Olive Oil Semolina Cake + Giveaway

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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  1. Robin says

    I am participating in a CSA this season for the first time ever, and I am getting the opportunity to enjoy lots of new vegetables that I have never before cooked with! However, being a student means that I don’t have tons of time to look up and make complex recipes… so my fallback has become oven roasting vegetables, by drizzling them with olive oil and tossing in some salt and pepper.

  2. Kwan says

    My favorite way to use olive oil is to drizzle it over fresh, in season tomatoes, basil and fresh mozzarella and a little salt. Yum!!

  3. Lillie Ameliarose says

    I’ve never encountered a use of olive oil I didn’t like!  But, I think really good bread with olive oil (perhaps with some herbs infused) is always good.

  4. says

    ooh, i have been meaning to try a cake like this!  sounds wonderful :)  actually i think i would try olive oil ice cream first!  and i need a bowl with a pour spout…  so useful.

  5. Lisa says

    I just plain love olive oil. I mostly use it for bread dough or salad, but occasionally I’ll get all fancy and use it for plating or garnishing a soup.

  6. Laurie Z. says

    My favorite way to enjoy olive oil is on a plate with lots of freshly cracked pepper with a warm, freshly-baked loaf of bread for dipping. Delicious!

  7. Shani Gentry Cincotti says

    This is hardly original, but my favorite way to enjoy olive oil is on a plate, with good bread to dip, plus a little freshly ground pepper. 

  8. says

    i love roasting garlic in olive oil and also infusing olive oil WITH roasted garlic! olive oil cake (i’m thinking of abraco’s in particular) is really delicious when paired with coffee!

  9. Nororu says

    I use olive oil and make a pesto with dried herbs and spices.  I add it on green salads or fresh made pasta with veggies.  Sometimes I make Spanish ‘Tapas’ for breakfast, using toasted olive bread, scrambled eggs and cherry tomatoes (cut in half and mix with the pesto) on top! Delicious! 😀

  10. Funandfearlessinbeantown says

    What a great giveaway!  I love olive oil with Parmesan cheese, crushed red pepper flakes, and fresh ground pepper.  You can toss it with pasta or just dip some crusty bread in it!

  11. s.patel says

    i love to use my good olive oil on simple things, so i can really appreciate the taste–especially a little drizzle over some fresh sliced tomatoes!

  12. Val Shelly says

    It’s perfect drizzled over homemade roasted red pepper hummus. I also use it to crisp up my brussels sprouts so my husband will eat them!

  13. Tdixon99 says

    my favorite way to enjoy olive oil is tossed with fresh root vegetables and roasted in the oven. the sweetness of the vegetables combined with the olive oil (and cracked salt and cracked black pepper) creates one of the most beautiful and satisfying dishes I’ve ever had. It never fails to bliss me out!

  14. Ben Roberts says

    I’m Italian, so there really isn’t any bad way of using Olive Oil. I love the flavor it gives to savory breads with a bit of fruit or nuts folded into the loaf. My go to though, of course, with Fresh Tomatoes, Mozzerella, and Basil.

  15. says

    I love good olive oil and I think it can be best appreciated as a finishing oil, on salads, etc.  I also love roasting veggies with it and making other goodies because it’s not as processed as other oils.

  16. Michael Hsieh says

    I love pasta simply drizzled with olive oil, salt, fresh ground black pepper, and some garlic. Simple yet delicious!

  17. says

    Those Hello Kitty cakes are so cute!
    My favorite way to enjoy olive oil is drizzled on salads as dressing, with either just fresh lemon juice or a good balsamic vinegar. And lots of salt and pepper!

  18. Lindie says

    Recently, my favorite way to enjoy olive oil has been cooking with wild mushroom and sage-infused EVOO.  Great sauteed with garlic or eaten with bread!

  19. Richard says

    Roasted red peppers from our garden with anchovies, capers, pepper and a good drizzle of olive oil. Each time I purchase a new bottle, I always take a small sip or shot to get the full flavor of the oil.

  20. Milt Yang says

    I like to enjoy the flavors of a great olive oil by just dipping a crusty bread and sprinkling some sea salt on top.

  21. Jojanew says

    But this is impossible!  I use olive oil for everything! Including a hand and facial moisturizer, and occasionally on my hair.  Oh you mean to eat, dont you?
    Start with pesto, my favorite food in the whole world, and move on to scrambled eggs, fire roasted veggies, and the whole process of re=seasoning my cast iron and caphalon!

  22. Kari G. says

    Rarely is a meal prepared without olive oil at our house….even my new pumpkin bread recipe uses olive oil rather than butter :)

  23. feedthebf says

    I’ve seen many olive oil cakes – but I’ve never actually had or made one myself!  I love how cute the Hello Kitty ones turned out! 

    I think I use olive oil most to make flavored oils for dipping breads =)

  24. Carmen says

    I don’t know that I’ve ever used olive oil for baking something sweet – I might have to try this. I use it all the time for cooking – stir fry, pan-frying, etc. I love it!

  25. says

    Ever since visiting Italy I’ve learned to appreciate good olive oil, great just to dip bread in, to drizzle on top of pizza or a pasta dish at the end, it adds a lot of flavor!

  26. aaa says

    Great blog you’ve got here.. It’s difficult to find good quality
    writing like yours these days. I honestly appreciate
    individuals like you! Take care!!

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