This Spanish cake is made with olive oil instead of butter. Use a mild olive oil and not extra virgin. If you only have extra virgin olive oil then heat the oil to boiling point and then let it cool before you use it in the recipe. Olive oil gives Spanish cakes a light texture and before you know it you might be trying it in other cake recipes as a substitute for butter, or at least using half and half.
Desserts in Spain are usually only for special occasions. Spain has an abundance of fruits all year round so it’s usual to have oranges, figs, chirmoyas, mangoes or other seasonal fruits after a meal.
The cake is simply delicious on its own but if you like you can combine other fruits with this light olive oil cake. It can be served with roasted peaches, apricots or plums. A piece of olive cake with any of these roasted fruits is simply delicious and if you’ve got some cream on hand… what more could you ask for!
So before I give you the recipe for this cake I want to share a few tips for cooking any cake in a Dutch Oven. The most important one is to cook it slow. Patience pays off with a moist well risen cake. Always grease and flour the inside of the Dutch oven. Position the oven on a tripod about 5’’ above the coals. Rotate the lid and pot in opposite directions every 10 minutes. When you first start cooking the cake, form a circle of coals around the pot about 4’’ away from it and only 1 or 2 coals under it. Form a circle of a few coals on the lid too and maybe 1 in the middle of the lid. The top and bottom of the cake are potential disaster areas if you use too many coals. If nothing seems to be happening after half an hour then you can always add more coals under the oven and move the circle closer. Its easier to increase the heat for an undercooked cake than have a cake that’s cooked too quickly with a burnt top and bottom. Another important tip is to insert a skewer regularly in all areas of the cake to see if its cooking evenly. This will give you more of an idea of where to move the coals to and from. Try to aim for the cake to be done in about 50 minutes. The more you try baking in a Dutch oven the more successful you’ll become. Practice makes perfect as they say and it could become an addictive pastime perfecting the perfect Dutch oven cake!
If you have little to no experience with a dutch oven, read this article.
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- • 2⅓ cups all purpose flour
- • 2 tsp baking soda
- • ½ tsp salt
- • 10 fluid ounces light olive oil
- • 6 eggs
- • 10 ounces castor sugar or ground granulated sugar (blitzed in a coffee grinder)
- • Juice and finely grated zest of 1 large orange or lemon
- • Fresh figs cut in half
- • Honey and ground cinnamon to taste
- • A dash of sherry or brandy (Optional)
- • Prepare the Dutch oven by greasing and flouring the inside.
- • Sieve the flour, baking soda and salt into a bowl.
- • Mix in all the other ingredients and beat until smooth.
- • Pour the mixture into the Dutch oven.
- • Place the coals as described above.
- • Check the cake with a skewer regularly.
- • Take off the coals when the skewer comes out clean and the cake has come away from the sides.
- • Leave to cool before turning out.
- For figs
- • Melt some butter with a touch of oil to prevent burning in a skillet.
- • Place the figs, flat side down in the pan and cook slowly.
- • After about 5 minutes add the honey, cinnamon and sherry or brandy.
- • When the figs are gooey but still keeping their shape remove from the skillet.
- • Serve hot or cold.