I have been having trouble with this next post–as you may have noticed from my extended silence. It is kind of a bridge post, or an odds-n-ends post. It does not fit any good theme, but whatever I am just going to go for it!
First, I understand better now where I live (which is a good thing since I have been here for nearly 4 weeks!). It is more confusing than you might think, because there is Cosenza, Old Cosenza, Rende and Old Rende. I live in Rende, which is essentially a student town for the University of Calabria and part of greater Cosenza. Cosenza proper of course is its own city, and then Old Cosenza is the OLD medieval town in the middle of Cosenza. Old Rende is similarly ancient and frankly very difficult to get to it is so high in the mountains, and fairly separate from all of the above.
So on our first day, when we still did not have a car, the kids and I went wandering. This is what the countryside around us looks like–before you get into the mountains anyway (and obviously behind the commercial areas).
When my mom got here, we explored Old Cosenza. Many of my hair raising driving stories start there! It is high up, ancient and windy, with a fabulous cathedral.
Our first few free days we spent getting the lay of the land and grocery shopping. I got a bug up my butt that I was determined to bake a cake in Italy. Just to prove to myself that I could–and to use those awesome lemons that were everywhere our first few weeks. Great plan–until I got home and realized the kitchen had literally not one single measuring cup or spoon.
So I present to you, without accompanying recipe because of said lack of measuring utensils, the cake I might be most proud of, ever.
This pan, shown in the following picture with the un-baked cake, was the only interesting cake pan I could find. So much for my dreams of participating in Bundt Bakers from afar! But it is a cute pan, and I am happy to take it back home as a random souvenir of my time here.
When we arrived in Italy, strawberry season was in full swing. They were everywhere–and so delicious! So topping the cake with sliced strawberries and a sprinkle of coarse sugar was a no brainer. I also knew I wanted lemon zest and juice in the cake. I started with a recipe I found for a Greek yogurt and olive oil cake, and increased the lemon zest and added vanilla. I also added the zest of one orange.
And the measuring? Well I googled this and googled that and finally settled on looking up the typical size for an espresso cup, which every Italian kitchen is equipped with of course. Between that and what I will call my awesome granny-esque baking skillz (ha!) I did indeed produce a delicious cake.
Which I will never be able to reproduce exactly.
This cake looks amazing–I could never bake a cake w/o measuring tools. Ever!
Thanks for a terrific post! I’m enjoying your trip vicariously.
pam (Sidewalk Shoes) says
Wow! You should be hugely proud of yourself! I can’t make a cake that good with every measuring utensil in the world! And, I love that cake pan!
Wow. This is impressive. Baking without measuring cups?! You’re pretty much a pro!
Barbara @Spirited Cook says
Lucky you to make a cake in Italy, sans measuring cups and all! Looks great, bet it’s good with espresso! Cheers!
Alisa @ Go Dairy Free says
That is an impressive feat! And the cake looks beautiful. Fast forward a year where you are in your kitchen on your fifth batch, determined to recreate that cake from Italy 🙂
Heather / girlichef says
Recipe, shmecipe – Italy tops all! I’m so jealous…it looks and sounds like such an amazing experience. I do love the shape of this cake, so darn pretty. Plus – YUMMMM, pass me a slice (or just bring me to Italy to try it….)! 😉
Manila Spoon says
I love Olive Oil cake for they always turn out moist and with a lot of flavor but adding strawberries give them that extra fruity goodness which makes this cake totally scrumptious! Pinned.
Gwen @simplyhealthyfamily says
What a gorgeous place to live!!! Very resourceful of you to figure out how to bake such a gorgeous cake w out measuring spoons.
Barbara | Creative Culinary says
Why I have not tried olive oil in a cake is beyond me…but this recipe might just make it happen…love the strawberries!
I love using olive oil in baked recipes … and your citrus olive oil cake with strawberries looks divine! Nice job … and beautiful pictures!