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Let Them Eat Cake

Let Them Eat Cake
November 2011
Mercato executive chef Ben Ellsworth shares a healthier holiday sweet

Everyone loves to indulge during the holiday season, but for folks looking to watch their figures, each bite of pie or pudding can come with a large serving of guilt. Fear not, Ben Ellsworth (pictured above), executive chef at Mercato, has a solution for those who want to have their cake and save their waistlines, too: rosemary olive oil cake, a health-conscious spin on fattening pound cake. The trick for this Italian confection is the olive oil he uses in place of butter. “Butter is all saturated fat, whereas olive oil has been shown to help prevent heart disease,” says Ellsworth. Delicious and more heart healthy too? Hallelujah!

“This is such an easy recipe—why buy a box mix when you can do this from scratch?” says the chef. Start by zesting your orange and then squeezing it until you have a half-cup of juice. “You want to reduce that orange juice on the stove to one-fourth cup,” he explains. Mix your wet ingredients first. “Make sure your eggs are at room temp and whipped properly,” adds Ellsworth. “That will make a huge difference.” After blending these ingredients, sift the dry elements into the mix. Pour the citrus-infused batter into a 10-inch round pan and bake until golden brown.

In a time of year filled with dense deserts, Ellsworth’s refreshing cake presents a light bite of sweetness, making it the saving grace for any holiday feast. And for that, can we get an amen?