Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Italian Lemon & Olive Oil Pound Cake featuring: Bill Sanders' First Fresh Extra Virgin Olive Oil

A lemony treat enhanced by the freshness of extra virgin olive oil

 Learn how you can make this deliciously moist, Italian Lemon & Olive Oil Pound Cake with a Limoncello Glaze using FIRST FRESH Extra Virgin Olive Oil!!  It's oh, so delizioso!!

"Fresh is Best!" -olive oil evangelist, Bill Sanders

 First Fresh Extra Virgin Olive Oil Tastings!

Attention  All Olive Oil Epicureans!!

Fairway Market &  First Fresh Extra Virgin Olive Oil Fans: If you check in on Facebook and share your picture taken with Bill on First Fresh Extra Virgin Olive Oil Facebook page, you might just win a free bottle of this award-winning, delicious EVOO!

What's Bill Sanders all about...

Bill Sanders, olive oil evangelist, and Founder and CEO of Crush and Press is taking his passion for quality, fresh extra virgin olive oil on the road - literally, in what he has dubbed the "extra virginity tour."  He tours the country for months, like an olive oil rock star, I like to think. Instead of booze, there may be shots of the extra virgin juice? Sign me up, and sign my tee-shirt! And, if you're lucky enough to catch him at your local market, I highly advise stopping by for a tasting-demo to say "hello," and hear his lightly-sweetened, southern accent and his inspiring First Fresh story.  His mission is to educate people about this fresh  "nectar," or "juice," as Bill calls it. And, if there's one thing that stands out to me, it's that Bill sees this olive oil as more of a fruit juice than olive oil, and I couldn't agree more. It's an oil that truly lives up to its namesake.  I find myself sniffing the opening of the bottle like I had just opened a favorite vintage. The fragrance of the fresh olives wafts right out of that bottle!

First Fresh is certified kosher by KOF-Korg., and certified extra virgin by the California Olive Oil Council . The juice is an exclusive custom blend of three olive varieties: manzanilla, arbequina, and ascolano, produced near Corning California from 19th, 20th, and 21st century trees. Like a wine, each olive variety offers something special to the blend, whether it is fruity, buttery, or spicy. Bill describes it as being designed for American tastes; a little spicy, but with a buttery finish on the palate.
 "Look for an olive harvest date, as you would for a wine..."

The United States is the 3rd largest olive oil consumer in the world, but many brands are more concerned with yield over quality; it would be analogous to "buying brown bananas or rotten apples," according to Bill. On his tours across the country, he seeks to educate people about the quality  and freshness of the olives he uses, and how the average American market is flooded with olive oils that are  produced by harvesting these "older" olives. Bill's mission is to ween people off these lesser quality olive oils, so people will come to embrace the freshness and  harvest date of the oil.
"First Fresh - A tree to table olive oil"

Celebrity Chef, Nate Appleman on First Fresh EVOO
 And, if there is one thing I have learned, it's that what is important to an olive oil's quality, it is the harvest date, or the release of the oil. This harvest date is located on the top of every First Fresh bottle label, and it creates an anticipation, like a fine wine. In fact, if there are two bottles that would most definitley claim a spot at every Italian's dinner table, it would be a bottle of wine and a bottle of extra virgin olive oil. That is an Italian standard. And, Italians are very particular about the freshness of their olives! This olive oil is what you would call a "tree to table" olive oil. First Fresh is not an olive oil that has been sitting in a warehouse for years collecting dust; it's young and it's perky, and it's ready to party!

An olive oil that crowns a dish...

 Well, I have to admit, after tasting First Fresh Extra Virgin Olive Oil, I've been converted and have become one his "fruit juice" disciples. Actually, First Fresh is really making it's name in the professional chef's kitchens as well, as I'm seeing celebrity chefs (such as Nate Appleman and Tyler Florence) using it to finish their beautiful plates.  One thing I should mention, personally, is that I do not cook with this olive oil. I don't believe that an olive of this caliber is meant for cooking, although I do add a bit to my sauce, but only after it is finished cooking. Now, I know that I offered a baking recipe in this post, but only because the finished pound cake results in a very pronounced olive oil flavor, and it happens to elevate that buttery finish that First Fresh is so famous for.

 Normally, I use this olive oil as a condiment at the table, much like you would put out a bottle of  mustard, dressings,or other condiments. This olive oil is very pronounced and is worthy of it's own place at the everyday table. I drizzle it on grilled meats and sprinkle with sea salt (after they are grilled) like they do in Florence, Italy. Pestos and other room temperature preparations are the perfect love match as the fragrant, olive oil remains punctuated. First Fresh is not an olive oil that you hide in a dish, it is one that crowns a dish. The finishing touch. 

...Oh, and by the way, I wasn't kidding about doing a shot of this olive oil! Hey, if it's good enough for Sohpia Loren, it's good enough for me! Salute!

