Have you eaten at Chez Panisse in Berkeley, California? It’s one of the best-loved restaurants in the country, long known for its delicious use of and advocacy for local, seasonal ingredients. I’ve not (yet!) eaten there, so I make do with the Chez Panisse Menu Cookbook, a treasure of beautiful recipes that is particularly fun to leaf through right about now, when Minnesota produce can give California’s a run for its money. (Almost.)
This cake is fun for a dinner party, when you can serve the Sauternes used in the cake right alongside it. The cake has a soft, springy texture, with a marvelous hint of booziness. Fresh peaches nicely complement the peachy notes in Sauternes.
In the spirit of the book, local plums would be delicious in place of peaches. Serve them very ripe in slices or saute them with a little butter and sugar and spoon them warm over the cake. As you might guess, you can’t really go wrong with fruit, cake, softly whipped cream, and wine.
Photo by Stephanie Meyer
Photo by Stephanie Meyer
Olive Oil & Sauternes Cake with Peaches
Adapted from the Chez Panisse Menu Cookbook by Alice Waters
5 eggs plus 2 egg whites
3/4 c. sugar
2 Tbsp. grated lemon rind
1 c. sifted flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 c. good quality Sauterness
1/2 c. plus 2 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
1 c. heavy whipping cream, whipped to soft peaks and sweetened with 2 tsp. of sugar
3 ripe peaches, peeled and diced
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Line the bottom of an 8-inch spring-form pan with parchment paper, then thoroughly butter the entire pan and paper. (Note: I used a 9-inch nonstick round cake pan with good result.)
Separate the 5 eggs into two bowls—the yolks into a large mixing bowl, the whites into the bowl of a stand-up mixer. Using a wire whisk, beat the egg yolks with the sugar for 3-5 minutes until light-colored. Add the lemon rind and salt. Using the same whisk, slowly add the flour bit by bit to the egg yolk mixture. Slowly whisk in the Sauternes and olive oil. Set aside.
Using a stand-up mixer (or electric beaters), beat the 5 egg whites and 2 additional egg whites until they stand in stiff peaks. Thoroughly fold them into the egg yolk mixture.
Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Bake for 20 minutes, rotating the cake if necessary to ensure even cooking. After 20 minutes, lower the oven temperature to 325F and bake for another 20 minutes. Then turn the oven off and leave the cake in the closed oven for 10 minutes more while the cake deflates like a fallen souffle.
Remove the cake from the oven. Invert the cake onto a flat surface, remove the sides of the spring-form pan. (If you baked it in a 9-inch cake pan, run a knife around the sides of the cake and invert.) Peel off the parchment paper and discard. Cool cake completely. Serve at room temperature with fresh peaches and softly whipped cream. (Store cake wrapped tightly and chilled.)