How was your holiday weekend? We finished putting all of our outdoor areas together (we anticipated hosting outside on the patio), but it rained the entire weekend. We need the rain, so no complaints here- we were able to move our party and guests inside with no trouble at all. I was just happy to be with friends and hosting at home again. I wanted to kick off this short week with a fun recipe I tried over the long weekend. It’s perfect for summer, easy for parties, and is definitely one I’ll make again in the future. This olive oil cake is fragrant, citrusy, sweet, a little tart, spongey, and dense- all at the same time. It’s a flavor profile I wasn’t expecting, but immediately loved. It’s also one of those recipes that you can dress up and adjust however you’d like. You could easily add your favorite toppings, fruit, dollops of fresh whipped cream, or drizzly syrup to the top for a personalized look and taste. The options are really endless with this one. The Campari pairs very well with the olive oil, and it has me dreaming of an upcoming Italian getaway. Emmett & I just finished planning our 10-year anniversary trip and we’re headed back to Italy! We snagged flights on sale, and I’m already dreaming of eating my way through Tuscany and sipping late summer cocktails on the Amalfi Coast after a dive. This cake kind of encompasses all of those wonderful things and summer feelings! It’s perfect for the season ahead and comes from one of my favorite cookbooks, Dinner in French by Melissa Clark. Click through for the recipe- or pin this one for later!
Before we dive into the recipe, I’m overly excited about our Italian anniversary trip- it’s really what made me give this cake a try. It has been 12 years since I last visited Italy and I’m looking forward to sharing my favorite spots with Emmett, though I’m sure much has changed in over a decade, since I last lived there. Anyway, we’re hoping to renew our vows and get a couple “wedding” photos (if we can squeeze it into the itinerary). Did I ever tell you that story? Basically, we don’t have wedding photos because our photographer ghosted us 10 years ago. This time around, I just want it to be the two of us… no white dress, no party, just a couple photos of him & I to remember the occasion. I’m not even certain we’ll hire a photographer. Maybe I’ll just pack my tripod and set a timer- or have a stranger click the button? Haha! Who knows. Back to the cake…
This cake is summery, delicious, and something different to try… not your standard chocolate or vanilla. I honestly wasn’t expecting to like it so much, because I’m a fan of the aforementioned basics, when it comes to cake.
As you’re glancing at the recipe, keep in mind you could always substitute the standard all-purpose flour for a gluten-free alternative. This recipe would be pretty easy to modify to fit your dietary needs!
Olive oil in cake may sound odd, but it’s surprisingly wonderful! Do use a quality olive oil and make sure it is not too strong, flavored, or infused. I used this olive oil from our shop. It’s my favorite and isn’t toon overpowering for this recipe!
Campari Olive Oil Cake
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter melted, plus more for greasing the pan
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 2/3 cups sugar
- 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 2/3 cup whole milk
- 2/3 cup mild olive oil
- 3 large eggs
- 1/2 cup Campari
- 1 tablespoon grapefruit zest
- 1 tablespoon orange zest
- 1 teaspoon lemon zest
- 1/4 cup fresh grapefruit juice
- 2 tablespoons fresh orange juice
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- whipped cream or crème fraîche for serving
- confectioners sugar for dusting
- Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9-inch springform pan, and line the bottom with parchment paper.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, salt, baking powder, and baking soda.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the milk, oil, butter, eggs, Campari, citrus zests, and citrus juices.
- Fold in the dry ingredients, then scrape the batter into the prepared pan.
- Bake until the top is golden brown and springs back when lightly pressed in the center- 45 minutes to 1 hour.
- Let the cake cool completely in the pan. Then run a butter knife around the edges and release the sides of the springform pan. Serve with powdered sugar, dollops of whipped cream, or crème fraîche.
Random fact about me… my favorite fruit is grapefruit, so I expected to really enjoy this recipe. I love that sharp & tart citrus flavor- especially when paired with sweeter caramelized notes & confectioners sugar. It’s really a match made in heaven.
If you’re not as keen on citrus flavors, I’d recommend omitting the zest or lessening the quantity. I think that’s my favorite part, though.
The Campari tastes exactly like it does in a cocktail! It also gives the batter a fun peachy pink color. Eating this cake, I definitely envisioned myself sipping a Negroni in the south of France of Italian Riviera. Isn’t it fun how food has the ability to transport us or reminds us of a vivid memory we’ve since stored?
I think the key to this cake is fresh, quality ingredients. I zested and squeezed fresh grapefruit, lemons, and oranges- all of which really gave it an amazing juicy flavor.
The batter isn’t super thick, so don’t panic if it looks a bit more thin in comparison to your typical cake mix. That’s what creates that lovely dense & spongey texture.
By the time my cake came out of the oven yesterday, it had started to thunderstorm- which is my favorite during the summer months! Thunderstorms are actually pretty rare here in Utah; they remind me of home. There is nothing better than baking in the kitchen during a storm, while the rain trickles down the windows.
I pulled the cake out of the oven, dusted a pretty decent layer of powdered sugar, whipped some fresh cream, and enjoyed a slice while watching the rain come down. Not a bad Tuesday, if I do say so myself! I’ve been trying to eat *slightly* healthier given my recent hospital visits, so I shared some of this with our neighbors and took the rest to work for Jordan to enjoy. I’m kind of regretting only having one slice! It was so good.
I kept it simple with two toppings, but you could decorate this cake with whatever sounds appealing to you… ice cream, whipped cream, berries, meringue, syrup, etc.
This cake just tastes like summer to me! Between the long holiday weekend and summer travel & adventures we have planned, this cake has me excited for the season ahead. I’m ready for all the flavors and fun that come along with sweet summertime! Anyone else? What are you looking forward to? Do you have any go-to summer recipes you’re looking forward to making? I’d love to hear about them! Here’s to a productive short week ahead. Happy June, friends!