I’ve actually never made anything with grapes before, nor have I really seen a dessert with grapes in it, so when I found myself with a bunch of red, seedless grapes, my initial thought was to make a frosted white cake cake with grape decorations. Then I thought, no I can do better.
My next thought was how about a galette (kind of a flat, free form pie), but then I knew I wanted to share it so maybe not. So I continued to think about what would go well with grapes and was inspired by a friend of ours who’s Italian – so voila: olive oil cake with grapes roasted inside with a honey sauce!
As you’ll see, I actually made mine into bars but this would be super easy and festive holiday dessert to make in a round, or even bundt, cake pan for your gathering! It’s a very moist cake because of the olive oil and the grapes provide a great pop of sweet juicy flavor as you bit into it. The honey with the ginger on top just makes the flavor sing a lovely Italian holiday tune.
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened, plus extra for greasing the pan
3/4 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup whole milk
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon lemon zest
1 cup small red seedless grapes
3 tablespoons honey
2 teaspoons ground ginger
1/2 cup small red seedless grapes
Juice from half a lemon
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Thoroughly grease the bottom and sides of a 9-inch cake pan.
To make the batter, in the bowl of an electric mixer, beat together the butter and sugar on high speed until they lighten in color, 5 to 8 minutes. Slowly beat in the eggs one at a time, then pour in the olive oil and milk and mix to combine.
In another bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder and salt. Pour the lemon zest over the flour mixture.
Remove the bowl from the mixer and use a rubber spatula to fold the dry mixture into the egg mixture. Fold in about 1 cup of the grapes. Stir only enough to blend and gently so as not to bruise or break too many grapes.
Pour the batter into the buttered pan and place it in the center of the oven. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, 40 to 45 minutes. Let it cool for about 10 minutes in the pan.
Meanwhile, combine the honey and ginger in a small saute pan. Bring to a light simmer over low heat. When it bubbles, thickens and turns light brown, 2 to 3 minutes, add the remaining 1/2 cup grapes and the juice from 1/2 of the lemon. Remove from the heat and allow to cool.
Serve slices of the cake with some of the grape-ginger sauce spooned over it.
Yield: 12 cake bars