This moist and slightly sweet cake gives a nod to the change in season even if I have yet to feel the relief from the southern heat. I'm breathing in the crisp autumn air simply as a state of mind. Our turn will come later this month, usually quite punctually on the 15th of October when Florida has hope regenerated with it's first snap of cooler air. We're waiting. Still waiting.
I usually jump the "Florida fall" gun and start looking for recipes that include my autumn favorites such as harvest grapes, butternut squash, sugar pumpkins, crisp apples and pears. I must admit, I miss the north this time of year, but come February in Florida with its impossibly blue skies, white sandy beaches and when my new Meyer lemon tree or old mango tree are producing their fruit, I'll remember why it is good to live in paradise.
This grape and olive oil cake is very slightly sweet and pairs very nicely with my freshly home roasted coffee that I have become so passionate about. I think that I'll make this for dessert at one of the upcoming fall luncheons that I'm catering. Unique. Simple. Elegant.
Harvest Grape and Olive Oil Cake
(recipe adapted from Patricia Well's Winemakers Grape Cake)
2 large eggs, at room temperature
2/3 cup sugar
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1/4 cup olive oil
1/3 cup whole milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour (or gluten free flour)
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
A pinch of kosher salt
Grated zest of 1 orange
Grated zest of 1 lemon
12 ounces small purple grapes (if they are not small then cut them in half)
confectioners' sugar for serving
Preheat oven to 350 degrees
Butter and flour a 9" round non-stick cake pan.
In the bowl of an electric mixer, whisk sugar and the eggs about 3 minutes, until they are pale yellow. Add the butter, milk, olive oil, vanilla and mix until just blended.
Mix the flour, baking powder and salt in a separate bowl and then mix in the zest of the lemon and orange. Add dry ingredients to the batter and mix until blended with a wooden spoon. Set aside for five minutes.
Stir in about 3/4 of the grapes into the batter. pour into the cake pan and smooth out the top. Bake for 15 minutes and then sprinkle the remaining grapes on the top and bake until golden brown on, about 30 minutes longer. Serve at room temperature.
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