I frequently use oil in my cakes, especially when I am baking vegan cuppies. However, I was inspired to use olive oil as a main flavor in my cake this time due to a Cupcake Hero cupcake contest, with the flavor theme of olive oil for the month of February.
Since it was such a new flavor, I used a cake recipe from Gourmet and changed it up a little bit. I had some extra virgin olive oil, so I used that. Feel free to use whatever kind you like. It would probably be delicious to use some flavor-infused oil. I added some thyme (unfortunately, the dried, not fresh kind - we're in the middle of winter here in Michigan) for an herbal, lemony flavor. Also, a cupcake is not a cupcake without some sort of icing, frosting or glaze. I made a thick lemon glaze to complement the lemon in the cupcakes. I happened to have some Jordan almonds around and put those on top for decoration. They look a little like Easter/Spring cupcakes... maybe I'm just hoping for some warmer weather!
Olive Oil & Citrus Cupcakes - adapted from Gourmet - Makes approximately 24 cupcakes
- 3/4 cup olive oil
- 1 small lemon (use for zest and 1.5 T lemon juice)
- 1 cup cake flour
- 5 large eggs separated, put aside 1 egg white for another use
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 tsp thyme
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and line cupcake tins with paper liners.
- Zest the entire lemon and add it to a small bowl with the flour. Use a whisk to mix the ingredients.
- In a large bowl, mix the egg yolks and 1/2 cup sugar on high speed until the mixture is thick and pale. This should take a few minutes.
- With medium speed, add the olive oil and lemon juice (1.5 T) to the egg yolk and sugar mixture. Beat until well mixed, although there may be some separation due to the oil.
- Use a wooden spoon to add the flour mixture to the large bowl. Then use the wooden spoon to mix in the thyme.
- In a separate small bowl, mix the salt and 4 egg whites until foamy looking. Add the remaining 1/4 cup of sugar and beat on high speed until soft peaks form.
- Slowly fold in the egg white mixture to the batter. Do not over mix, otherwise the batter will become tough.
- Fill cupcake liners 2/3 full of batter and bake for approximately 18 minutes, or until the tops turn golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center of the cupcake comes out clean.
These cupcakes rose beautifully! I ended up with only 20, but I tend to overfill my liners a little bit. They came out not too dense and not too sweet. I wanted to accentuate the hint of lemon in the cupcake by using a lemon icing.
- 1 tablespoon butter, room temperature
- 2 T lemon juice
- 3-5 cups confectioner's sugar
- In a medium sized bowl, cream the butter until light and fluffy. It's not a lot of butter, so it's a little difficult, and if it's a little lumpy it's OK.
- Add 1 tablespoon of lemon juice, 1 tablespoon of water, and 1/2 cup of sugar to the butter. Mix until well combined.
- Slowly add the sugar to the mixture 1/2 cup at a time. As the glaze gets crumbly and too dry, add another tablespoon of water. I wanted my glaze to be very lemony, so I used 2 tablespoons. Continue adding the water and sugar (and possibly lemon juice) until you get your desired consistency. I wanted mine to be thick enough to spread, so I added more sugar until it was just right.
- Spread the icing on top of cupcakes with an off-set spatula.
The Jordan almonds on top give it a nice little touch of chocolate and color. I'll be sure to let you all know when it's time to vote for Cupcake Hero ;)