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This is a cake for the springtime. Make it when you’ve had your fill of spice cakes and before the strawberries are ready for shortcake. It comes together quickly, doesn’t require a mixer, and perfumes your kitchen in that way only homemade baked goods can do. The flavor is subtly of lemon and not as subtly of peppery ginger. Serve it for dessert or with coffee and delight as it stays moist and delicious for days.

If you can get a blood orange or a few honey tangerines, use them in place of lemon for a fun change. Even a pink grapefruit will do nicely; use only half the juice if you have one of the softball size Ruby Reds. You can punch up the ginger flavor by adding 1 tsp. dried ginger with your dry ingredients, but I like this amount just fine.

This simple olive oil cake is your solution when you need a lightly sweet bite but don’t care to fuss around with fancy ingredients, dozens of bowls, piles of dishes. There’s no need to chop or separate eggs or wait for butter to soften. You can serve it with whipped cream or berries… but plain works, too. Make an olive oil cake, then entertain your guests or get out into the garden or take a walk in the evening sun. Now, doesn’t that sound nice?

Olive oil cake with candied ginger.

Olive Oil Cake with Candied Ginger

  • 1 c. plain Greek yogurt (I use Fage 2% or 0)
  • 1/2 c. extra virgin olive oil*
  • 3 large eggs
  • zest and juice of 1 lemon
  • 1/2 c. sugar
  • 1 1/4 c. flour
  • 3/4 c. almond meal
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
  • 2 oz. (about 1/4 c.) candied (crystallized) ginger, diced

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Use a bit of extra olive oil to grease a 9.5″ fluted tart pan with a removable bottom, sometimes called a quiche pan.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk the yogurt and olive oil together; whisk in the eggs one at a time. Mix in the lemon juice and zest, then the sugar.

Sift together the flour, almond meal, baking powder and salt. Stir dry ingredients into the olive oil mixture. The batter will be similar to a waffle batter, thick but easy to stir. Turn the batter into your greased tart pan and use a spatula to spread it evenly to all sides.

Sprinkle the ginger pieces over the top and use your spatula to gently press them into the batter. (You can mix them in… but I like the effect of seeing the ginger pieces on top.) Bake for 15-20 mins., until a knife point comes out clean when inserted into the center of the cake. This cake does not brown much, and if you wait for it to brown, you’re likely to dry it out. Serve warm or at room temperature. Few say no to a little vanilla ice cream on the plate with their slice.

*Save your fancy finishing oils and reach for whichever olive oil you use in the pan when you cook dinner. I use a basic Greek olive oil that is mild in flavor, not too bitter, but fairly substantial.