

Oxo was kind enough to send along lots of other useful baking tools. I love the measuring cup shown above, which shows the measurements both from the side and the top. No more kneeling down to look at the meniscus!

I also love this Good Grips "batter bowl", which comes with a pouring spout. Ingenious!
At the same time, I had an opportunity to try some olive oils from California Olive Ranch. I first fell in love with California Olive Ranch when I tried their Olio Nuovo at an olive oil tasting at the Foodbuzz Festival.

I decided I wanted to make something that would really make the fruity aromas of the extra virgin olive oil sing.

I then remembered some amazing semolina cake I had tried awhile back at Russell House Tavern and also some rich olive oil cake I had sampled at the S. Pellegrino Almost Famous Chef Competition in Napa Valley. The wheels started cranking in my head . . . .

Viola! I baked an olive oil semolina cake based on a recipe I had found on Tasting Table. This cake is incredibly moist, thanks to the generous amounts of olive oil used in the recipe!  I did reduce the sugar amount by 1/3, as I typically find Western desserts to be too sweet. I thought the reduced sugar level tasted fine, but it would probably still taste OK with the original amount.

The fruity aromas of the olive oil flavor definitely stands out, and would pair perfectly with something a bit tart and sweet - maybe a citrus reduction or a fruit glaze?

The folks at California Olive Ranch have generously offered to give one Tiny Urban Kitchen reader 2 different bottles of California Olive Ranch olive oil as well as a copy of the cookbook Fresh: Eating Healthy Never Tasted So Good by Boston chef Tony Polito.

To enter, please comment below telling me your favorite way to enjoy olive oil! One entry per person. US addresses only. The Giveaway will close this Friday, October 21st.  Good Luck!

And here's the recipe!

Olive Oil Semolina Cake Recipe
adapted from Marisa Croce via Tasting Table with Jen's notes in italics
Makes 24 servings (I cut the recipe down by 1/4, which worked fine)

• 3 cups high-quality extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for greasing
• 3 cups all-purpose flour
• 1 cup semolina flour
• 3 cups sugar (I reduced it down to 2 cups)
• 1 teaspoon baking soda
• 1 teaspoon baking powder
• 1 teaspoon salt
• 6 large eggs
• 3 cups milk

1. Preheat the oven to 350°. Lightly grease 24 nonstick individual-size loaf pans with olive oil. Note - I just used a muffin pan and also a few small heart shaped springform pans I had around the house.

2. In a large bowl, whisk together all the dry ingredients and set aside. In a separate bowl, gently whisk together the olive oil, eggs and milk, then add to the dry ingredients and mix just until incorporated. Note - I used the Oxo eggbeater, which worked surprisingly well!

3. Divide the batter among the pans, leaving plenty of room for the cake to expand. Bake the cakes, rotating halfway through baking time, until the tops are golden brown and a knife inserted into the center comes out clean. about 12 to 15 minutes. Note - my Hello Kitty "muffins" were finished in about 12-15 minutes. However, the springform pans took a lot longer (around 25 minutes) since the loafs were much bigger. Definitely watch to see it becoming golden brown and do the knife test!

4. Serve warm or at room temperature - Enjoy!

I received the Oxo products for free as part of Foodbuzz's Tastemaker Program. I received the olive oil for free from the California Olive Ranch Company.

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you can contact me at: jen[at]tinyurbankitchen[dot]com
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