Makes a 9-inch round cake
Olive oil cake adapted from Maialino’s via Food52
For thyme honey syrup:
5 sprigs fresh thyme
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup, plus 2 tablespoons water
For the cake:
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 1/3 cups extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra for greasing
1 1/4 cups whole milk
3 large eggs
1 1/2 tablespoons grated orange zest
1/4 cup fresh orange juice
1/4 cup Grand Marnier or Cointreau
For the topping:
2 cups of heavy cream, chilled
¼ cup confectioners sugar
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
2 pints fresh figs
grapes for garnish
Make the syrup: In a small saucepan, warm honey and water over medium-low heat until fragrant and the honey just begins to bubble, about 4 minutes. Add thyme, remove from heat and let steep for 10 minutes. Discard thyme and let syrup cool to room temperature.
Make the cake: Heat the oven to 350 degrees F. Using oil, grease two 9-inch cake pans and line the bottoms with parchment paper.
In a bowl, whisk the flour, sugar, salt, baking soda and powder. In another bowl, whisk the olive oil, milk, eggs, orange zest, juice and Grand Marnier. Add the dry ingredients; whisk until just combined.
Divide the batter into two prepared pans and bake for 30 minutes, until the tops are golden and a cake tester comes out clean. Transfer the cakes to a rack and let cool completely.
Run a knife around the edge of the pans, invert the cake onto the rack and let cool completely, about 2 hours. Pour half of the thyme honey syrup over the two cakes, letting the liquid soak completely.
Make the topping: Slice 1 pint of figs into thin wedges and set aside. In a large bowl, whisk together heavy cream, confectioners sugar, and vanilla extract. Beat until soft peaks form. Spread the bottom cake layer with half of the whipped cream, layer with sliced figs and drizzle with honey. Put second cake layer on top and decorate with the rest of whipped cream, figs and grapes. Finish with a drizzle of honey. Serve immediately.