The Next Best Thing

Last night I went to see Quentin Tarantino’s Inglourious Basterds, which was great on so many levels. (I won’t get hot and heavy into the film’s cinematic merits, I’ll leave that to the experts).

However, there’s one scene that’s worth a mention. It depicted a loathsome Nazi colonel gluttonously devouring a piece of strudel – apple, I think. Tarantino voyeuristically captured the colonel attacking the crème-topped pastry with his fork. Each time he drove his fork through the strudel, it splintered and flaked, providing perfect crevices for the crème to pool.

I left the theatre overcome by two thoughts: First, Tarantino is a genius. And second, I want strudel. Trouble was, I didn’t have a recipe for strudel and didn’t feel like hunting for one. And even if I did stumble upon a recipe, I had neither apples nor cherries, which are my fruit fillings of choice.

So, I did the next best thing: Citrus Olive Oil Cake. Now, I realize that COO cake doesn’t even remotely resemble strudel in flavour, consistency or appearance. But I really felt like baking, and that’s the recipe and ingredients I had on hand. Plus, my mother has been campaigning for an oil, rather than butter-based cake for weeks, so I thought it was a good time to fulfill her request.

The prep and baking time was short, and the recipe was simple. Olive oil, lemon and orange zest played a starring role, giving the cake rich aroma and citrusy flavour. The cake was moist and fluffy, and the coarsely chopped almonds gave it great texture. This recipe is definitely a keeper! Next time, I think I’ll serve it with mascarpone, as called for by the recipe, which appeared in the September issue of Veranda.

Citrus Olive Oil Cake

  • 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons orange zest (I used zest from one whole orange)
  • 2 teaspoons lemon zest (I used zest from one whole lemon)
  • ¼ cup whole milk
  • ¾ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2/3 cup almonds, coarsely chopped
  • Powdered sugar for garnish
  • 1 cup mascarpone, if desired, for serving. 
  1. Heat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Lightly oil an 8”-diameter cake pan
  3. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder and salt.
  4. In large bowl, using electric mixer, beat sugar, eggs and orange and lemon zest together until mixture is pale and fluffy.
  5. Beat in milk. Gradually beat in olive oil. Add flour mixture and stir just until blended. Stir in almonds.
  6. Pour batter into cake pan. Bake until tester inserted in center of cake comes out with moise crumbs attached, about 35 minutes.
  7. Transfer cake pan to rack and cool 15 minutes. Remove cake from pan and place on serving dish, top side up. Sift powdered sugar over top. Serve with dollop of mascarpone, if desired.
Moist and delicious!

Moist and delicious!

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3 thoughts on “The Next Best Thing

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