Make me a sandwich!...Alchemy of Baking
When it comes to methods of cooking, baking has always scared the hell out of me. Throwing something in a frying pan or on a grill makes sense in my Neanderthal brain. Meat + Fire = Good! Maybe toss some salt and pepper on that bad boy and then you're on your way. However, baking is too much like going to chemistry class to possibly be real. Only some sort of witch could mix together 17 different powdery substances with an egg and some water to create a delicious cake. I assume there had to be some blood of a newt or the hair off a dragon's ass in order to make baking a reality.
That's why I was tentative to give baking a try for this month's installment of Make Me A Sandwich but I was running out of days in the month. I needed to produce because I know if I didn't then the world would come crashing down around me and both of you fine readers would start asking questions like "What, no Make Me A Sandwich this month?" or "You said you were going to cook something new every month and write about it, what happened?" or "What's a blog?". Even with these doubts I decided to put on my warlock cap and try my hand at baking.
I wanted to find something that didn't have too many ingredients and was a little unconventional. I was excited when this month's Food & Wine magazine provided a cake recipe that provided exactly what I was looking for: Fallen Olive Oil Souffle Cake or pão de ló. If you are looking for something different to serve as dessert that you can make with stuff you may already have in your house then give this a try. Here are your ingredients:
- 9 large egg yolks (This isn't a joke as much as it looks like it should be)
- 2 large eggs
- 1/2 cup of sugar
- 3 tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon of all-purpose flour
- Flaky sea salt (this is just a garnish so forget about getting the fancy salt)
To show you how easy it is to make this cake (?) I am, like always, going to give you the steps to cooking up this thing from memory and not by simply regurgitating the steps from the pages of the magazine. To get ready to bake set your oven to 350 degrees to get all hot and bothered. Next, line a cake pan with parchment paper. The recipe calls for an 8" round cake pan. I only had a 9" round cake pan so clearly this recipe would not work for me but I gave it a try anyway.
While the oven is heating up, mix your egg yolks, eggs, and sugar at medium-high speed for about 6 minutes. I think the recipe said until the mixture was "fluffy and doubled in size" but I wasn't really looking closely enough to know when it would double in size so I just turned on the mixer and let it run for six minutes.
You probably noticed that I was using a stand-up mixer. That is because I got married. For some reason it is a law in the United States that all married couples must register for and acquire a stand up mixer as a wedding gift. When Rizzo and I were registering for our wedding I made sure to register for a Playstation. When Rizzo saw this her reaction was "Why are you registering for a Playstation, you don't play video games?" My response was, "Why are you registering for a stand-up mixer? You have never baked anything in your life." I did win that argument (we got both items) and since we have the mixer there is no way I was going to hold up a standard mixer for six minutes but don't go out and by a mixer just to make this silly cake.
After your six minutes of checking Facebook on your phone slow the speed of the mixer down to slow (or one or whatever it said on the side of the mixer) and add the olive oil to the mixture. Make sure it gets nice and mixed. Now, pour in the flour and let it mix just long enough to get stirred up (something like 30 seconds) then turn off the mixer and pour the batter into your lined cake pan.
Slide the cake pan into the oven and let it cook for 18-20 minutes. The directions said something like "until the edges are firm but the center is still wobbly." Something about a cake remaining wobbly after it has baked for 20 minutes freaked me out but I figured 20 minutes at 350 degrees would have killed at least most of the salmonella so it should be fine.
After 18-20 more minutes of checking Facebook and Instagram (at least you had time to get over to your second social media app during this time of waiting) you are ready to pull your cake from the oven. Don't get too excited there, sparky. You still have to let the cake sit on a rack and cool for 10 minutes before digging in. Luckily for you there is still Twitter to check so you can use the time wisely.
Once you have finished your 10 minutes of Twitter time you can finally, and carefully, use the parchment paper to transfer your wobbly cake over to a serving plate. Don't even think about cutting slices of this cake as it is meant to be served in a group setting so just sit it in the center of the table and grab a fork. The recipe calls for a drizzling of olive oil and a garnish of salt, which I added, but it isn't of dire importance. I added it to my finished product but I'm cool like that.
Rizzo and I sat down with two forks and demolished this whole cake by ourselves in one sitting. Don't get too excited, it was only four servings so it's not like we ate an entire family sized bag of french fries from Costco (at least not this time). It was certainly an interesting flavor. I'll say that you better like the taste of olive oil if you are planning to try this cake because if you don't like olive oil then you are not going to like it at all. The sugar did give it enough sweetness to make it a dessert but it wasn't my favorite thing in the world. Cece took one bite and then immediately spit it out but she is also an almost 2-year-old so I don't really trust anything she likes. She also thinks that Mickey Mouse Clubhouse is the height of entertainment and that crayons are a tasty treat.
Either way, it wasn't a bad treat to have in the middle of the day on the Sunday and it was easy to make. For you guys out there, this would make an excellent surprise for a lady that you are trying to impress because it is easy yet seems fancy.