What's on Tap

What's on Tap

Il Palio's Olive Oil Cake: An Italian Valentine's dessert for two

Posted February 8, 2016
Updated February 10, 2016

Il Palio Olive Oil Cake (Chapel Hill Magazine)

— Forego the hothouse flowers and store-bought chocolates this year. Nothing says romance like the decadent desserts haling from the heartland of Italy.
Olive oil cake by Chef Teddy Diggs of Il Palio in Chapel Hill captures the quintessential elements of regional Italian cooking by pairing the sweet flavors of cake with the savory tang of extra-virgin olive oil and aged balsamic vinegar. Served in perfectly sharable portions, this indulgent construction leaves a lingering sweet finish to cap off what will undoubtedly be a memorable Valentine’s Day.


  • 2 ½ cups/ 260 grams all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups / 340 grams granulated sugar,
  • ½ tsp./ 4 grams Kosher salt
  • ½ tsp./ 1 grams baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon/ 1 grams baking powder
  • 1 ½ cups/ 256 grams extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 ¼ cups / 275 grams whole milk
  • 3 eggs / 150 grams of eggs
  • 1 Tbsp./ 2 grams grated orange zest
  • ½ cup / 85 grams fresh orange juice
  • ¼ cup / 50 grams Grand Marnier

Heat the oven to 350° F. Lightly oil cake mold(s) with EVOO. In a bowl, whisk the flour, sugar, salt, baking soda and powder. In another bowl, whisk the olive oil, milk, eggs, orange zest and juice and Grand Marnier. Add the dry ingredients; whisk until just combined. Pour the batter into the prepared pan(s) and bake until the top is golden and a cake tester comes out clean. Transfer the cake to a rack and let cool for 30 minutes. Run a knife around the edge of the pan, invert the cake onto the rack and let cool completely, two hours.

Editor’s Note: Enjoy more of Chef Teddy’s imaginative cooking on April 21 at TASTE 2016, presented by Johnson Lexus. This is your chance to taste his delicious food for yourself! The Grand TASTE Experience will be held at the Durham Armory, from 6:30 to 9 p.m.  The evening will feature 30 local chefs and a dozen beverage purveyors – not to mention a live jazz band!  Buy tickets at tastetheevent.com.


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