It is no mystery that Italians have a special fondness for extra-virgin olive oil. And what a healthy preference that is! Not only extra-virgin olive oil is carb and cholesterol free, it is packed with antioxidants and it’s an excellent anti inflammatory. And if this wasn’t enough, it tastes like the nectar of the Gods. So it is no surprise that this luscious, emerald green elixir turns up in most mediterranean cooking preparations, even cakes. Substituting butter with oil is not only a healthier choice, it will turn your batter into a fluffy, moist, irresistible cake, ready to be enriched with all the goodies you prefer. My choice today fell on juicy oranges, nutty almonds (to lower the gluten content) and the oozy tartness of blueberries. I feel good already!
PS Ok, this cake is not entirely healthy…it does contain sugar, but, hey, we only live once!
INGREDIENTS serves 12
1 cup of brown sugar
1/2 cup of thick yogurt
1/2 cup of extra-virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract or paste (or the seeds of 1 vanilla bean)
juice and finely grated zest of 1 orange
100 gr (1 cup) ground almonds
1-1/2 cup self raising flour (replace with gluten-free self raising flour if liked)
1 cup of frozen bluberries
1-2 handfuls of almond slivers
1. Preheat your oven to 180 C (355 F) and line a square or rectangular cake tin with baking paper
2. Beat eggs with sugar with a whisk or an electric mixer until fluffy. Add oil and yogurt and mix well. Add vanilla, cinnamon, orange zest and juice and combine.
3. Mix in the ground almonds and the flour until a sticky batter is created, then mix the blueberries through.
4. Pour the mix into the cake tin, top with the slivered almonds and bake for 30-35 minutes or until cooked through and pale golden. To check if the cake is cooked through, insert a wooden skewer in the middle. If it comes out clean , the cake is cooked. If there is uncooked batter sticking to it, leave to cook for another 5 minutes.
5. Serve warm or at room temperature
Silvia’s Cucina the cookbook is available in stores and online