On April 19th we paid homage to the 15 year release date anniversary of one of the funniest movies of all time; we marked the event with a bundt cake we feel is delicious enough to be called “keiki mori”. If you have seen My Big Fat Greek Wedding, then you know exactly where this is coming from, and why the original cake was adorned with flowers in the center. If you find yourself scratching your head, then pop some corn (or bake this cake), and settle in to watch this inflated (but not too inflated) representation of what growing up with Greek immigrant parents could be like. Trust us, Nia Vardalos, who wrote the screenplay and portrays Toula Portokalis in this movie, will become your new comedy hero.
Movie aside, this cake stands on its own merit. It is a favourite in our parents repertoire of desserts, in part because it contains no dairy, making it perfect for anyone who has a sensitivity to milk and butter. Not overly sweet, but rich with the taste of olive oil and the tang of lemon, this easy cake is a real treat.
This cake is really delicious on the day that it is baked, but even better the next day. This is helpful, because it means that you can pre-bake it for a special event (like Wednesday) without worrying that it won’t be at its best when you settle down to eat it a day or two later.
The key to the super simple glaze which you will use to top this cake, is ensuring that your cake is thoroughly cooled before adding the glaze. If you don’t, the heat from the cake will melt the glaze right off. That is sad. And wasteful. And sad. If you are in a rush and you need your cake to cook quickly, try popping it into the refrigerator for a bit.
If you have a bundt cake pan, wonderful. If you don’t, you can pour this batter into 2 loaf pans or a 9 inch round (or square) cake pan. We recommend however that you buy a bundt pan, because then you can stick a flower pot in the middle of your cake, and that is funny. In any case, if you alter the cake pan, be mindful that the baking times may vary slightly. In fact, the baking times may vary even if you use a bundt pan because every oven is slightly different, and every pan is different too. A good rule of thumb is to check this cake after approximately 30 – 35 minutes by inserting a toothpick into it. The toothpick should come out clean, or with a few crumbs clinging to it. If you have wet batter on your toothpick, the cake needs more time in the oven.
You may find that your cake does not look exactly like the ours does in the picture. This could be due to the pan that you use. Some pan surfaces just seem to brown the cake more than others. All varieties will be delicious, but on lighter cakes the white glaze may not be as visible. It will still taste wonderful however.
We find that the best way to grease your cake pan is to use cooking spray. If you don’t have cooking spray, soak a paper towel with some vegetable oil and grease the pan with that.
Prior to zesting the lemons for the cake batter, be sure to wash them thoroughly, and use organic lemons if possible. We like to use a citrus zester to remove the zest from our lemons. This little gadget is easy to use and ensures that you don’t get any of the white pith, which can be somewhat bitter, removed along with the zest. After you mix your batter, be sure that you carefully clean off the paddle or whisk attachment. You would be surprised at how these strands of zest can wrap themselves around the paddle, effectively removing themselves from the batter, which is where they belong.
The recipe for the glaze which follows should be used as a guide. It should result in a glaze which is thin enough to pour over the cake, but not so thin that it flows so quickly that it all slips off the cake. If you need to, make minor adjustments either by adding a bit more icing sugar, or a bit more lemon juice.
In My Big Fat Greek Wedding, the surname of the big fat Greek family is Portokalos, a name which is very similar to the Greek word for orange (portokali). So….to make this keiki mori, even more reminiscent of the movie, try replacing the freshly squeezed lemon juice in the cake recipe and the glaze with orange juice. We can call this version, The Sequel.
Mia Kouppa: Olive oil cake with Lemon
- 1 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 5 large eggs
- 1 tablespoon grated lemon zest
- 1/2 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1/2 cup Greek olive oil
- 2 cups all purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon brandy (optional)
- Vegetable oil or cooking spray to grease the bundt pan For the Glaze
- 3/4 cup confectioners sugar
- 3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Farenheit. Lightly grease a bundt pan.
- In the bowl of an electric mixer beat together the eggs, granulated sugar and the lemon zest. Beat on medium high speed for approximately 5 – 8 minutes, until the mixture is a pale golden colour and quite thick.
- Add the lemon juice and the olive oil. Beat until well combined.
- In a separate bowl combine the flour, baking powder and salt and mix well.
- Add the flour mixture to the beaten egg mixture and mix until just combined. If you will be using the brandy, add it at this point.
- Pour the batter into the prepared bundt pan and bake in the center rack of your oven for 35 – 40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
- Once your cake is baked, allow it to cool for at least 5 minutes, in the pan, on a wire rack.
- Then, remove from bundt pan and allow to cool completely. To make the glaze:
- Whisk together (by hand) the confectioners sugar and the lemon juice. The glaze should be thin enough to pour over the cake, but not so thin that it pours right off the cake. You can easily play around with the consistency by adding more sugar or more lemon juice as required.
- Pour the glaze over the completely cooled cake. Enjoy.