The oil in this simple apple cake — from Angela Ranalli, pastry chef at Le Virtu in Philadelphia — makes it moist and tender. The butter crumb topping adds a nice crunch.
Serve it plain or with a dollop of sweetened whipped cream.
ANGELA'S OLIVE OIL APPLE CAKE
For the apples
1/4 cup sugar
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
2 medium or 3 small tart apples, peeled, cored and thinly sliced (8 ounces sliced)
For the cake
Scant 1 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for coating the pan
4 large eggs
2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2/3 cup fresh orange juice
2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
For the topping
1 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 1/4 cups sugar
1 to 2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
16 tablespoons (2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into small pieces, at room temperature
For the apples: Whisk together the sugar and cinnamon in a mixing bowl. Add the apple slices; toss gently but thoroughly so the slices are well coated.
For the cake: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Use a little oil to grease a 9-by-13-inch baking pan.
Whisk together the eggs, sugar and vanilla extract in a mixing bowl. Pour in the scant cup of oil and the orange juice, whisking until well combined.
Whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt in a separate bowl, then add to the wet ingredients, whisking until smooth.
Pour half of the batter into the baking pan. Gently arrange the apple slices over the batter in a single layer, overlapping them slightly. (You might not need all of the apple slices.) Pour the remaining batter over the apples and use a flexible spatula to smooth and even out the batter. Bake for 30 minutes; the cake will not be done.
Meanwhile, make the topping: Combine the flour, sugar, cinnamon (to taste) and salt in a mixing bowl. Distribute the pieces of butter around the bowl; use your fingers to work the mixture into large crumbs, making sure all of the butter is well incorporated.
Remove the cake from the oven (after 30 minutes); immediately sprinkle the topping evenly over the surface of the cake. Bake for 20 to 30 minutes, until the topping is golden brown and a cake tester or toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.
Transfer the cake (in the baking pan) to a wire rack to cool for 1 hour before serving.
Nutrition per serving: calories 560, total fat 28 g, saturated fat 10 g, cholesterol 90 mg, sodium 250 mg, total carbohydrates 73 g, dietary fiber 1 g, sugar 49 g, protein 5 g