Use either regular olive oil or extra virgin for this recipe. Extra virgin olive oil provides a slightly stronger olive oil flavor. I like to use a combination of ½ cup extra virgin olive oil and ¼ cup light olive oil.
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- 1 cup sifted cake flour
- 1 tablespoon freshly grated lemon zest (about 1 large lemon)
- ¾ cup olive oil
- 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice (about 1 large lemon)
- 5 large eggs, separated (you will use 5 egg yolks and 4 egg whites for this recipe. The remaining egg white may be discarded or reserved for another use.)
- ¾ cup granulated sugar, divided
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1½ tablespoons granulated sugar
- ¼ cup packed basil leaves
- 1 cup whipping (heavy) cream
- 2 to 3 tablespoons confectioners’ (powdered) sugar
- Confectioners’ (powdered) sugar
- Fresh berries
- In a small mixing bowl, combine flour and lemon zest; whisk together to mix. Set aside.
- In a small bowl, combine olive oil and lemon juice; stir together to mix. Set aside.
- In a large bowl of an electric mixer add the 5 egg yolks. Using the whisk attachment beat egg yolks 3 to 5 minutes on medium-high speed until the egg foam becomes thick and lemon colored. With the mixer on medium speed, slowly add ½ cup of the sugar to the eggs, either one tablespoon at a time, or in a very slow steady stream, taking from 4 to 5 minutes to add all of the sugar, and beating until the eggs and sugar are fully incorporated. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula so the mixture blends evenly. The mixture will be thick and a pale yellow color.
- With the mixer on medium speed, slowly pour the olive oil mixture into the batter in a slow steady stream, and then continue mixing for another 1 minute until well blended.
- Remove the bowl from the mixer. Using a balloon type whisk or large rubber spatula, fold the flour mixture into the eggs, using about 3 to 4 turns with each addition of flour, and making sure to reach to the bottom of the bowl as you fold. Do not worry about incorporating all the flour until the last addition, as too much handling will deflate the batter. The flour should be added quickly in 2 to 3 additions.
- In another large mixing bowl and using clean beaters, beat the 4 egg whites with an electric mixer until foamy. Add the salt, and beat until soft peaks just begin to form. Add the remaining ¼ cup sugar; continue beating until the peaks are still soft and shiny, but stop before reaching stiff peaks. Using a balloon type wire whisk or large rubber spatula, gently fold about ¼ of the beaten egg whites into the batter to lighten the batter, and then fold in the remaining egg whites just until incorporated, do not over mix.
- Topping: Spoon the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the surface with the back of a large spoon. Gently rap the pan once or twice against the work surface to release air bubbles. Sprinkle the top of the batter evenly with 1½ tablespoons granulated sugar.
- Bake: Bake 35 minutes or until the cake is golden brown on top and springs back when lightly touched and a wooden toothpick or skewer inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean. Remove from the oven and place on a wire cooling rack to cool. Let cool for 10 minutes then run a thin knife around the edge of the pan, gently pressing into the side of the pan to avoid gouging the cake. Remove the sides of the springform pan. Place the cake on the wire cooling rack to finish cooling.
- Rinse and drain the basil leaves. Chop or tear the leaves into small pieces. Set aside.
- In a small heavy-bottomed pan add the whipping cream and heat over medium heat just until the cream begins to simmer. Turn off the heat and add the basil leaves. Cover the pan and let cream and basil steep for about 30 minutes.
- Pour the cream through a mesh strainer into a medium-sized bowl to remove the basil leaves, discard the leaves.
- Cover the cream and refrigerate 6 to 8 hours or overnight.
- Using an electric mixer, beat the chilled infused cream until soft mounds form; gradually add the sugar, continue beating until thick and stiff. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
- Sprinkle the top of each cake piece with confectioners’ sugar and serve with whipped cream and fresh berries.