Peach “Oil and Vinegar Cake”

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Peach Oil and Vinegar Cake

When it comes to blogging there are two things that interest me most: unexpected flavor combinations and wordplay. I’m constantly looking for blog inspiration from these two muses. My favorite blog posts are born when both these lovely ladies show their faces at the same time. So when I saw an olive oil cake on Food52 that included an unlikely splash of golden balsamic vinegar in the ingredient list I took notice. It didn’t take long for the phrase “oil and vinegar cake” to pop into my head. Once it did I knew a blog post was in the making.

Oil and Vinegar Cake?

Oil and vinegar is a classic flavor combination. It’s typically drizzled onto leafy greens – but oil and vinegar cake – that’s new territory! It’s not, however, unprecedented.

Sure vinegar seems like an odd ingredient for dessert. Puckery flavors tend to be appetite stimulators. This cake may contain vinegar, but it is not puckery. In fact, it’s quite rich and moist. That’s because it’s an olive oil and vinegar cake. Though I’d be willing to bet you could hardly guess that vinegar was the secret ingredient in this cake.

So why add it all?

Well, I’m no chemist but I do know that cakes (etc) with strongly acidic ingredients such as applesauce, buttermilk, honey, brown sugar, molasses, cream of tartar, lemon juice, or vinegar can sometimes fail to rise properly when baking powder alone is used as leavening. I’m sure you’ve made cakes in the past that inexplicably dipped in the center– we all have. It could be that the pan was overfilled. Cakes that rise too far and too fast above the rim often cave in on themselves before they’ve finished baking. However, the more likely culprit is improper leavening. Too much leavening and your cake dips in the center. Too little and the cake domes dramatically. I realize that’s counterintuitive, but I promise I wrote that correctly (like I said, cakes that rise too fast often cave in on themselves).

Butter and eggs can be beaten full of air to act as natural (non-chemical) leaveners, which add an assist to the baking powder. Or you can use baking soda. If you’ve ever built a grade school volcano I’m sure you understand the exchange between the vinegar and baking soda. It’s a baking technique used by Depression-era cooks when ingredients like butter were hard to come by.

So there you have it. Oil and Vinegar Cake. It’s certainly a fun play on words. But I have to ask, is it such an unexpected combination after all? GREG

Peach Olive Oil CakePeach Olive Oil Cake

Peach and Rosemary Olive Oil Cake with Golden Balsamic Vinegar

Print This Recipe Total time Yield 8-10Source Adapted from IndieculinaryPublished

Ingredients

  • cooking spray (as needed)
  • 3 ripe but firm peaches (peeled, pitted and cut into ½-inch dice)
  • ¼ cup brown sugar
  • ½ cup golden balsamic vinegar (divided)
  • 2/3 cup (plus 1 tablespoon) extra-virgin olive oil (divided)
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • ½ cup buttermilk
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon minced rosemary
  • whipped cream (for serving)

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Spray a 9×4-inch loaf pan with cooking spray. Line the bottom parchment paper; spray the paper too.

Prepare the peach topping: Spread the diced peaches evenly across the bottom of the prepared loaf pan. Press them gently to compact, however, don’t smash the peaches. Set aside.

Combine the brown sugar, ¼ cup golden balsamic vinegar, 1 tablespoon olive oil, and honey in a stainless steel saucepan. Set the pan over medium-high heat and bring to a boil, whisking frequently. Lower the heat to medium-low and simmer, about 10 minutes, until reduced to a syrup. Remove from heat and let cool slightly, then pour carefully over the peaches. Don’t overfill with syrup. Stop when the syrup is almost level with the top of the peaches.

Make the cake batter: In a medium bowl, whisk together granulated sugar, buttermilk, remaining ¼ cup vinegar, and eggs.

In a separate large bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and rosemary.

Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients in three additions; mixing well between each addition. Similarly, add the remaining 2/3 cup olive oil in three additions until well combined.

Carefully pour the batter over the peaches. Pour slowly enough so as not to disturb the peaches in syrup.

Bake the cake: Move the pan to the heated oven and bake for 15 minutes. Turn oven temperature down to 325 degrees and bake for an additional 30-40 minutes, until a tester inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean but moist. Rotate the pan halfway through baking.

Let cake cool in pan for 10 minutes, then run a knife between the cake and the pan to make sure it is completely loosened, then let cool completely on a wire rack. Once cool turn the cake out onto a serving plate and peel off the parchment if necessary. If some of the peaches become dislodged gently replace them on top.

Serve with a dollop of whipped cream on each serving.

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