I was a sticky kid. One of those second graders with long, stringy light brown hair that was always in my face. I used to eat popsicles on the back patio (I was — and still am — a total Spiller and was not allowed to eat drippy foods in the house. It wasn’t mean, it was just good house policy. If I had a popsicle today, I would banish myself to my own roof.) So I would take my popsicle, or watermelon, or whatever, onto the back porch where I could spill freely. The popsicle would melt and the sugary syrup would run down my arm, and then the wind would blow and my hair would stick to the syrup and a little dirt would get on there. It would be on my palm, so when I brushed my hair out of my face, the syrup was all over all the important parts of my face, and in my hair. The dirt part sounds like I am probably making it up, like I grew up in a dustbowl or something. But I guess my hometown was dusty? And the wind was always blowing. It’s how we won Worst Hair in America — combo heat, humidity, and wind. (!!!) Anyway, hair and dirt would stick to my popsicle drippings, and I would try to eat them anyway. It was gross, and I was sticky.
In a lot of ways, I’m still a sticky kid: I usually have sour patch kids in my purse, I love nerds rope, even though everyone else thinks they’re gross, and yesterday I accidentally dipped my hair in my little on-the-side salad dressing container at work. But I am over super sugary desserts. That drippy frozen stick of sugar we used to call a popsicle has nothing on a nice, subtly sweet cake with a little dab of lemon curd on the side. It’s tangy, it’s got great texture, and it won’t rot your teeth out.
As an only sometimes-baker, this cake blew my mind. It doesn’t use butter or vegetable oil, or even crisco — it’s all olive oil. It felt like I was breaking a rule. But the cake came out lightly sweet, fluffy, and not too oily. It was a perfect breakfast with a scoop of plain yogurt; and with the dollop of lemon curd, it made for a tangy dessert.
- 2 eggs
- ½ c. granulated sugar
- Zest from 1 lemon
- Pinch salt
- ⅓ c. tawny port wine
- ⅓ c. milk
- ¾ c. olive oil, plus more to grease the pan
- 1 T. baking powder
- 1½ c. all-purpose flour
- ½ c. fresh-squeezed lemon juice
- ⅓ c. granulated sugar
- 2 eggs
- 2 egg yolks
- Pinch of salt
- ½ c. (1 stick) unsalted butter
- Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Beat the eggs and sugar with a whisk until pale and foamy. Whisk in the lemon zest, salt, wine, milk, and olive oil.
- In a second bowl, whisk together the baking powder and flour, and slowly fold the mix into the wet ingredients.
- Grease a 9-inch springform pan with olive oil and pour in batter. Bake for 50 minutes. Let the cake cool completely before taking it out of the pan. Serve with lemon curd for dessert, or yogurt for breakfast.
- Whisk together juice, sugar, eggs and salt in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Continue whisking until the egg yolks have thickened the mixture. Joy says it's ready when it "go[es] from smelling like citrus to smelling distinctly like lemon curd." Then turn off the heat and whisk in butter.
- Store in an air-tight container in the fridge. Lemon curd will keep up to 4 days this way.