A Charming and Brilliant Dessert

OliveOilCake4Exploring what dishes to cook for a meal is always a creative adventure – things can change in the moment, and flavors can complement or even contradict. Yet dessert must be the perfect closing statement – an epilogue of taste and substance that won’t overwhelm…in other words, it can be a challenge. I was invited to make dessert for a dinner party that would have an Indian curry as the main dish, promising spicy and robust flavors. It was mentioned that the hostess has an affection for Mediterranean, so I went with an Olive-Oil Orange Cake with Candied Orange Slices.
OliveOilFor those of you cringing at the thought of baking with olive oil, consider this: olive oil has been used in baking for centuries, serving as the main culinary oil for nations bordering the Mediterranean Sea. It does have a very pronounced taste, which is often why we stick with canola or vegetable oils. Its flavor is also compromised when exposed to higher heat (like deep frying – bad idea). Yet when it comes to baked goods, not only does olive oil impart a lighter texture than other oils, but its possession of Vitamin E helps to maintain a cake’s moist texture and freshness – it’s a win-win situation! This website has substitution suggestions in case you’re dying to try it in one of your favorite cakes…
OliveOilCake1BUT before you go on an olive oil baking frenzy, take note: olive oil is best used in batters that can complement its fruity taste – citrus is a perfect example. Almond can also work, being a lighter and sweeter nut. While it may seem like it is, this cake is not too sweet. Its heavenly texture and subtle taste will have even the staunchest of dessert-a-phobes cleaning their plates. Click HERE to see the recipe for this showstopper!
OliveOilCake2As I mentioned, this is not an overwhelming cake – it’s quite charming, and can win over just about anyone. This “lightness” of character was reminiscent of opera buffa (comic opera). One of the most famous and beloved examples is Rossini’s The Barber of Seville – a two act opera buffa that has stood the test of time, and is arguably one of the most popular opera works of all time. Our protagonist is Figaro – a renaissance man who is both charming and ingenious. His “bright” personality is the perfect companion to this lovely dessert – the recording below is the Overture with the Simon Bolivar Youth Orchestra, conducted by Gustavo Dudamel – enjoy!

Sources Cited:
“Baking With Olive Oil Instead of Butter,” The Passionate Olive
“The Barber of Seville,” Wikipedia.com

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