Citrus Olive Oil Cake with Rhubarb Compote and Sour Cream Ice Cream

The recipe for this bright yellow, zest studded cake is from my newest bargain, “Dolce Italiano” by Gina De Palma. The texture of the cake, due to a good amount of extra virgin olive oil and cornmeal, is soft and a bit crunchy at the same time. There is grated zest of orange, lime and lemon inside, providing the cake with pronounced aroma.

The rhubarb compote recipe belongs to Scott Peacock, it was published in the last issue of “Bon Appetite”.

Makes one 9-inch round cake, about 10 servings

For the cake:

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 lemon
  • 1 lime
  • 1 orange
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 ½ cups plus 1 tbsp unbleached all-purpose flour
  • ¾ cup fine cornmeal
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • ¾ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup confectioners’ sugar, sifted, for a glaze

For the rhubarb compote:

  • 2 cups Pinot Noir or Cabernet Sauvignon
  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 3 2-inch-long strips orange peel (orange part only)
  • 2 2-inch-long strips lemon peel (yellow part only)
  • 6 cups 1/2-inch pieces fresh rhubarb (about 2 pounds trimmed), preferably thin, firm, brightly colored stalks
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt

Make the cake:

Preheat the oven to 325 F and position a rack in the center. Lightly butter and dust with flour a 9-inch springform pan.

Grate the zest from the lemon, lime, and orange. Reserve the fruits for the glaze. Put the granulated sugar and the zest in a small bowl, and rub with your fingers to release fragrant oils. Set aside.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cornmeal, salt, and baking powder. Set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, or in a large bowl (if using hand-held beaters), beat the eggs, gradually adding the sugar. Whip on medium-high speed until pale-yellow and tripled in volume, about 4 minutes.

Alternate adding the dry ingredients and the olive oil to the egg mixture; begin with one third of the dry ingredients, then add half the oil, followed by another third of the dry ingredients, beating only until incorporated. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Beat in the remaining olive oil, followed by the last third of the dry ingredients.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top with a spatula. Put the pan on a baking sheet and bake for about 55 minutes, until a cake tester comes out clean. Remove from the oven, cool on a rack for 15 minutes. Unmold and cool completely on the rack.

While the cake is cooling, make the glaze: Put the sifted confectioners’ sugar into a medium bowl. Over a little bowl, squeeze a couple teaspoons of juice from each of the reserved citrus fruits, stir. Add about 4 tsp of juice to the confectioners’ sugar and whisk until smooth. If the glaze seems too thick, add a few drops of the remaining juice. Drizzle the glaze over the cooled cake and allow it to set until it is completely dry.

Make the compote:

Combine the wine, sugar, orange peel, and lemon peel in a heavy large saucepan. Bring to a boil, stirring until the sugar dissolves. Add the rhubarb and salt and simmer until the rhubarb is tender but still retains its shape, about 9 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the rhubarb to a shallow dish, arranging in a single layer. Boil the wine syrup in the saucepan until slightly thickened and reduced to 1 1/4 cups, adding any juices accumulated from the rhubarb. Pour the syrup over the rhubarb and cool, then cover and chill until cold. Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover and keep chilled.

Citrus Olive Oil Cake Slice with Rhubarb Compote and Sour Cream Ice Cream

Serve the cake in thick slices with the rhubarb compote and the sour cream ice cream on the side.

The cake is still delicious the following day.