This is a cake from Zoë Bakes Cakes and in the book, I baked it with grapes; juicy, sweet, but slightly tart, table grapes. It’s curious why grapes are rarely used in baking, unless dried into raisins. They are juicy and have such a wide range of sweetness and flavor, depending on the variety. They’re also a perfect match for almond paste, an ingredient with which I’m more than just a bit smitten; there are so many ways to play with the slightly creamy, earthy flavor. Together with the olive oil, the combination makes a gorgeous cake that’s just as suited for a holiday table as it is for a Tuesday-morning coffee cake. The moist cake is also one that lasts for days, so if you need a cake you can bake ahead for your holiday morning, this is the one!
So many flavors will go with the cake base and I encourage you to play with the fruit you add.
I went with cranberries because they express the season we’re heading into like no other fruit. They are tart, bright, and add a pop of flavor and color to the cake. It turns out they are the perfect match for the almond and olive oil. Raspberries, blueberries, or even chopped bittersweet chocolate will also be excellent baked into this cake. Please make it your own and let me know what you’ve created by tagging me on Instagram @zoebakes #zoebakes and/or #zoebakescakes, so I can find you and your cakes.
- 1 cup (120g) cake flour
- 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1/8 tsp kosher salt
- 7 oz (200g) almond paste, cut into small pieces, plus 4 oz (115g), cut into 1/4-inch (6mm) cubes See note
- 1 cup (200g) granulated sugar
- 3/4 cup (175ml) olive oil See note
- 1 tsp vanilla extract homemade vanilla extract
- 1 tsp almond extract
- 1 tsp orange zest
- 5 eggs at room temperature
- 1 1/2 cups (240g) halved grapes (any seedless variety) Or halved cranberries or dried cherries
- 1/2 cup (60g) almond slices
- 1/4 cup (50g) granulated sugar
- 1 tsp orange zest
- 4 drops orange blossom water
- Preheat the oven to 325°F /175°C. Generously grease and flour a 10-inch / 25cm tube pan.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt.
- In a food processor, combine the pieces of almond paste (7 oz), sugar, olive oil, vanilla, almond extract, and orange zest and process until smooth. Add the eggs, one at a time, pulsing to combine after each egg.
- Add one-third of the flour mixture to the oil mixture and pulse just until combined. Repeat with another one-third flour and then the final one-third. Using a spoon or rubber spatula, fold the chunks of almond paste (4 oz) and half of the grapes into the batter.
- Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and top with the remaining grapes.
- In a small bowl, combine the almonds, sugar, orange zest, and orange blossom water and rub together with your fingertips.
- Sprinkle the topping over the batter and smooth with a spatula. Set the pan on a baking sheet.
- Bake until the cake is golden and a tester comes out clean, about 1 hour 15 minutes. Let the cake in the pan for 10 minutes, then remove from the pan and set onto a wire rack to cool completely before serving.
- The almond paste needs to be soft, or it won’t incorporate smoothly. If it is old and dried out, it will just stay in clumps.
- You can use any oil, but there is something so special about olive oil in this cake