I love cherries and it’s been a long time I’ve being wanting to make a cake with them but this year being on a diet I do not make desserts often, (the previous one I posted was a recipe from last year), and I really miss baking!
Last week I decided that since it’s been a couple of weeks that I had not made a dessert that I could indulgie into making a simple cherry cake before the cherry season is over but I did not want to add eggs and butter.
At the beginning I thought of making an older Chocolate Cake I make or the Orange Flavoured Cake, which would satisfy my sweet tooth but at least eat something healthy and delicious. However, I also love to challenge myself and try something new so I did not add the cocoa, instead of adding vegetable oil I opted for olive oil, instead of crystal sugar I used demerera sugar and instead of orange I added lemon. I used 1 1/2 cups of sugar but my children said it was not sweet enough, so if you like your desserts sweet add 1/2 a cup more.
Greek Extra Virgin Olive Oil is of the highest quality olive oils available and is unsurpassed in delicious flavor. I use olive oil produced by our relatives in Sparta, which is extra virgin olive oil but even if you do not use extra virgin olive oil, be sure to use a good quality one, so that the cake will not have a strong taste. In case the olive oil you are using is too strong add half an amount olive oil and the remaining use vegetable oil.
Olive oil has exceptional nutritional properties and is the best oil to use for cooking. Several studies have shown that olive oil, which is rich in monounsaturated fats, has many cardiovascular benefits. In fact, olive oil is the protective agent of good cholesterol (HDL) and can even increase it. It also lowers bad cholesterol (LDL). Oleic acid, the main monounsaturated fat in olive oil, is also more resistant to oxygen and heat and therefore much more chemically stable than polyunsaturated fats. Furthermore, a diet rich in monounsaturated fats could prevent the risk of coronary disease as well as cancer, diabetes, obesity and hypertension.
Greece produces approximately 350,000 tons of olive oil annually, of which 82% is extra-virgin. About half of the annual Greek olive oil production is exported mainly to the European Union, and Italy being the main recipient (75% of the exported oil (????), but only some 5% of this reflects the origin of the bottled product. Source: Wikipedia
On the other part, cherries are rich in antioxidants, including anthocyanins, catechins, chlorogenic acid, flavonal glycosides, and melatonin. These gems also contain beta carotene, vitamin C, iron, magnesium, fiber, and potassium, making them good for the blood as they are rich in iron, for diabetes as they help lower blood sugar, they are valued for their cleansing properties as the fruit is believed to remove toxins. Cherries have shown to contain anti-inflammatory properties, which helps arthritis, melatonin, helps insomnia, they are beneficial for the heart, as the antioxidants are thought to be responsible for lowering bad cholesterol, lessening the risk of heart, they protect against cancer and recent studies show that they help in weight loss.
Lemons are another fruit which is thought to have properties that ease arthritis, reduce the risk of heart disease, and cancer. They, too, are high in vitamin C.
The only thing that troubled me when making the cake, was the amount of cherries to use. I pitted half a kilo and had them ready when I began making the cake. I started by adding a thin layer of batter and a layer of cherries, hoping that I would add another layer of batter, the remaining cherries and still have some batter left, to add on top. However, after adding one layer the remaining batter was just enough to cover them so I was reluctant to add the remaining. Since I had the leftover cherries I decided to caramelize them. The amount in the recipe is only for the cake.
This cake is vegan and since the cherry season is very short if you still want to make it off season, you can still use cherry spoon sweet or cherry compote, fresh or canned to make it whenever you like. I still have cherry spoon sweet from last year but I preferred to leave it for other desserts and use fresh cherries.
The cake was indeed good. It was very moist and light, packed with the fruity olive oil flavour and with a delicate scent of lemon.
An olive cake may be healthy but everything in moderation and keep the portions small.
To serve, simply top a slice of the cake with a spoonful of the delicious rum cherries and for those who are not vegan, a dollop of Greek Yoghurt or ice cream if you like. The combination of rum cherries and yoghurt worked really well with the flavors of the olive oil cake.
Vegan Olive Oil Cherry Cake, Recipe by Ivy
Preparation time: 15 minutes
Baking time: about 1 hour
Makes: 1 cake in a 28 cm baking tin and yields around 14 – 16 pieces
- 500 grams self raising flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- ¼ tsp salt
- 1 1/2 – 2 cups demerera sugar
- 10 tablespoons of olive oil
- 2 tablespoons of wine vinegar
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon lemon zest
- 2 vanillas or 1/2 teaspoon vanilla essence
- 2 cups of water
- 25 cherries, pitted
- Put all fluids in a bowl together with baking soda and slightly beat with a whisk. Add sugar and whisk for a few minutes (no mixer needed).
- Sift flour and mix with salt and lemon zest.
- Add to the fluid ingredients and mix with the whisk.
- Grease a 28 cm. baking tin with olive oil and dust some flour on it or just line the baking tin with parchment paper. Add half of the batter and add the cherries, then cover with the remaining batter.
- Bake cake for about an hour in a preheated oven at 170 degrees C or until a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean. (Test with a toothpick after 45 minutes have passed).
- Sprinkle some icing sugar on top.
I am taking a break from blogging for a couple of months, as I need some time to take care of some unfinished work I need to do, although I may be posting a recipe now and then.
We shall be going away on short vacation but most of the time shall be in Athens, so I will be reading your posts on FB.
Have a wonderful summer!!
Kopiaste and Kali Orexi!!