Sweet Olive Oil, Cherry, and Almond Cake/ Torta di ciliegie e mandorle

While this cake is definitely not diet material, I decided to include it in this chapter for two reasons. First, it shows olive oil’s versatility, and how delicious it can be in desserts. Second, with the combination of oil, almonds, and fruit, this dessert is actually quite nutritious—and when eaten sparingly can fit into a healthful eating plan. Serve with Vin Santo

¼ cup (60 ml) extra-virgin olive oil,
plus extra
1½ cups (188 g) unbleached all-
purpose flour, or all-purpose gluten-
free baking mix, or almond flour,
plus extra
½ cup (55 g) sliced almonds
2 eggs, separated
2 ⁄ 3 cup (160 ml) freshly squeezed
orange juice
2 teaspoons grated orange zest
1 cup (200 g) sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 teaspoon almond extract
1 teaspoon orange blossom water
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon unrefined sea salt or salt
2 ⁄ 3 cup (64 g) almond flour (or finely
ground almonds)
1 cup (155 g) pitted cherries
2 tablespoons (16 g) powdered
sugar, to serve
Yield: 9 servings

Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C). Oil and flour a 9-inch (23 cm)
springform pan. Line with a 9-inch (23 cm) round of parchment paper.
Brush the parchment paper with olive oil and sprinkle with sliced almonds.
In the bowl of a standing mixer or in a large metal bowl using a hand
mixer, beat the egg whites until stiff peaks form.
Combine the orange juice, orange zest, ¼ cup (60 ml) olive oil, egg
yolks, sugar, vanilla and almond extracts, and orange blossom water in a
medium bowl.
In a large bowl, sift together the ½ cup (188 g) flour, baking powder,
salt, and ground almonds. Mix in the orange juice mixture and fold in the
cherries.
Pour into the baking pan and smooth out the top with a spatula. Bake
until a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean and the cake
begins to pull away from the sides of the pan, 40 to 45 minutes.
Cool completely. Invert onto a platter, release sides. Remove the
parchment paper, sprinkle with powdered sugar, and serve.

Mediterranean Tradition
Seasonal fruit cakes are the cornerstone of every traditional home
cook’s dessert repertoire in the region. The cherries and almonds
could be substituted with figs and walnuts, or blueberries and pecans,
depending on the season.

Desserts

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