Citrus season is probably one of our favorite seasons with all the bright and vibrant fruits and incredible flavors. Meyer lemons are at the top of our list during this time of year and we love baking and cooking with these beautiful lemons! To bring out all the flavors of Spring, we created this tasty Meyer Lemon Olive Oil cake that is perfectly light to complement a weekend brunch, afternoon tea or cocktail hour, or a refreshing dessert!
What are Meyer Lemons?
Meyer lemons are a hybrid of lemons and mandarins. They typically have a slightly deeper yellow rind with some orange hues. The taste of Meyer lemon juice can be a bit sweeter and not as tart as typical lemon varieties. In the US, Meyer lemons are available between December to March, so grab them while you can!
Because of their beautiful color and unique flavor, Meyer lemons are perfect for baking in a variety of treats as well as savory dishes. We love adding Meyer lemon to seafood dishes, pasta sauces, as part of a marinade or salad dressing and more!
If you can’t find Meyer lemons, you can substitute regular lemons for this recipe.
What is an Olive Oil Cake?
An olive oil cake is just like it sounds – a cake that uses olive oil in place of other oils, and often in place of butter altogether.
Why should you bake cakes with olive oil?
Olive oil, especially extra virgin olive oil (EVOO), is widely considered one of the healthiest oils and is encouraged as a replacement for other oils and fats in cooking and baking. Using extra virgin olive oil in cakes instead of butter may also result in a soft texture that will stay moist for longer.
Additionally, the distinct olive oil flavor will add another level of complexity to your cakes without overpowering the other flavors. And don’t worry, your cake will not taste like olives!
How to make Meyer Lemon Olive Oil Cake?
The most important ingredient in this cake is good extra virgin olive oil. We use Filippo Berio’s Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil which can be found at most grocery stores or find it HERE. We like this particular olive oil because it has an intensely fruity flavor profile and notes of herbs which complements the Meyer Lemon in this cake.
The cake has sugar glazed Meyer Lemon slices that are baked in the bottom of the cake pan resulting in a gorgeous presentation once the cake is turned out of the pan. This type of upside-down cake is easy to make and is always a crowd pleaser.
Sugar Glazed Meyer Lemon Layer
To make the sugar glazed Meyer lemon layer, all you need is granulated sugar and water, but to make this version more interesting, we used the raspberry flavored liqueur Chambord. If you do not want to include this ingredient, simply replace it with water, no harm no foul. Although, we feel that this really adds a special touch to the lemon layer and highly recommend using it.
You are basically making a simple syrup here then pouring it over the thin lemon slices lining the bottom of the cake pans. This allows the lemon slices to caramelize and become candied slices. Make sure you slice the lemons as thin as possible to prevent extra chewy or bitter pieces.
Before adding the lemon slices and syrup to the cake pans, make sure your pans are thoroughly greased with olive oil to prevent sticking. We like to use two 6-inch round cake pans to make two smaller layer cakes, but one large 9-inch round cake pan will work for this recipe as well if you are planning to serve more people.
Once your pan is coated, you can add your lemon slices to the bottom. Overlap the lemon slices because they will spread out as the cake bakes, but feel free to get creative with your pattern, then pour the syrup right over the top of the lemons before adding your batter to the pan.
The cake bakes at 325°F for about 45-60 minutes, but use a toothpick inserted into the middle to check for doneness. The toothpick should come out clean and dry if the cake is done. Add 5 minutes onto your time if the cake is not quite done and check again.
Agrodolce is a fancy Italian word literally translating to “sour sweet.” So, you can probably deduce from this that this sauce is a raspberry sweet and sour sauce! The sauce is made by caramelizing sugar and deglazing it with an acid (e.g., lemon juice, vinegar, etc.). This can then be used as the base of a variety of sauces or vinaigrette.
For this particular sauce, we used the agrodolce base consisting of the caramelized sugar deglazed with Filippo Berio’s White Wine Vinegar, then added raspberries briefly cooked with some water and sugar. The berries were strained into the sugar and vinegar base, which created a nice tasty raspberry sauce that paired perfectly with the cake! The raspberry agrodolce was used on the layers with the Bavarian cream as well as drizzled over the top of the cake before serving.
For the cake filling, we opted for Bavarian Cream to give the cake a delicious creamy layer between the bright citrusy olive oil cake layers, but this cake can be enjoyed alone as well.
Bavarian Cream is made by making a custard of milk, cream, sugar, and eggs, then adding gelatin and folding in sweetened whipped cream.
Once chilled and set, this results in a luscious, yet light cream filling. The Bavarian cream can also be used to top the cake if desired or as a separate dessert with fresh berries and the agrodolce drizzle.
Assembling the Cake
To assemble this cake, turn the baked and slightly cooled cake out onto a wire rack to cool completely. Once cool, slice the cake horizontally to create two layers. You can do this with a sharp serrated knife, but for ease, we recommend purchasing one of these cake slicer tools. This creates completely even layers and will also allow you to even off the top or bottom of any cake if it domes during baking.
Once you have your slices, add some of the raspberry agrodolce to the bottom layer almost to the edges. Then add a layer of Bavarian cream, followed by the top layer of the cake with the lemons. At this point, we recommend placing the cake in the fridge for about 30 minutes to an hour so that the center cream layer doesn’t squish down when you cut it.
To serve, drizzle the agrodolce on top, slice and serve.
We hope you enjoy this recipe for Meyer Lemon Olive Oil Cake with Bavarian Cream and Raspberry Agrodolce drizzle! This is the perfect Spring and Summer cake to delight any crowd!
If you give this recipe a try, leave us a comment below, or tag us on Instagram @cooking_with_wine!
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