There are two kinds of people in the world. Those who love sweets and those who crave salts/fats. I fall squarely into the fats/salts category. I will always choose french fries over a cupcake.  It might be a toss up if it’s a keylime pie, but I’m 80% of the time I’m grabbing the fries.

This means I’m not much of a baker. Because let’s face it, as much as I ADORE cooking for others, at the end of the day I want to enjoy what I make. So baking to me is pretty much limited to dumping the cake mix into the bowl and turning on the beaters. At least it’s something.

But in the spirit of becoming a well rounded cook and trying new things, I decided to dive into the world of baking. First of all, what a racket! Have you seen the baking goods aisle at Bed Bath and Beyond? Now, I don’t want to make broad generalizations, but some bakers must be SUPER gullible. Who the hell needs one of these:

Cupcakes for giants!

That’s right. You can bake a cupcake 25 times larger than a normal cupcake! Amaze all of your friends!  Is it a cake, or a cupcake? Only you know for sure! (If you own one of these, just ignore the above. Good for you! Bake me one for my birthday!)

The baking equipment aisle is a frightening place to a non baker. We will just leave it at that.

Anyway, the recipe that I’m getting around to discussing (stay with me, we’ll get there) called for a springform pan.  And parchment paper. Frankly, I figured that was overkill. As noted a few paragraphs ago (before the giant cupcake. Stop staring at it and drooling!) I’m not a baker, so buying two new kitchen items that will most likely gather dust seemed a tad wasteful.  I called my mother and my baking friend Jessica (go visit her blog, she is entertaining). The results were mixed. I decided to go with the pan, bust skip the paper.  This wasn’t logical, it that the pan was more expensive, but whatever. I could possibly use it again.  Where as the parchment paper will probably only come in handy if the CIA comes around looking for me to forge a copy of the Constitution.

This may have proven to be my undoing.

The recipe was for a Lemon and Olive Oil Cake, which I found over at Epicurious.com.

Here it is:

Lemon Olive-Oil Cake
3/4 cup olive oil (extra-virgin if desired), plus additional for greasing pan
1 large lemon
1 cup cake flour (not self-rising)
5 large eggs, separated, reserving 1 white for another use
3/4 cup plus 1 1/2 tablespoons sugar

Special equipment: a 9-inch (24-cm) springform pan; parchment paper

Put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 350°F. Grease springform pan with some oil, then line bottom with a round of parchment paper. Oil parchment.

Finely grate enough lemon zest to measure 1 1/2 teaspoons and whisk together with flour. Halve lemon, then squeeze and reserve 1 1/2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice.

Beat together yolks and 1/2 cup sugar in a large bowl with an electric mixer at high speed until thick and pale, about 3 minutes. Reduce speed to medium and add olive oil (3/4 cup) and reserved lemon juice, beating until just combined (mixture may appear separated). Using a wooden spoon, stir in flour mixture (do not beat) until just combined.

Beat egg whites (from 4 eggs) with 1/2 teaspoon salt in another large bowl with cleaned beaters at medium-high speed until foamy, then add 1/4 cup sugar a little at a time, beating, and continue to beat until egg whites just hold soft peaks, about 3 minutes.

Gently fold one third of whites into yolk mixture to lighten, then fold in remaining whites gently but thoroughly.

Transfer batter to springform pan and gently rap against work surface once or twice to release any air bubbles. Sprinkle top evenly with remaining 1 1/2 tablespoons sugar. Bake until puffed and golden and a wooden pick or skewer inserted in center of cake comes out clean, about 45 minutes. Cool cake in pan on a rack 10 minutes, then run a thin knife around edge of pan and remove side of pan. Cool cake to room temperature, about 1 1/4 hours. Remove bottom of pan and peel off parchment, then transfer cake to a serving plate.

It tastes great! I wouldn’t recommend it if you aren’t a fan of olive oil, as Duhhh, it tastes like olive oil.  I used extra virgin olive oil, so the taste was very strong.  It also isn’t that sweet, although I’m sure if you wanted to sweeten it up you could add a sugar glaze as it isn’t iced.

While it tasted great, it looked like shit:

Woopsies!

No, it wasn’t mauled by a pack of hungry wolves, it stuck to the top of the pan. I guess I should have sprung for the parchment paper.  I wasn’t trying to win any beauty contests, so I just ignored it.

The verdict? I’ll make it again and invest in the parchment paper.

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