When Meyer lemons are in season, I cannot get enough of them! I find all kinds of ways to use them in recipes. Did you know Meyer lemons actually originated in China, where they are grown as ornamentals in garden pots? They came to the US in 1908 yet were not really popular in cooking until Alice Waters of the famous Chez Panisse restaurant discovered them and put them on her menu in the 1990s. Further popularity was gained when Martha Stewart introduced them in her recipes. The Meyer lemon is a cross between a true lemon and a mandarin orange or a regular orange. It is thinner and smoother skinned with a distinctive taste. For this recipe I played around with Dario Cocchini’s famous olive oil orange cake recipe. I wanted to make it with Meyer lemons and include the whole fruit, peel, juice and pith. If you are a marmalade lover, you will like the bite of citrus in this cake. It is not very sweet and has a bitter note, so it lends itself well to a smear of jam. It is meant to be enjoyed for breakfast or as a late afternoon snack with a cup of strong coffee or tea. It can be enjoyed over 3 days. It also freezes well. Enjoy!
MEYER LEMON OLIVE OIL CAKE
- 2-3 Meyer Lemons, quartered, seeds removed
- 1/3 c olive oil (not extra virgin)
- 2 c flour
- 1 1/2 t baking powder
- 1/2 t baking soda
- dash of salt
- 4 large eggs
- 1 1/2 c sugar
- powdered sugar to dust top
1) Preheat oven to 350 F.
2) Cut a small slice off both ends of the lemons. In a food processor, grind up the whole lemons coarsely ensuring some texture remains.
3) Add the oil and pulse to combine.
4) Combine the flour, baking powder, salt and baking soda. In a separate bowl, lightly beat the eggs and add in the sugar. Beat until fluffy and smooth.
5) Add the egg mixture to the lemon mixture and stir until smooth. Into this, add the dry ingredients in 3 parts, mixing until just incorporated after each addition. Avoid overmixing.
6) Pour into a greased 9 inch springform pan. Bake at 350F for 45-50 minutes, on a middle rack. Cool before slicing. Dust with powdered sugar to serve. Yield 12 servings.