Olive oil can be a wonderful ingredient to bake with because it’s bright, fruity flavors can add a lot of complexity to some recipes. I particularly enjoy olive oil in recipes that feature fresh fruit, since the olive oil can help highlight the sweetness of the fruit, whether citrus, berries or stone fruits are being used. This Raspberry Olive Oil Cake is an easy to make cake that is a fantastic example of how olive oil can work well in a cake batter. The olive oil has a bit of acidity that, combined with a bit of lemon zest, really helps the flavorful raspberries to pop in every bite of the cake. The cake itself is moist and tender, easy to whip up when you want something a little different for a spring or summertime dessert.
I use fresh raspberries to make this cake when they are in season. The fresh berries need to be folded in carefully so that they don’t get smushed and bleed into the batter, so use a light touch when incorporating them. If you only have frozen berries in your kitchen, they can be used in this cake in place of the fresh berries, however I recommend tossing them in a few teaspoons of flour so that they do not bleed as you fold them in. The cake might also need a few extra minutes in the oven if using frozen berries, so be sure to check the cake for doneness before removing it from the oven.
The cake is best on the day that it is baked, as the juices from the raspberries may start to soften the cake after more than a day of sitting around. It can be served slightly warm, almost like a fruit cobbler, and paired with ice cream or whipped cream. It is just as good at room temperature, when the crisp, sugary topping really stands out from the tender cake beneath it. Fortunately, the cake is not large and you shouldn’t have too many leftovers after serving. You should, however, stock up on raspberries so you’re ready to make another cake when guests request seconds.
Raspberry Olive Oil Cake
1 1/3 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/3 cup olive oil
1 cup sugar
1 large egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 tsp lemon zest
1/2 cup milk
1 1/2 cups fresh raspberries
1 tbsp coarse sugar, for topping
Preheat oven to 350F. Lightly grease a 9-inch springform pan.
In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder and salt.
In a large bowl, beat together oil, sugar, egg, vanilla extract and lemon zest until smooth. Blend in about 1/3 of the flour mixture, followed by half of the milk. Stir in half of the remaining flour mixture, followed by the rest of the milk, then add the last of the flour mixture. Stir only until everything is just combined and no streaks of dry ingredients remain. Gently fold in the raspberries. If desired, reserve a few raspberries and simply place them on the top of the cake. The batter should be fairly thick.
Spread batter evenly into the prepared pan. Sprinkle the cake with coarse sugar.
Bake for about 45-50 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out with only a few moist crumbs attached.
Cool completely in the pan before slicing and serving. Store leftovers in an airtight container.