Olive Oil Grape Cake

Once upon a time a few years ago I randomly saw someone on TV make a grape cake. It was a quick, mini-cooking segment on a morning talk show. I can’t even remember who was hosting the show, who made the cake, or where I was when I watched it. All I can remember is that for years, the idea of making a cake with grapes has appealed to me. <— [unintentional pun]

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This happens a lot. I have a hugeee baking bucket list. I’ll want to make something for years sometimes before it actually happens. For example, I wanted to make rainbow cookies for probably 3 year before it actually happened. But then it did. And it was awesome.

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Anyways back to grape cake. It’s been on my baking bucket list for years. I believe the original one that I saw had ricotta and eggs and stuff. But I wanted a light, fluffy cake you could eat for breakfast. So I did my own lil twist on the grape cake by adding the lovely flavor of ALMONDS.

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I added almond extract, which I believe was a solid idea. In fact, I think this makes the cake. I went a step further by adding some leftover almond flour I had. This gave it a heartier texture of sorts. I dug it. If you’re not really into almonds, don’t have almond flour, or just want a plainer, simpler cake, feel free to omit either the almond extract, flour, or both. For those of you who are as nuts about nuts as I am and want them in this cake, go ahead and add.

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The grapes in the cake were very interesting. They got all cooked and juicy and played the same textural component chunks of apples do in apple cakes. Except it was a nice different surprise with a grapey flavor. Warm grapes are delicious, as it turns out (at least they were when I ate this fresh out of the oven and/or when I heated the cake up in the microwave later. Another thing I highly recommend).

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Instead of butter or non-dairy butter, I decided to use olive oil as my fat, to give it a luscious flavor and super moist texture. One of my favorite cakes ever is this Lemon Olive Oil Cake I made a while back for my sister’s bridal shower. Fun fact that post is my most-viewed post on kbaked.com. Dang now I want that cake. [Whispers to self, “Soon, my pet, soon.”] <—-did I just talk to myself on my blog? #awkward.

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In other news, you can and should make this cake. As far as cake-making goes, it’s super fast and easy. And it’s something different. Like DQ. Except DQ isn’t really that different. In fact, it’s pretty commercial and standard. Still delicious though. But not as #trendy or fun to talk about or healthy as this cake.

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Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Level: Easy

makes one 9 inch round cake

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup almond milk
  • 3 tablespoons orange juice or lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon vinegar (any kind will do)
  • 1 1/2 cup all purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup almond flour (can make in food processor with raw almonds) or 3/4 cup more all purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons almond extract (optional)
  • 1 cup fresh grapes
  • powder sugar for dusting as garnish (optional)

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

2. In a small bowl, combine almond milk and vinegar. Allow to curdle for at least 10 minutes. This is your pseudo-buttermilk.

3. In a large bowl, whisk olive oil and sugar. Set aside.

4. In another bowl, combine flours, salt, and baking powder. Whisk together until well combined. You can also sift if you’re fancy / your heart desires.

5. Add half of the flour mixture to the bowl with the olive oil & sugar mix. Fold in gently. Add half almond milk + vinegar mixture, orange or lemon juice, and almond extract. Fold gently until well combine. Add remaining half flour mixture and mix again until just combined.

6. Wash and dry grapes well. Pick them off the stem. I suppose you could leave them on the stem, but that would be a hassle later on.

7. Pour batter into one round 9 inch pan. Sprinkle 3/4ths cup grapes evenly on top of batter, leaving the other 1/4 cup aside. Place in the oven for 20. Add remaining 1/4th cup grapes by gently pressing them into semi-cooked batter. This step is optional, but will give you some grapes peeking out of the cake instead of having all of them sink. If you want them all to sink, that’s cool too. All up to you!

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8. Bake for another 10-12 minutes, until the cake is fragrant, has browned, and a toothpick comes out clean upon removal from the center of the cake.

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9. Dust with powdered sugar if you’d like. Eat and enjoy the grapey olive oily goodness !

