I was hanging out with a friend this weekend and she commented, "Well, you wouldn't understand because you always make these perfect looking meals and you serve them in those perfect looking plates." And at that exact moment, I realized I was wearing two different socks. Not different like two black socks and one had a subtle striped pattern embedded into the fabric and the other was plain black. Oh, no. Different like one was gray with blue stripes and the other was pink argyle. The only explanation I have is that both of these socks lost their mates in laundry land and well, as I run out of clean socks as we approach laundry day, I sometimes resort to wearing sock widows. Yes, even out to brunch.
So, let's clear up some misconceptions. I rarely make perfect looking meals on perfect looking plates. Most of the time, I aim for mostly-edible meals eaten out of giant mugs because we forgot to run the dishwasher.
Last Wednesday, I nuked some Uncle Ben's rice in a bag and ate it for lunch. No, inhaled it for lunch. And I'm not gonna lie. With a generous squirt of sriracha, it was pretty darn tasty.
Last Friday, I wore my running shoes to work (with slacks, mind you) and proceeded to wear 'em for the rest of the day. My little toe with the throbbing, angry blister from my heels sent me a thank you card.
Yesterday for dinner, I piled a whole bunch of leftovers including meatloaf, roasted veggies, and pasta into two bowls (ok, giant mugs), nuked it, poured on some plum sauce and served it to the hubster and I for dinner. We ate it on the couch while watching Big Bang Theory on his laptop. If that ain't a hot Sunday night, I don't know what is.
Oh, and this morning I pulled my hair into what I convinced myself was a stylish chignon (but was really more like a third grade ponytail) because I didn't have time to blow dry or flat iron it.
Sometimes, our lives aren't as perfect as they seem to someone just casually glancing in. Sometimes, the only thing we're hoping for is to make it to Friday so we can do laundry and catch up on missed tv shows from the week. And even after all that, sometimes we find ourselves wearing mismatched socks. Horribly mismatched socks.
And so, I introduce you to the Meyer Lemon Olive Oil Cake. A not-so-perfect looking cake for all us not-so-perfect people. There's no shiny ganache topping, no magically smooth frosting, no towering layers. Instead, it's got a crumbly crust of crackling Demerara sugar, the bright citrus notes of meyer lemons, and the distinct flavor of olive oil. It's not really a cake you'd make for someone's birthday. It's more a cake you'd make for yourself to eat on a Sunday morning while drinking your third cup of coffee. And wearing your mismatched socks, of course.
I received the olive oil used in this recipe from the good folks at Crisco as part of the FoodBuzz Tastemaker program.
3/4 cup pure (or extra-virgin) olive oil, plus additional for greasing pan
2 large meyer lemons
3/4 cup all purpose flour + 2 tbs. cornstarch (or 1 cup cake flour- not self rising)
5 large eggs, separated, reserving 1 white for another use
3/4 cup white sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons Demerara or raw sugar
Put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 350°F. Grease 9-inch springform pan with some oil, then line bottom with a round of parchment paper. Oil parchment.
Finely grate 2 1/2 teaspoons of lemon zest and whisk together with flour. Halve lemon, then squeeze and reserve 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice.
Beat together yolks and 1/2 cup sugar in a large bowl with an electric mixer at high speed until thick and pale, about 3 minutes. Reduce speed to medium and add olive oil (3/4 cup) and reserved lemon juice, beating until just combined (mixture may appear separated). Using a wooden spoon, stir in flour mixture (do not beat) until just combined (resisting the urge to mix completely).
Beat egg whites (from 4 eggs) with 1/2 teaspoon salt in another large bowl with cleaned beaters at medium-high speed until foamy, then add 1/4 cup sugar a little at a time, beating, and continue to beat until egg whites just hold soft peaks, about 3 minutes.
Gently fold one third of whites into yolk mixture to lighten, then fold in remaining whites gently but thoroughly.
Transfer batter to springform pan and gently rap against work surface once or twice to release any air bubbles. Sprinkle top evenly with 1 1/2 tablespoons Demerara sugar. Bake until puffed and golden and a wooden pick or skewer inserted in center of cake comes out clean, about 45 minutes. Cool cake in pan on a rack 10 minutes, then run a thin knife around edge of pan and remove side of pan. Cool cake to room temperature, about 1 1/4 hours. Remove bottom of pan and peel off parchment, then transfer cake to a serving plate. Drizzle with lemon glaze (recipe below).
2 tbs. meyer lemon juice
1 cup sifted, powdered sugar
Mix lemon juice and powdered sugar in a small pan over low heat. Whisk until smooth (adding more lemon juice or powdered sugar as necessary, depending on how thick you like your glaze).
Cake recipe adapted from Epicurious.