Gooey lemon curd-stuffed olive oil cakes

So it might be a surprise to anyone reading this, but I am actually dieting right now. Mostly because I have to go to a wedding in Hawaii, and I am not trying to look photogenic for that. That being said, dieting sucks. Majorly. Many, many meals spent on weight-loss smoothies and near-bland chicken breast and kale salads just so that I can look presentable in a couple of photos by the beach. However, the one thing good from dieting is that it makes me crave foods I should not be eating. And with these cravings, I come up with some really fun dessert or snack concepts. These cakes would be one of those. I was hardcore craving a gooey sort of cake, where the edges are crisp from being baked in caramelized sugar, and the interior is a mixture of soft and fluffy and just decadent and bad for you. I had *almost* that experience months ago eating an olive oil cake from Urban Plates with my sister, and that was where the initial inspiration for this recipe came from. That and all of the bloody coffee shops in LA that have olive oil cake on their menu. Fun fact, I was procrastinating on making this recipe, but my family friend dropped off a giant bag of lemons, so I knew that was a sign that I had to make this recipe. That or I just happened to

Olive oil cake is delicious. If you have never had it before, all you need to know is that it is like a richer cousin to yellow cake, where the olive oil is what brings in that golden-yellow color in place of the eggs and butter. I find that with something that rich, lemon curd was just the best way to cut that with acidity. I also went ahead and made this recipe vegan, not because I had to, but because I was too lazy to use eggs in this recipe, and since I knew I was using lemons and olive oil anyways, I could get away with using the chemical reaction between lemon juice and baking soda in lieu of eggs to bind a cake batter! However, you could not tell that this cake was vegan. The richness still comes through, while the gooey lemon curd baked inside of it provides an ample distraction, to the point where if you fed this to a non-vegan, they would not tell the difference! Other notes include the kind of olive oil you should use for this recipe. I go with extra virgin, which is pressed from young olives, since it gives the cake a richer flavor, but you can use any olive oil you want, so long as it’s not garlic infused! There is a surprising plethora of infused olive oils out there, so let the world be your olive-shaped oyster with this one!

For the lemon curd:
zest from 2 lemons
juice from 3 lemons(roughly 1/4 cup)
2 tsp cornstarch
2 tbsp granulated sugar
a pinch of salt
3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1/4 tsp vanilla extract

In a pot, whisk the lemon zest and juice with the cornstarch, sugar, and salt. Whisk on medium heat for 2-3 minutes, or until the mixture has thickened considerably and begins to cling to the sides of your whisk. Take off heat and whisk in the olive oil and vanilla. Once the butter is fully incorporated, pass the curd through a sieve to remove the lumps and zest. Transfer to a piping bag.

For the olive oil cake:
1/3 cup soy milk
2 tbsp lemon juice
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
a pinch of salt
1 tsp baking soda
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup granulated sugar, with more for lining
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil, with more for lining
zest from 1 lemon

In a bowl, mix together the soy milk with lemon juice and vanilla to form your buttermilk. In a bowl, sift the salt, baking soda, and all-purpose flour together and mix in with the sugar. In another bowl, mix together the olive oil with lemon zest. Alternate between mixing the flour mixture and the buttermilk into the olive oil, adding about 1/3 of each at a time, until everything is combined together to form your batter. Brush the insides of a 6-cavity silicone muffin pan with olive oil and sprinkle sugar throughout the interior of the tins. Then divide the batter into the tins, filling each about 3/4 the way full. Pipe the lemon curd into the center of each unbaked cake, then refrigerate the batter for 10 minutes. Then bake at 375 degrees F for 18 minutes. Cool down completely before attempting to unmold.

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