Last week I attended the International Food Blogger Conference (IFBC). Such a fun time out in Sacramento, the farm to fork capital. One of the preconference excursions was a trip to Cobram Estate and a visit with the California Olive Oil Council. Cobram was named the World’s Healthiest Extra Virgin Olive Oil at the 2017 Health & Food EVOO Awards Competition in Spain. Their specialty is cold pressed juice that is not processed and does not contain chemicals or additives. They have exclusive harvesting and crushing techniques. One key item for them is using olives at the peak of freshness and pressing them within four to six hours of being picked from the branch. This makes the most flavorful, healthy, antioxidant-rich and freshest olive oil. I will say I sampled two day old olive oil and I am a believer! Holy cow that was so good!
The California Olive Oil Council (COOC) is a trade association with the mission of encouraging the consumption of certified California extra virgin olive oil through education, outreach and communications. The COOC has grown to represent over 90% of the olive oil production in California. CBS did a report on the olive oil fraud coming from Italy, and how most of it isn’t as pure as what we think. Quite an interesting watch if you haven’t seen it. I’m now convinced why the council is needed.
The tour gave us the full olive harvest experience and explained the journey from tree to table. After tasting a few samples, what we learned is that the flavor of extra virgin olive oil can be buttery and soft, or spicy and sharp. It can be reminiscent of pepper, lemon or grass. Thanks to California’s range of growing conditions and olive varieties, there truly is a California extra virgin olive oil to suit every palate. I’m looking forward to making a return trip just to try other oils.
And as a side note, high quality extra virgin olive oil provides the best health benefits and flavor when it’s fresh. Extra virgin olive oil should be purchased within 12 to 18 months of its harvest date, and should be used up within six months of opening. Be sure to store it in a cool, dark place for best results.
So after all the olive oil education and love of the flavor, we decided to go ahead and try an olive oil carrot cake. We started with a base recipe from Cobram and made a few modifications to suit our taste buds. This cake would be great any time of the year, but we decorated it for a lovely fall dessert.
I hope you like the cake as much as we do. It’s a simple, delicious carrot cake recipe. Please give it a try and let us know how it goes.
Olive Oil Carrot Cake
- 3 eggs - room temperature
- 1/3 cup buttermilk - room temperature
- 1 1/2 cups olive oil
- 2 cups sugar
- 3 cups AP flour
- 1 tablespoon cinnamon
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 pound carrots peeled and grated
- 3 cups powdered sugar
- 1 pound Philadelphia cream cheese
- 6 oz olive oil
- Preheat oven to 325°F
- Oil and flour two 8" round pans
- In a stand mixer, combine eggs and buttermilk on medium speed. Slowly stream in oil.
- Stream in the sugar and mix until thick and foamy on high speed. This will become a pale lemon yellow in color.
- In a separate bowl, whisk flour, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda and salt together. Slowly add into the stand mixer and continue mixing.
- Once combined, add carrots and mix until just incorporated.
- Spread into the 8" pans, and bake for 45-55 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Remove from oven and let cool
- In a stand mixer, cream the powdered sugar with cream cheese until combined.
- Slowly stream in the olive oil until incorporated
- Once cakes have cooled, remove from pan and decorate with the frosting.