makes about 1 loaf; about 8 servings
At our restaurants, Felidia, Becco, and Frico Bar we regularly welcome young students from the culinary schools into our kitchens to serve their externship. It is a particularly rewarding to share with young eager minds one’s knowledge and passion of a profession. This recipe, with slight modifications, was shared with me by Sally Posmentier, the grandmother of Ross Posmentier who apprenticed with us at Felidia for several months. He was an enthusiastic, talented young man who should excel in our profession.
I particularly like this recipe because it reminds me of the olive oil based cakes my grandmother used to make. Olive oil can be used as the shortening in many baked goods, where it adds flavor as well as tenderness.
- 1 cup extra virgin olive oil, plus more for the bread pan
- 2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour, plus more for the bread pan
- 2 teaspoons cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 3 large eggs
- 1 2/3 cup sugar
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 2 cups shredded trimmed fancy (small, firm) zucchini
- 1 cup chopped walnuts
- 3/4 cup golden raisins
- Grated zest (yellow part only without underlying white pith) of 1 lemon
Place the rack in the center position in the oven and preheat the oven to 325 F. Lightly brush a 9 x 5 x 3-inch loaf pan with olive oil. Sprinkle the inside of the pan with flour and tap the pan to coat evenly. Tap out any excess flour. Sift 2 cups of the flour, the cinnamon, salt and baking soda together into a small bowl.
In a large bowl with an electric mixer, beat the eggs and 1 cup olive oil until well blended. Gradually add the sugar while continuing to beat until the mixture is foamy and pale yellow and the sugar is dissolved. Beat in the vanilla.
Add the dry ingredients to the egg mixture and beat at low speed just until blended. Don’t over mix. Add the zucchini, 3/4 cup of the walnuts, the raisins and lemon zest and fold in with a rubber spatula until evenly distributed. Transfer the batter to the prepared bread pan, scraping all the batter out of the bowl with a rubber spatula. Spread the batter evenly into the pan and sprinkle the remaining 1/4 cup walnuts over the top.
Bake until the cake is risen above the sides of the pan and a wooden skewer or cake tester inserted into the center of the cake is removed clean, about 1 hour and 10 minutes. Cool the cake on a wire rack 20 to 30 minutes.
Remove the cake from the pan by inverting the pan onto a kitchen towel. Continue cooling the cake, right side up, on the wire rack until completely cool before slicing. The cake can be wrapped tightly in plastic wrap and stored in a refrigerator for up to 5 days.