I’ve always wanted a lemon tree. Partly I suppose that my midwest/northwest-raised self has always wanted to be a California girl, but mostly just because I’m obsessed with lemons!
When we started house hunting last year, we made a list of things we wanted in a house, mostly deal-breakers like a garage, a spare bedroom, an open floor plan or the potential for one…but the list also had things we just really wanted like natural light, a big yard, and for me, a lemon tree. So when we finally found our house, the lemon tree in the back yard was one of those small things that just sealed the deal.
Since this is the first winter we’ve spent in our new house we’d yet to experience the citrus season, so when we returned from Seattle after Christmas we were shocked to see that the lemon tree had exploded!
That afternoon as I harvested all the gorgeous, perfectly ripe fruit I couldn’t help but get sentimental about what it represented for us. Our bountiful lemon harvest signified a literal season change, but also a life-season change; a metaphor of sorts for moving out of the quiet season of growing, praying and trusting for things unseen and coming into a season of sowing roots, new beginnings and dreams realized.
I’d never made Olive Oil cake before, but when researching what to do with all our lemons I came across this recipe from Food52, and it’s to die for! Somehow it’s equally as rich and indulgent as it is light and delicate.
The oil keeps the cake super moist, and the lemon makes it bright and tart. I modified it slightly since I didn’t have millet flour on hand so I used all purpose gluten free flour in its place.
I also didn’t use rum for the glaze since I brought a cake to a few neighbors and you just never know if people are ok with the alcohol or not. I didn’t use the psyllium husk powder either since I didn’t have any.
I’m not kidding, this cake lasted all of about 15 minutes at my house. It’s the kind of cake you eat once slice of then keep on going back one forkful at a time until suddenly its history.
Try it with a good cup of coffee, or with a slow breakfast on a Saturday morning if you’re feeling indulgent. You could even make a few cakes at once and layer it with a lemony buttercream frosting for a gorgeous layer cake. I did this for Mila’s first birthday and it was a huge hit!
- 4 large eggs
- 1/2 cup natural cane sugar
- zest of one lemon
- 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 cup almond flour
- 1/2 cup all purpose gluten free flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 2 tablespoons water
- Powdered sugar to dust on top of cake
- Preheat the oven to 350. Trace the bottom of an 8-inch springform pan onto parchment paper and cut out the circle. Spray the pan, then place the circle in the pan and spray the circle as well.
- Using the whisk attachment of an electric stand mixer or hand beater beat the eggs and sugar until they are light and fluffy.
- Add the lemon zest, lemon juice, olive oil and vanilla extract and beat well.
- In another bowl, sift the flour, the baking powder and baking soda together and add to the sugar and egg mixture in two stages, mixing until just incorporated.
- Bake for 45 minutes or until the center of the cake no longer feels jiggly to the touch and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out with a few crumbs attached.
- In a small saucepan, heat the lemon juice, honey, and water until the mixture is hot and the honey is melted.
- Drizzle the glaze over the cake by the spoonful, making sure to evenly distribute the glaze throughout the whole cake, including the edges.
- After the cake has cooled, remove it from the springform pan and sift the powdered sugar on top of the cake with a small sieve or a small mesh strainer.
*A quick side note, I only had a 9″ springform pan, so my cake was thinner than Food52’s cake, thus I only baked the cake for about 30-35 minutes and it turned out perfect.