Is there anything a good bottle of extra virgin olive oil can’t do? Form the base of a garlicky pasta sauce, pull together a zingy vinaigrette, finish off a perfectly-grilled piece of steak or fillet of fish and even, yes, form the base of a perfectly moist cake.
Used in place of butter, olive oil adds not only texture and moisture to fruit and chocolate cakes, but a subtle herbaceous flavour that helps amplify all the other ingredients.
This recipe creates a cake so fluffy and succulent that you might even need a spoon to help it. We’ve used apricots, but substitute any fruit you like. Serve warm from the oven with a bowl of whipped cream for a light, summery dessert.
Preheat oven to 180C.
Line a 30cm x 20cm deep baking tray with baking paper. Drizzle a little extra virgin olive oil evenly over the paper, then lay halved apricots (cut-side down) onto the paper, spaced evenly.
Combine sugar and eggs in the bowl of a stand mixer and whisk until the mix turns pale and sugar has dissolved (around 5 minutes).
Stir together the milk, olive oil, lemon juice and lemon rind in a jug, then add to the sugar and egg mix and whip until combined. Fold through flour and baking powder until just incorporated, then pour carefully over the apricots in the tray.
Bake for 40 minutes, or until cooked through.
Switch oven to the ‘grill’ setting. Carefully invert the cake onto a baking tray so that apricots are facing up. Grill for 3 minutes, or until the top of the cake and the fruit browns slightly. Transfer to serving board and scatter with lemon thyme leaves.
Serve warm, or eat within two days.