When it comes to cakes I tend to always make a very ...er, American cake. By that, I mean all the butter, sugar and flour a girl can handle. But after making my website's first birthday cake, I wanted something a bit different and maybe a bit lighter for Fourth of July. Taking a cue from the Italians, I opted for an olive oil based cake. Compared to the cake I would typically make, the flavors in this cake are a lot more subtle and nuanced.
But, in American fashion, there is buttercream. The buttercream acts as a glue to hold the layers together. It can be really difficult to not get cakes to slide and move and being as Fourth of July can be a time when we bring cakes with us to events, I figured better not to risk it. Let's stick with what works, and what works is good ol' American buttercream.
Speaking of American, let's talk red, white and blue. I used the berries here to bring in color and patriotism. I used a mix of all different berries, but feel free to use whatever you like.
Lastly, when it comes to storage and timing... Both the cake and the frosting can be made in advance and frozen. To freeze the cakes, wrap them well in saran wrap, making sure they are completely covered. Place them in a freezer bag and store them in the freezer for up to two weeks. They can also be stored like this on the counter for up to 5 days. To freeze the frosting store it in a airtight container. When you're ready to assemble the cake you'll need to defrost the frosting and to whip it again to ensure it is smooth.
For the cake:
1 cup good quality olive oil
2 cups white sugar
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1/2 teaspoon orange extract
pinch of salt
1/2 tablespoon baking powder
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup lukewarm water
approximately 3 cups of assorted berries
For the frosting:
2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter, softened (for nondairy use nondairy butter or margarine)
4 cups (1 lb. box) confectioner's sugar
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
1 tablespoon of milk or nondairy milk
1. Preheat the oven to 350°F
2. Prepare two 9" springform pans; grease them well, line with parchment paper and grease again. Make sure to grease the sides of the pan as well.
3. In a large bowl, cream together the olive oil and sugar. Add the eggs, extracts, salt and baking powder and mix until fully combined. Add the flour 1/2 a cup at a time, mixing until fully combined. Lastly, add the water and mix well until fully combined and there is no liquid on the surface of the mixture. The batter will be runny.
4. Separate the batter into the two springform pans. I use a measuring cup and separate the batter 1 cup at a time.
5. Gently slam the pans onto the counter to pop any air bubbles in the batter. You may need to slam it a couple times until all the bubbles are removed. Then, transfer the pans to the preheated oven and bake for 30 minutes, until the edges are golden brown and a toothpick down the center of the cakes comes out clean. Allow the cakes to cool in the pan. Once the pans are cool enough to handle, remove the cakes to a cooling rack and allow them to fully cool.
**The cakes will need to fully cool in order to assemble. If you try to assemble on a warm cake, the buttercream will melt. For tips on how to make and store the cakes in advance, scroll up to the top of this page.
6. When you're ready to assemble, make the frosting: in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, or in a large bowl using a hand mixer, mix the butter on a high speed for about 3 minutes, until the butter is very smooth and white in color.
7. Lower the speed to low and add in the confectioners' sugar, 1/3 cup at a time, until fully combined. Add in the extract and a splash of milk, raise the speed to medium-high and continue to mix the buttercream for another 5 minutes, until very smooth.
8. Assemble the cake: place one layer on a cake board and top with a generous amount of frosting. Add half of the berries. Top with the second layer and repeat this process. Store on the counter covered for up to 3 days.
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