The fields around this area are, at various times of the year, the most beautiful, glowing yellow with all the oilseed rape. Driving anywhere in the car, it will only be a matter of minutes before someone shouts ‘rape!’ from the back seat (yes, yes, it’s not politically correct, but try explaining being PC to any 15 year old and then you’ll really understand the meaning of a lost cause).
Anyhoo, I’ve been hearing more and more about rapeseed oil. You’ll be impressed here because I’ve actually done my homework. It has:
- the lowest saturated fat content of any oil (6.6g/100g, compared to 14.3g for olive oil and 54.8g for butter)
- very high levels of Essential Fatty Acids (ten times the Omega 3 of olive oil)
- a natural source of vitamin E*.
Then I noticed someone tweeting about substituting rapeseed oil for butter in baking recipes. I contacted her, but she bloody ignored me, so I had to have my own little experiment with a recipe very kindly sent to me last week by Borderfields who, as well as being flippin’ psychic, make cold-pressed rapeseed oil. And wow, it was a great success:
Lemon and Almond Cake
100ml rapeseed oil
225g caster sugar
3 large eggs
1 lemon, zested and juiced
250g self-raising flour
50g ground almonds
1 lemon and about 3 tbsp icing sugar for the drizzle
So first, preheat your oven to 180°C/Gas 4 and dribble a little rapeseed oil into a medium cake tin, rubbing it about with your fingers.
Put the rapeseed oil, sugar, lemon zest (JUST the zest! I got this bit wrong and put the lemon juice in as well, although it didn’t seem to make a difference) and the eggs into a bowl and mix until light and foamy.
Then add the flour, almonds and lemon juice and stir in gently.
Blob the mixture into your oiled cake tin and bake it for about 40 – 50 minutes (check whether it’s done by poking a knife into the centre – it should come out clean).
Leave the cake to cool slightly, then tip into a rack. Squeeze the second lemon and mix the juice with the icing sugar. Drizzle all over the cake.
We served it with big dollops of double cream and it was actually really delicious. As my Mum pointed out, it’s not a really light cake – it’s more like a madeira cake, but it’s moist and the drizzle top is zingy, sweet and crisp, making it yummy served warm as a dessert. Although I can also attest that it keeps quite well and is lovely just cold with a cup of tea. It would also be fabulous topped with a lemony cream cheese icing.
Oh, and I’ve also cooked with the oil quite successfully too – roasties come out well as I think it’s quite pure so it heats to high temperatures quite well, and I’ve used it to fry eggs and drizzle over salmon when grilling too. I think I might actually be a convert.
You can also make it in various different tins – take this, my new favourite – a Nordicware heart bundt tin (reduce cooking time by about ten minutes):
*a big huge thank you to Borderfields Cold-pressed Rapeseed Oil for the health facts, recipe and freebie bottle of oil! Oh and apologies for fiddling with your recipe too.