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Watermelon Arugula Feta Salad with Mint

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This just might be my favorite salad of all times. Which is a bold statement, considering I eat and love a lot of salads.

If while reading the title of the recipe you felt a slight bit of skepticism, I don’t blame you. The first time I saw this on a menu at my beloved Le Pain Quotidian,  I was a bit hesitant to order it myself. Would the feta and watermelon work together? And with balsamic? I wondered. It seemed like a rather odd mash up of flavors. Luckily, my curiosity over-rid my timidness, and I selected the salad as my lunch entree.

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From the first forkful of watermelon and feta together, I couldn’t get enough of the pairing. Watermelon, sweet and lusciousness, physically and literally attracts dry, tangy, crumbly feta, and the two stick together to deliver a wild flavor explosion to the senses. What is extreme in each is balanced beautifully by the other, and the addition of peppery arugula, and a surprise element of fresh mint, add add up to a salad that with each bit leaves you eager for another, desperate for a change to figure out what dance of flavors is going on in your mouth.

Easy to assemble, this is a perfect summer salad for entertaining, even for a hesitant guest. Best made in summer when watermelon is in season, I served this at my sister’s bachelorette brunch this Saturday, but it makes a welcome and bold addition to any summer gathering, or a perfect solo lunch dish.

For the salad (below serves one as an entree; double for four people as a side dish)

  • 2 cups arugula
  • 3/4 cup watermelon, cubed
  • 1/4 cup feta
  • handful of fresh mint
  • optional: a quarter of a thinly sliced cucumber
  • optional: half a sliced heirloom tomato

Getting dressed:

  • one part (2-3 tablespoons) extra virgin olive oil
  • one part balsamic
  • salt and peper to taste

Directions:

  1. Combine arugula and watermelon cubes. Crumble feta over the two.
  2. Chop fresh mint, mix.
  3. If adding cucumber and tomato, chop and add to salad.
  4. Mix olive oil and balsamic in small separate bowl. Pour over salad.
  5. Add salt and cracked pepper to taste.
  6. Go to flavor heaven.

Simple as that. Serve among chewy fresh bread and enjoy what is to be your favorite summer dish.

xoxo,

-KBakes

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Fresh Berry Salad with Basil

I made this at my sister’s bachelorette party, and it’s a very easy and crowd-pleasing way to amp berries from plain to sophisticated by adding one simple thing: chopped fresh basil. You can use any berries you want, even other fruits like peaches or cherries, and add fresh basil. It adds a freshness and contrast to the sweetness, and adds a second dimension of flavor.  You can add lemon juice and sugar is you’d like, but this dish is magic even without it.

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For the salad:

  • 4 cups mixed (i used strawberries, bluberries and raspberries)
  • 1/4 cup chopped basil

Directions:

  • Wash berries! (produce is one of the top offenders for food borne illness! so this is a must!)
  • Chop berries that require chopping (like strawberries)
  • Give basil a fresh chop
  • Combine in bowl.

See? Easy, delicious, and loved by all. Make yourself seem fancy by simply adding basil to your berries.

Enjoy!

some snapshots from my sister’s bachelorette brunch

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This Saturday was my sister’s bachelorette party. We started in Milwaukee, meeting at my mom’s house for brunch, before heading to Chicago to have a nice dinner, hit the clubs, and ended the night giggling in hotel beds eating cake. Sunday we got up at a surprisingly reasonable hour, ordered room service, and walked all over Chicago in breezy sunshine, taking in some sights and sounds of some of Chicago’s amazing parks.

I’m posting some pics from the brunch and our walk around town. I’ll break these down into recipes soon!

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Per request, I made homemade carmel deLites again, only this time, I shaped them like teeth (my sister is in dental school) and dogs (because we are dog lovers!).

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Fresh berry salad:

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My favorite salad:

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The spread:

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Pea Pesto! (recipe soon!)

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Tartines:

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Here are some pics walking around Chicago with some fabulous ladies!:

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At the Bean in Chicago!

Had an AWESOME time with these ladies! 5 days til the wedding!

xoxo,

KBakes