Simple to make, not too sinful: Mixed Berries Olive Oil Cake

by Marion on November 29, 2017

Mixed fresh berries and olive oil keep this cake deliciously light—for weekend guests or a treat for yourself. Recipe below.

Mixed Berries Olive Oil Cake

Our Thanksgiving desserts, as ever, ranged from the delicious reliables (pumpkin pie!) to the wild and crazy throwbacks (tiny chocolate bottles filled with liqueur!) to the outrageous (chocolate tres leches cake!). But when the guests had gone, and the last loads of bedsheets and dishes were stacked and put away, and the idiot cats had emerged from their hiding places blinking into the light, I found myself wanting something easy, something simple and sweet—and something I could knock together in a few minutes, without having to go to the store or particularly think.

This cake does all that, and it is just nice. You put it together using two bowls and one pan, a big plus after the dishwashing fest that is Thanksgiving dinner. The orange zest adds a subtle delicacy to the batter. And it’s another one of our flexible wonders—this is a mix of blackberries and raspberries, but you can go with all of either, or strawberries, blueberries or even peaches or nectarines—many soft fruits will do. In this busy holiday season, it’s a nice thing to have around for weekend guests, for holiday mornings or just to treat yourself without committing a monstrous dietary crime.

Mixed Berries Olive Oil Cake
Makes 10 – 12 servings

3  to 3-1/2 cups berries (mixed blackberries and raspberries)
2-1/4 cup and 1 tablespoon white flour, plus more for the pan
3 large eggs
4 tablespoons plus 1 cup white sugar
3/4 cup olive oil
2-1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 to 3 teaspoons orange zest
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup buttermilk
a little butter

Special equipment: a 9” springform pan

Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Prepare the pan: rub the bottom and sides with butter. Line the bottom with a circle of parchment or waxed paper and then butter that. Dust the bottom and sides with flour, and knock out the excess. Set the pan aside.

Put the berries in a large bowl, toss gently with the 1 tablespoon of flour, then place them uniformly in the springform pan.

Using the same bowl, thoroughly mix together the eggs and the 1 cup of sugar—I recommend a fairly sturdy whisk. Add the olive oil, then the vanilla and orange zest, and whisk again. Set the bowl aside for a moment.

In a medium bowl, sift 2-1/4 cups of white flour (sift, then measure). Then sift in the baking powder, baking soda and the salt.

Working quickly, add a third of the flour to the oil mixture and stir. Add half the buttermilk and stir again. Continue alternating adding the flour and buttermilk until everything is incorporated.

Next, sprinkle the final 4 tablespoons of sugar onto the berries in the springform pan and gently stir. Then pour the batter over the berries, all at once—it will pour in a thick golden ribbon. Smooth the top and put the pan in the middle of the hot oven.

Bake for about an hour, until the cake is golden and a tester inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool the cake on a rack for about 15 minutes. Then run a thin knife blade around the periphery, unlock the spring and take off the pan sides. Slice off the domed top (save the sliced off part to make cake crumbs for other projects or do like me—eat it on the spot). Then flip the cake onto a plate, remove the pan bottom and (working gently) the paper, and let it cool completely. Serve.

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{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

John/Kitchen Riffs November 29, 2017 at 8:31 am

I haven’t had those tiny chocolate bottles in years! They’re fun. :-) As is this cake — olive oil makes such a great cake ingredient, doesn’t it? This looks inspired — thanks!

Susie November 29, 2017 at 5:28 pm

Ooh, this looks delish!

Terry B November 29, 2017 at 8:29 pm

John, we haven’t had the chocolate bottles in years either. But at a recent dinner party, the host brought some out, having only just discovered them. When we told Marion’s sister Lena, she found some to bring to Thanksgiving dinner.

Susie, not being the baker of this, I can freely say it truly is delicious.

Dani H November 29, 2017 at 8:41 pm

I love a good olive oil cake and the citrus is the perfect addition. The berries turn a classic cake into a classy and divine dessert. I can’t wait to try this, Marion!

Thanks so much for the recipe.
(Hi, Terry!)

Marion November 29, 2017 at 11:35 pm

Dani, you will love this one. It is so satisfying and so easy.

The chocolate bottles never fail to crack me up, and my sister brought an enormous box of them, pretty much a pirate’s treasure chest. It seemed people were always eating them, all weekend, yet plenty still remain. I’m thinking of taking the rest to my office and setting them free in the coffee room, if only for the hilarity factor.

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