 Italian Lemon & Olive Oil Pound Cake with Limoncello Glaze:

  Unsalted butter, softened, for the pan
  1 cup all-purpose flour
  1 teaspoon baking powder
  1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  2 large eggs
  1/2 cup granulated sugar
  Finely grated zest of 2 organic lemons
  1/3 cup First Fresh Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  1 1/2 tablespoons whole milk

  3/4 cup of ricotta cheese (or, may substitute  Greek yohurt)
  1/4 cup fresh lemon juice, strained
  3 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

 Limoncello Glaze:
1 cup of confectioner's sugar
1 1/2 tablespoon of Limoncello
(may substitute lemon juice)  



1.) Preheat the oven to 325F. Line the bottom of 8 1/2 x 4 1/2-inch loaf pan with parchment paper, butter the pan and the paper.

2.) In a bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt.

3.) In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine the egg yolks, granulated sugar, and lemon zest.  Beat on medium speed until the mixture thickens, is pale yellow, and forms ribbons when the whisk is lifted, 3-4 minutes. Allow to sit. 

4.) In a separate bowl, beat (or, whisk) the egg white to stiff peaks. Set aside

5.) Meanwhile, in another bowl, whisk together the extra virgin olive oil, milk, ricotta cheese, and lemon juice. Slowly drizzle in the oil mixture with the mixture in the electric mixer with the machine running. Reduce the speed to low, add the flour mixture, and mix just to combine. Drizzle in the butter and mix just to combine.

6.) Remove the mixing bowl from the stand mixer and fold in the stiff egg whites.

7.) Pour the batter into the prepared an 8 1/2 x 4 1/2 baking pan (buttered) .  Bake, rotating the pan once after 25 minutes, until the top of the cake is golden, the center bounces back when touched, and a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean (about 45 minutes).

8.) Unmold the cake from the loaf pan and let it cool completely on a wire rack.  

9.) While still warm, prepare the glaze.  Combine the Limoncello with powdered sugar until completely combined, without lumps.  You may need to adjust the consistency a bit to your liking.  (I like it kind of thick.) Pour over the pound cake and let it dry. (at least a 1/2 hour if you want it dry and not too tacky to the touch)

                                                            Bill’s Credits, Honors, Awards:

United States spokesperson for 100% Tunisian Olive Oil, 2010
Chair, national French Wine Society Conference, 2010
Master Level Certification for Rhone and Provence wine regions from the French Wine Society, 2009
Attendee, Beyond Extra Virgin Conference, the international conference on excellence of olive oil, sponsored by the University of California-Davis Olive Center, Mondavi Institute for Wine and Food Science, and The Culinary Institute of America (CIA) at Greystone, 2009
Completion of advanced sensory evaluation of olive oil, Raising the Bar on Olive Oil Quality: Views from Down Under instructed by Richard Gawel and Margaret Edwards, University of California-Davis Olive Center, 2009
Served as Chair, Workforce Innovations Annual Conference for 3000 attendees, United States Government, Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration, 2002-2008
Author and presenter for Washington DC, Metro Area, Williams-Sonoma Consumer and Sales Associate Educational Program on fine olive oil, 2008-2009
Attendee, national French Wine Society Annual Conference, 2008-2009
Attending and assisting at the L’Academie de Cuisine in Bethesda, Maryland, 2004-2009
Executive producer, and two-time national TELLY Award winner for video programming in 2007- 2008
Student of the Culinary Institute of America- Greystone professional wine studies program, 2004-2005
Completion of Sensory Evaluation of Olive Oil at UC-Davis. (Finished in top three of class), 2003-2004
Trained in sensory evaluation of olive oil and Tuscan cooking at Giuseppe Grappolini’s Centro Culturale Olivarte in Loro Ciuffenna, Italy, 2003
Regular guest at WKYT-TV (Lexington, Kentucky) on the AfterNoon program, 2000-2001
Author and presenter of More Life, More Sunrises, a six-session program for living an enriched, healthy life, 2000
Winner of “Best Editorial” award from 101 American Horse Publications for his article published in Owner-Breeder, a leading thoroughbred breeding journal, entitled A Fork in the Road, 1993
Completed “Executive Development” program at J.L. Kellogg, Graduate School of Management, Northwestern University
Graduate of the University of Kentucky and Salmon P. Chase College of Law and member of the Kentucky Bar Association


  1. Mmmm, delicious. Adding olive oil to a cake creates such a distinctive flavor and taste, yet it's subtle. I have yet to try it with lemon, but it sounds like a perfect combination!

    1. Hi there, sweet road!

      Thanks for stopping by! The flavor of the olive oil really did come through, and because this particular brand olive oil has a buttery finish, it worked well in the pound cake.

      Thanks for stopping by!! Come back soon. Lots of traditional and modern Italian treats cooking up for the holidays!


  2. This looks delicious. All of your creations always look exceptionally delicious - keep up the good work!

    1. Whitney,

      Thanks so much!!! I'm glad you like and thanks for taking the time to leave me a sweet little note! It made my day!

      Hope you and yours have a fantastic holiday season!


  3. I will be making this, darlin! I'm a total sucker for lemons!! xo

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  5. Do you put the glaze on after it's cooled completely on the wire rack, or while still warm and cooling on the rack? Thanks!