Cooking Classes at the Culinary Institute of America … And a Recipe for Lemon Olive Oil Cake with Blueberry Compote

Any time I can go to Napa Valley — for business or for pleasure — I jump at the opportunity. When the Food & Culinary Professionals (a sub group of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics) announced plans for a culinary workshop at the Culinary Institute of America, I think I was the first dietitian to sign up! On this week’s Cooking with the Moms podcast, I share the delicious details from my trip, and I serve up two new recipes: this one for Lemon Olive Oil Cake with Blueberry Compote and another one for gluten-free quinoa guacamole.

This olive oil cake may seem rich and decadent, but according to a new study on the benefits of a Mediterranean diet, eating EVOO every day can help to protect against cardiovascular disease and stroke.

The Culinary Institute of America has amazing facilities for classes with tiered seating and video screens. Hmmmm. And I thought the big island in my new kitchen was impressive!

What fun to start the day with an extra virgin olive oil (AKA fresh fruit juice) tasting. Heat and light are enemies of EVOO, so be sure to always store it in a cool, dark place.

The sweetness of the blueberry compote adds a luscious, family-pleasing flavor element to this awesome dessert.

Lemon Olive Oil Cake with Blueberry Compote

Makes 12 Servings

I ate lemon cake like this one at the Culinary Institute of America at Greystone, and it was so delicious that knew I wanted to make it when I got home. When I looked at the recipe and saw 2 cups of sugar, 1½ cups of oil, and all white flour, I felt a mini makeover was in order, so I cut the oil and sugar in half and replaced half the white flour with whole wheat flour. I also created a blueberry compote for an added burst of great nutrition. To make this cake even prettier, sprinkle with powdered sugar before serving.

Cake

  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 3/4 cup low-fat vanilla yogurt
  • 3/4 cup 1% low-fat milk
  • 3 tablespoons lemon zest (from about 2 lemons)
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

Blueberry Compote

  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 2 cups frozen wild blueberries
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar 
  • Powdered sugar, optional

1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly oil or coat a 9-inch springform cake pan with nonstick cooking spray or butter and set aside. (If you don’t have a springform pan, use a 10-inch cake pan and cook about 5 to 10 minutes less.)

2. Whisk together the eggs and granulated sugar in a large bowl. Add the olive oil, yogurt, milk, lemon zest, and lemon juice and whisk until well combined.

3. In a separate bowl, whisk together the all-purpose flour, whole wheat flour, baking powder, and salt until combined. Make a well in the dry ingredients, and slowly add the liquid ingredients, stirring until just combined and lumps are gone. (You may need to use a rubber scraper to smoosh the lumps against the sides of the bowl.) Do not overmix.

4. Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Bake for 45 to 50 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean and the cake is just pulling away from the sides of the pan. Transfer the pan to a wire rack and cool for 10 minutes. Remove the cake to a serving platter.

5. To make the blueberry compote, place the lemon juice and cornstarch in a small bowl and whisk until well combined. Set aside. Place the blueberries, water, and sugar in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat, add the cornstarch mixture, and simmer, stirring constantly, until the mixture thickens, about 3 minutes.

6. Serve each cake slice with the compote, and sprinkle with powdered sugar as desired.

Nutrition Information per Serving (1 slice with 1½ tablespoons compote): 320 calories, 16g fat (2.5g saturated), 200mg sodium, 41g carbohydrate, 2g fiber, 5g protein, 10% calcium

In the “before” recipe, each slice has 500 calories, 30 grams total fat, 5 grams saturated fat, and 55 grams carbohydrate.

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Every time I go to a culinary workshop at the Culinary Institute at Greystone in Napa Valley, I want to stay forever. It’s a food lover’s paradise :)

6 Responses to “Cooking Classes at the Culinary Institute of America … And a Recipe for Lemon Olive Oil Cake with Blueberry Compote”

  1. Michelle on March 5th, 2013

    This looks delicious! I will be making this over the weekend. Thanks for cutting out a lot of the fat and making it healthier. I feel better about making it this way.

  2. Sandi on April 16th, 2013

    I made this once with the compote and once with just sprinkling powdered sugar through a paper doily. I served the latter one as my mothers birthday cake.. It was perfect… most times frosted cakes never get finished in our house . Not a crumb is left of this one.

  3. Liz on April 21st, 2013

    Happy birthday to your mom! Glad everyone loved it.

  4. Jill on May 17th, 2013

    Flavored yogurt, like vanilla, usually has a fair amount of sugar added. Do you think plain yogurt, or my favorite -buttermilk- would work here? And if using plain yogurt, do you think the cake would like a bit of vanilla?
    I know sugar does more to recipes than just add sweetness, so maybe it’s needed here.
    Thanks,
    Jill

  5. Rachel on May 17th, 2013

    I also went to the CIA presentation kitchen for the first time and was delighted. Love that this resource is available for RD CEs. Thanks for sharing the wonderful recipe as well.

  6. Janice on May 17th, 2013

    Hi Jill, it is true that using vanilla versus plain lowfat yogurt in this recipe adds 12 grams (3 teaspoons) of sugar. Since it serves 12 people that’s only 1/4 teaspoon additional per person. We find that the vanilla yogurt is a bit smoother and more kid friendly than plain but I would think that either would work in this recipe. If you try it with plain yogurt please report back and let us know how it works!

  7. Elizabeth on May 22nd, 2013

    i’ve always wanted to make an olive oil cake! mm

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