this cake was decided upon for a few reasons. but mainly it was the result of a "compromise". you see, the 13 year old, wanted chocolate. as in cake. or brownies. or perhaps a carrot cake. with cream cheese icing. and well, i didn’t. i wanted to make a galette. something rustic and simple with maybe some of the beautiful nectarines i’ve been seeing around. but she, the 13 year old, was so not interested. she was all like, "no thanks". so i seized the moment, approaching it as a learning opportunity and explained to her that seasonal mattered to me and that we could compromise. and when she looked at me quizically, i explained that a compromise basically would mean that neither one of us would get what we wanted… and she was all like "whatever", and went to watch the 12th season of the simpsons, now available on dvd.
and then while flipping through a few books i saw this. and it felt right. a perfect summer into fall cake. the tail end of the almost never ending zucchini, the brightness of lemon, along with the depth of toasted walnuts, cinnamon, ginger and clove – and olive oil – the clincher. i’m a big fan of cakes made with olive oil. the concept unleashes my inner italian-ness.
so i got right to it. and after the batter was prepared i called the 13 year old into the kitchen to lick the paddle, warning her it wouldn’t be your typical cakey/buttery/smooth batter – and she gave me the thumbs up. a good sign. but then i found myself looking down at the bowl and thinking, "there’s no way that this cake is going to set up", because the mixture appeared oddly thin. and yet through the nagic of HEAT, somehow after 45 minutes or so in the convection oven – suddenly i had perfection. and it was exactly as it should have been. and believe me when i tell you that no one is ever more surprised than i am when the cake turns out smashing… because the whole baking process ‘thing’ is always questionable around here. i’m not much of a baker, but i often bake very good things. and you know why? BECAUSE I CAREFULLY FOLLOW THE RECIPE. i know. imagine that…
but we’re talking bundt cake. and the glaze was nothing more than fresh lemon squeezed into sugar and whisked with a fork. so sure, this was easy as can be. but the final result was truly great. and the undeniable reason is merely the list of ingredients… thanks gina…
zucchini olive oil cake with lemon crunch glaze
1 cup walnut pieces
2 cups unbleached all purpose flour
1 teasppon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon kosher salt
2 teasppons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon grated nutmeg
3 large eggs
1 3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 cup GOOD extra virgin olive oil (i’m liking the ‘murray’s cheese’ oil a lot these days)
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups grated zucchini (about 2 medium zucchini)
for the glaze
1/4 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 cup confectioners sugar
preheat oven to 350 and position rack in the center.grease a bundt pan and then flour and tap out excess. you can also use that bakers spray that i always forget to buy.
place walnuts in a single layer and toast until golden brown and aromatic, 12-14 minutes. cool completely and finely chop in the food processor and set aside.
sift the flour baking soda, baking powder and salt and spices into a medium bowl. in an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment (have you seen these?), beat the eggs, sugar and olive oil until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes, then beat in the vanilla. scrape down the sides of the bowl after each addition (unless you have one of these). beat in the dry ingredients all at once until thoroughly combined, then switch to medium and beat 30 seconds. beat in the zucchini and walnuts on low speed until completely incorporated.
pour the batter into the pan and bake for 45 to 50 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through the baking time to ensure even browning. the cake is done when a tester inserted into the center comes out clean and the sides have begun to pull away from the pan.
when the cake is baking, prepare the glaze: in a medium bowl whisk together the lemon juice and granualted sugar, then whisk in the confectioner’s sugar until the glaze is completely smooth.
allow the cake to cool in the oan for 10 minutes then carefully invert onto a wire rack. using a pastry brush, immediately brush the glaze over the entire surface of the warm cake, using all of the glaze. it will adhere to the cake and set as the cake cools. allow the cake to cool completely and the glaze to dry completely.
transfer the cake to a stand or serving plate and if desired lightly dust with confectioners’ sugar. any leftover cake may be wrapped in plastic and served the following day.
oh and hey, i garnished with some chopped up basil. i had some and well, i must tell you that the addition of fresh herbs to olive oil cakes? a natural…