I love a snacking cake just as much as the next person. Nothing brightens my day more than ending lunch or picking up after a late afternoon slump than with a satisfying square of sponge. Easy joys have become deeply appreciated during our pandemic era, yet after 2 years of being inundated with overly simplistic recipes tailored to fit into the mundanity of the everyday we’ve been confined to, it feels like it’s adequate timing for a rebirth– a renewal if you will, of the snacking cake concept.
Now that we’ve started to venture out again, have guests over, or dare I say travel (knock on wood), why can’t we assign a bit more thought and add some life back into our recipes again? I’m not saying layer cakes should take place of our new-found obsession with snacking cakes, but a happy medium of effort is achievable and worthy of this new kinda, sorta, post-pandemic phase.
Enter: the casual occasion cake. Not quite flamboyant or painstaking enough to deem celebratory, but still exceptional compared to what one may enjoy on a more daily basis. The casual occasion we happen to think this beautifully simple, yet just a touch bit extra cake is perfect for? Mother's Day brunch! It's unique enough to bring the special flair your family brunch spread calls for, yet it requires no more than an hour's worth of minimal effort in the kitchen. And not to say Mother's Day isn't worthy of an elaborate bake, but when it comes to filling out your brunch spread, you need a cake that allows time to prepare the rest of your menu, ie; no mixer required.
We elevated the snacking cake recipe by using one of our favorite flours, semolina, Kyoord High-phenolic EVOO, and some fruity (and beautiful!) pink peppercorn macerated strawberries, making it truly occasion-worthy. Don't have fresh strawberries at the market yet? Frozen are fine, but get creative and substitute your Mom's personal favorite fruits, spices, or herbs to make it yours (for her to enjoy of course!).
Strawberry and Pink Peppercorn Olive Oil Cake
A simple snack cake is taken to the next level, without the additional effort required in elevating a recipe from everyday to exceptional. This glistening, berry-studded beauty will satisfy everyone at table, and takes no more than a few minutes of prep. Perfect for Mother's Day brunch, but also for curing the midday slump that hits right before your 3 o'clock meeting. Customizable and quick, don't be afraid to substitute whichever fruit or spices you have on hand!
1 1/2 cups of thinly sliced strawberries
1 1/4 cups of granulated sugar, divided
1 tsp salt, divided
3/4 cup kyoord High-phenolic Olive Oil + more for greasing the pan
1 1/2 cups of all-purpose flour
1/2 cup of semolina flour
3/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
3 large eggs
2 large egg yolks
1/2 cup of full-fat greek yogurt or sour cream
2 tbsp of Meyer lemon zest (or whatever citrus you have on hand)
3 tbsp of fresh Meyer lemon juice (or whatever citrus you have on hand)
1 tbsp of crushed pink peppercorn, divided
Preheat the oven to 350°.
Prepare a 10" springform pan, or 9x13" rectangular pan by lightly brushing with olive oil. Line the bottom of the pan with a layer of parchment, then brush the parchment with olive oil lightly as well. Sprinkle the pan with 2 tbsp of granulated sugar, rotating the pan while you do to generously coat the sides and the base. Tap out the extra.
In a large bowl, toss the sliced berries, 2 tbsp of sugar, 1/2 tsp of salt, 1 tsp of crushed pink peppercorn, and 1 tbsp of lemon zest. Put aside while you prepare the batter.
In a large bowl, whisk together the all purpose flour, semolina flour, baking powder, baking soda, 1 cup of sugar, 1 tsp of crushed pink peppercorn and 1/2 tsp of salt.
In a separate mixing bowl, thoroughly whisk the eggs, the egg yolks, yogurt, remaining lemon zest, and juice.
Pour the dry ingredients overtop of the wet, and fold the batter together gently till smooth and no lumps of flour remain.
Pour the olive oil into the mixture, and gently fold the oil into the batter till all of the oil is fully incorporated and the batter is homogenous.
Pour 1/2 of the batter into the sugar-coated pan. Add a single layer of sliced strawberries, using about half of them. Pour the remaining batter over top of the layer, spreading with a spatula to create an even surface.
Using the remaining strawberries, top the cake with another single layer. Some overlap is fine-- get artistic! Sprinkle overtop the last 1 tsp of crushed pink peppercorn and 1 tbsp of granulated sugar.
Bake the cake for 40-50 minutes until it develops a golden brown crust, and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.