I've been thinking all week about how to bring this whole NaBloPoMo thing to a close, whether I should bang out one last reader request post, or reflect on just how lovely it was for me to be here every day this month. (It was very lovely.) But in the end, all I really want to do today is thank you. And feed you cake.
This is Alice Medrich's sherry and olive oil pound cake. I've never baked a boozy cake before, and for some reason I thought that most of the alcohol would burn right off, the way it does in cooking. I was mistaken about that. I discovered my error at approximately 1:25pm today when, after consuming two slices in rapid succession, my head felt suddenly swimmy. This cake is festive, shall we say, soaked and squidgy with a FULL CUP of sherry. (Though I am a terrible lightweight, so it's possible that you won't find it nearly as strong.) The dimpled crust has a crunch to it; the crumb is tight and rosy. It's scented with orange zest and as the cake baked, I could smell winter coming.
Thank you for a great November, everyone. I've loved spending this month with you.
Sherry and Olive Oil Pound Cake
Adapted from Pure Desserts by Alice Medrich
You have your choice of pans for this cake. The recipe makes enough for one 10- to 12-inch tube or Bundt pan, or for two 5- to 6-cup loaf pans. In her recipe notes, Alice Medrich says something about toasted slices for breakfast, so I went with the loaves, naturally. She also says that the cake improves over a day or two. It's very good today just a few hours out of the oven, so I'm looking forward to that.
The recommended sherry for this recipe is a medium sherry called Amontillado. I had only Pedro Ximénex on hand (thanks to this recipe), which is sweeter, but I went ahead and used it and reduced the sugar by ¼ cup. No problem.
3 cups all-purpose flour
¼ teaspoon salt
1¾ cups sugar
1 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Zest from 1 medium orange
5 cold eggs
1 cup sweet sherry (Amontillado or Pedro Ximénex; see headnote)
Position a rack in the lower third of the oven and heat to 350 degrees. Oil and flour the pan(s), or line the loaf pans with parchment.
Sift the flour, baking powder, and salt into a medium bowl.
Put the sugar and the zest into the bowl of a stand mixer and mix with your fingertips, breaking up any clumps of zest as you go. Fit the mixer with the whisk attachment, add the oil, and beat on medium-high speed until well-blended. Beat in the eggs one at a time, waiting until each one is fully incorporated before adding the next. Continue to beat for 3-5 minutes, until the mixture is thick and pale.
Add a third of the flour, beat on low until just blended, half of the sherry, beat again on low until just blended, then repeat until all of the flour and sherry are incorporated. (Flour, sherry, flour, sherry, flour.)
Scrape the batter into the pan(s). Bake until a tester comes out clean, about 60 minutes, and the top is nicely browned. Cool the cake in the pan(s) on a rack for 15 minutes. Then, slide a knife around the sides of the pan(s) to release the cake(s), and turn out on the rack to cool completely.