As may be obvious to you from the title, an olive oil cake is a delightfully moist cake. This recipe came from a Mediterranean cook book we have had for a number of years. But I was also delighted to find Sue Quinn has the recipe on a website she runs. This is the recipe book that contains amongst other delicious recipes the cake I am sharing with you today.
Although there is no doubt that this is a champion cake, chamomile and honey are not the dominant flavours It came across as a beautifully moist lemon cake that all of my guests enjoyed and enthusiastically complimented. But the lemon is only in the icing. As you can see from the title of the recipe – it is not supposed to be a lemon cake! Yet throughout the summer our guests love this moist and scrumptious cake, and whether or not they call it lemon cake is not important to me. It is very popular.
Next time I bake this cake (and by the reaction from everyone who tried it, I am sure this will be a cake I make again and again), I am going to try it without the icing, or perhaps with plain icing, as it would be interesting to see if the chamomile and honey were more pronounced without the lemon overshadowing them.
- 125ml milk (you will need additional milk)
- 3 tbsps chamomile flowers or 4 chamomile teabags (I used chamomile flower pyramids)
- 250g self-rising flour
- 150g caster sugar (I used golden caster sugar because it was all that was in the pantry)
- 1tsp baking powder
- a large pinch of salt
- 250ml mild olive oil
- 70g honey
- 3 eggs
- 150g icing sugar sifted
- finely grated zest and juice of 1 lemon (I guess this is optional – as stated, the lemon does become the dominant flavour)
- a splash of milk
Preheat the oven to 160˚C/Gas Mark 3.
Oil a 20cm/ 8 inch round cake tin and line the base with baking paper.
Pour the milk into a small saucepan and gently warm through without letting it reach boiling point. Then remove from the heat and add the chamomile flowers (or chamomile teabags). Set to one side for at least ten minutes so the chamomile can infuse into the milk and cool.
Whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt in a large bowl.
In a separate bowl, whisk together the olive oil, honey and the eggs.
Strain the chamomile flowers from the cooled milk (or remove the teabags), and measure how much milk you have (I found the tea-pyramids I used soaked up half the milk!). You need 125ml of milk, so add more milk if necessary. Stir the infused milk into the oil mixture.
Pour the liquid mixture into the flour mixture, mixing until well combined and without any lumps, being careful not to overbeat it.
Pour the mixed batter into the baking tin and then bake for forty-fifty minutes, or until the cake is golden and a skewer comes out almost clean. (The recipe said forty-fifty minutes, but in my oven I had to bake my cake for an hour and ten minutes before it was baked through! I baked it in the oven of a family member and it took just forty minutes. All of which has made me lose confidence in my own oven!)
Leave the cake in the tin for five minutes and then turn out onto a wire rack to cool.
While the cake is cooling, stir together the lemon icing ingredients, keeping some of the lemon zest for the top of the cake and adding just enough milk to give it a loose pouring consistency.
When the cake is completely cold, drizzle with the lemon icing and sprinkle with the reserved lemon zest. (As is typical with me, I think I iced the cake a little too early, because it seemed to melt and ended up streaming down the edges in a torrent.) You can see from the picture below how the cake was supposed to look!