For my best friend Sam’s 25th birthday, I wanted to bake her a special cake. It had to reflect the beautiful person that I know her to be in just the right ways.
Sam is such a special friend to me and I cherish her companionship in this life so much. She has been there for me in so many dark and questionable times without hesitation and for that I am so grateful and can never truly repay her. It has been such a fun journey watching her grow into herself, she is one of the funniest and most curious people I know, with an unending love for plants, nature and life and a penchant for the mystic, you never know what you’re going to learn or get into with her as the days go by. She never ceases to surprise me and I adore that about her. Plus, she forces me to be social (which I need so badly) while at other times we love to just sit and binge watch the beauty of Chef’s Table or Anthony Bourdain and snuggle on the couch.
I chose to make her the famous Olive Oil Cake from NYC restaurant, Maialino. The cake stands tall and golden with a crisp crust on the outside and a one-baby-step-beyond-pudding perfumed center. I left it mostly naked because it is beautiful and strong all on its own and needs no supporting characters. I added a crown of bright pink ruby red grapefruit soaked in a honey-thyme-grapefruit syrup for extra elegance and a pop of freshness.
Cheers to 25, girl! Love you!
Maialino’s Olive Oil Cake
Recipe from Food52
- 2 cups all purpose flour
- 1 3/4 cups sugar
- 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 1/3 cups extra virgin olive oil
- 1 1/4 cup whole milk
- 3 large eggs
- 1 1/2 tablespoons grated orange zest
- 1/4 cup fresh orange juice
- 1/2 cup Grand Marnier
For the Garnish:
- 2 ruby red grapefruit, supremed, juice squeezed from cores and reserved
- 1/4 cup honey
- 2 large sprigs thyme
- pinch of salt
To begin, preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a 9 inch springform pan with parchment paper and thoroughly grease with room-temperature butter.
In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking soda and powder and salt. In another bowl, whisk together the eggs, olive oil, milk, orange zest and juice and the Grand Marnier. Add the dry ingredients to the wet and whisk until well combined and smooth.
Pour into the prepared pan and bake in the 350 degree oven for one hour, until a cake tester inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. It will have a nice, crisp, golden crust. Let cool in the pan 30 minutes before popping it out and transferring it to a rack, allowing it to cool completely.
To make the garnish, add the reserved grapefruit juice, honey and thyme to a small pot and bring to simmer. Reduce until the mixture is thick and syrupy, about 5 minutes over medium heat. Strain over the grapefruit segments, add a small pinch of salt and let sit for at least 30 minutes.
When the cake is cool, spoon the grapefruit segments and their syrup over the cake and enjoy!