Filled with protein, fresh fruit, and bright flavors, this olive oil cake won't put you into a food coma.
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Smothered in rich, fluffy frosting and filled with enough sugar to make your dentist cringe, cake often feels too luxurious to eat outside of birthdays, weddings, and anniversary parties. Think about it: When was the last time you polished off a slice of red velvet on a Monday at 3 p.m.?

But this olive oil cake from Joanne Chang, author of Pastry Love (Buy It, $22, amazon.com), is designed to be snacked on at any time of day. Topped with fresh grapes and infused with lemon juice, the olive oil cake is light, airy, and full of bright flavors, so you won't need to lie down for a nap after inhaling a slice. Plus, this recipe nixes the standard canola oil in favor of fruity olive oil, which — when used in place of other oils — is linked with a lower risk of heart disease, stroke, and heart attack, according to the U.S. National Library of Medicine. And to keep you full long after you've wolfed down your piece, the olive oil cake subs some of the all-purpose flour for almond flour, which contains 6 grams of protein per 1/4 cup, according to the United States Department of Agriculture. (Related: 8 New Types of Flour — and How to Bake with Them)

Stomach rumbling yet? Whip up a sheet of Chang's olive oil cake stat, and if you want to amp up the nutrition factor, try out some of her healthy baking hacks too.

Pastry Love: A Baker's Journal of Favorite Recipes
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Olive Oil Cake With Fresh Grapes

Olive Oil Cake With Fresh Grapes
Credit: Caitlin Bensel

Makes: One 9-inch cake

Serves: 8 to 10

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup plain whole milk Greek yogurt
  • 3/4 cup olive oil
  • 3/4 cup superfine sugar
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 2 large egg yolks, room temperature
  • 1 tablespoon grated lemon zest (about 1 large lemon)
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (about 1/2 large lemon)
  • 1/4 teaspoon pure almond extract
  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup almond flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 cup seedless green grapes (about 5 ounces)
  • 2 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar, for garnish

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 325°F, and place a rack in the center. Line the bottom of a 9-inch cake pan with a parchment circle, and set it aside.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the yogurt, oil, superfine sugar, whole eggs, egg yolks, lemon zest, lemon juice, and almond extract.
  3. In a large bowl, whisk together the all-purpose flour, almond flour, baking powder, and salt. Pour the yogurt mixture into the flour mixture, and fold them together until fully combined.
  4. Scrape the batter into the prepared cake pan. Slice the grapes in half, and arrange them cut side up in concentric circles on top of the batter.
  5. Bake for 1 hour 10 minutes to 1 hour 20 minutes, rotating the cake pan halfway through, until the cake springs back when you press it in the middle and a cake tester inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean. Remove from the oven, and let cool completely in the pan on a wire rack.
  6. When cool, carefully invert the cake onto a flat plate, and lift off the pan; peel off the parchment. Place a serving plate on top of the cake, and turn it right side up so the grapes are on top.
  7. Using a fine-mesh sieve, dust the cake evenly with the confectioners’ sugar to finish. (Leftover cake can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 days.)

Recipe excerpted from Pastry Love: A Baker’s Journal of Favorite Recipes © 2019 by Joanne Chang. Reproduced by permission of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. All rights reserved.

Shape Magazine, March 2021 issue