This light olive oil cake can be served alone or accompanied by pears poached in red wine or brandy-soaked cherries or prunes, but the success of the cake depends on using a top-quality olive oil.
Shake Shack’s core question was: What makes a great chicken sandwich? The chicken! Where to find enough good, all-natural meat? And how to portion it? The Shacks steep the chicken in a tenderizing sous vide bath; at home, it’s a buttermilk marinade.
Because there’s not much flour in this batter, the crumb is chewy, sort of like a cross between a custard pie and a buttery cake. The cake is very thin but a good platform for the whipped cream and berries.
There’s no reason to feel deprived if you’re doing without gluten—or if you know someone who is. It’s got a sturdy, toothy texture and intense, surprisingly “grainy” flavor. It’s also got both a buttery almond topping and a tart lemon glaze over that for the joy of sheer excess.
Chocolate and beets are a natural pair. The earthiness of the beets contrasts with the richness and sweetness of chocolate. The milk chocolate frosting on this cake is laced with orange zest—orange tastes great with both chocolate and beets.