Using Olive Oil for Baking
Choosing the Right Olive Oil
For mildly flavored cakes, use a cold pressed olive oil that is graded extra-light (also called extra light tasting). Bertolli, Filippo Berrio and Carapelli are three imported Italian brands that are widely available.
Extra Virgin Olive Oil is ideal for baking because it is bland-tasting and free of aroma. It can be used as an all-purpose substitute for other vegetable oils in all baking and cooking.
A delicately flavored olive oil can be used with stronger flavored cakes, such as spice, chocolate or pumpkin. The slightly perfumed Bertolli Classico is a good choice.
Cold pressed extra-virgin oil, with its more robust olive taste and aroma, is not recommended for cakes.
Storing Olive Oil
Always smell and taste olive oil before deciding whether to use it. Oils are volatile and can lose their flavors and go rancid when exposed too long to heat, moisture, air or light. Rancid fat not only spoils the taste of baked goods, but it is unhealthy to ingest.
Store olive oil in an opaque container in a cool, dark place. You also an refrigerate it if you wish. The oil may become cloudy when it is cold, but it will clarify as it warms to room temperature.
All oils are 100 percent fat, and all oils contain 14 grams of fat and 120 calories per tablespoon. But olive oil delivers a bonus: It contains more monounsaturated fat (77 percent) than any other fat or oil.
In many studies, monounsaturated fat has been shown to lower the levels of LDLs (low-density lipoproteins, the bad fats) in blood serum cholesterol without decreasing the levels of high-density lipoproteins (HDLs, the good fats). In contrast, canola oil contains 62-percent monounsaturated fat, peanut oil has 49-percent, butter has 30-percent, corn oil has 25-percent and safflower oil has 13-percent.
Olive Oil Quencher
Dab a pea-size amount of extra virgin olive oil on your lips to hydrate a parched pucker; or use it on rough patches (think elbows and heels), as needed.
See also: Cooking with Olive Oil