Eat Dessert First Greece loves sweets, but also wants to keep healthy. So, we decided it was time for a healthy dessert… Of course, not having dessert is not an option! So, we borrowed a recipe for an original cake with Greek coffee and extra virgin olive oil, added our own touches and enjoyed it with a strong cup of Greek coffee with lots of foam on top. We read about the history of Greek coffee and learned about the nutrients our delicious cake will contain.
Our cake tasted and smelled of tradition. We served it on New Year’s Eve, after the traditional Vasilopita, as a juicy and fragrant cake is the perfect end to a nice festive dinner. It was the ideal recipe for holiday season, when there is a lot of preparations to do, as it is super easy to make (although it doesn’t show). Everyone loved its authentic flavor. It also had a very impressive look, with the shiny coffee glaze and the pomegranate seeds we added for flavor and festive decoration. It is also great in the morning or evening, along with a warm cup of coffee!
How coffee was invented is a mystery… The myth says that a sheperd from Ethiopia, Kaldi, discovered the stimulant properties of coffee by observing his goats. When the goats ate the fruits of a certain plant, they gained so much energy that they couldn’t sleep at night! Kaldi told a monk of a local monastery about his discovery. The monk prepared a drink with these fruits, which kept him awake during night prayer. He shared his discovery with the other monks, and it spread all over the world. So, did Kaldi’s goats invent coffee? We guess we’ll never know…
We read that coffee came to Greece during the Turkish Occupation. The Greeks of Constantinople, Thessaloniki and Northern Greece in general where the first ones to enjoy coffee. During the 17th century Thessaloniki had over 300 coffeeshops where Greeks and Turks hang out. According to Papadiamantis, since 1760 the habit of drinking coffee spread to the rest of Greece.
We learned that until the 1960s Greek coffee was called Turkish coffee. Then, it changed its name into Greek coffee in Greece and in Cyprus after the Turkish invasion. Our coffee may be made in a special pot named briki, originating from a Turkish word, but it is described with Greek expressions, dating back to the Medieval times. Greek coffee can be made glikis (sweet), varis (strong) or me oligi (with a little sugar), and is part of our mentality and habits.
How do you call your coffee? We call it Greek!Advertising campaign of a coffee company
Coffee, especially Greek coffee, offers nutrients to our organism, when consumed in moderation of course. According to dietician-nutritionist M.Sc. – MMedSci Paraskevi Koustouraki, research has shown that coffee is one of the richest drinks in antioxidants, and especially Greek coffee can be a great source of antioxidants. Also, a study of elderly with high pressure in Ikaria island showed that moderate consuming of Greek coffee helps in aorta’s elasticity.
Caffeine, when consumed in moderation, can improve memory. The recommended quantity of caffeine for adults is up to 400 mg a day and one small cup of Greek coffee contains only 40! And something even more important for our dessert: Greek coffee has very few calories… a small cup with no sugar or milk has only 1 calorie (kcal)!
In our cake, Greek coffee meets extra virgin olive oil. We use extra virgin olive oil a lot in our recipes, as it is our Greek alternative to butter and offers so much more nutrients that it is really a shame not to use it as much as possible. But do we know what exactly is extra virgin olive oil?
As we read, it is traditionally produced by pressing the olives and collecting their juices, from which olive oil is made. But all oils are not the same: often, bad quality oils are extracted from olives’ juice with chemicals. Also, often olive oil is mixed with cheaper oils. Greece may be blessed with a lot of pure products, such as high quality -and affordable- extra virgin olive oil… but in many other countries it is very expensive and there are a lot of fraud incidents.
As a result, all olive oils are not of equal quality. The best olive oil is the extra virgin olive oil, which offers most benefits to our health thanks to the phenols (a group of antioxidants) it contains. We learned that it has been proven that extra virgin olive oil offers a series of benefits, as it contains beneficial monounsaturated fatty acids and vitamins E and K. It has significant anti-inflammatory action, especially in cases of cardiovascular damage, and antibacterial properties. It can also help prevent heart attacks. It lowers blood pressure and protects against “bad” LDL cholesterol.
Recent studies have also shown that consuming extra virgin olive oil is beneficial to the genes connected to cancer, and also Alzheimer’s disease. It can also diminish the possibility of type B diabetes and help in reducing pain caused by rheumatoid arthritis. Moreover, the consumption of extra virgin olive oil is not connected to gaining weight and obesity, and in small quantities it can even help lose weight.
In the past, people who knew used to drink one teaspoon of raw extra virgin olive oil every morning for health… It is a real shame not to use it as a basic ingredient in our sweet recipes, given that it abounds so much in our country. This is why we got inspired by a recipe we found on Nature Blessed company’s page and made a cake with Greek coffee, apple and extra virgin olive oil. It is super easy and fasting, as well as suitable for vegetarians and vegans.
Cake with Greek coffee and extra virgin olive oil
Ingredients for the cake
|Self-raising flour||390 gr|
|Extra virgin olive oil||210 ml|
|Greek coffee prepared (no sugar)||1 cup made with 2 tsp of coffee|
|Baking powder||1 tsp|
|Baking soda||1/2 tsp|
How to make the cake
Grate the apple in a blender well, but without getting mushy. Place the extra virgin olive oil, sugar and Greek coffee (keep 2 tbsp aside for the glaze) without the grounds at the bottom of the cup in the mixer bowl and beat for 3-4 minutes. In another bowl mix the self-raising flour with the baking powder, soda and lemon zest. Remove the bowl with the virgin olive oil mixture out of the mixer and add the flour. Lastly, add the grated apple and mix with a spatula.
Fill a cake pan (we used a metal ring) and bake in a preheated oven at 175°C for 45 minutes. When taking it out of the oven to check if it is fully baked, place a toothpick in the centre of the cake and if it gets out dry, then it is ready. It there is dough sticking to the toothpick, bake for another 5 minutes. When it is ready, flip it upside down on a platter, so that it has a smooth surface to glaze. Let it cool and prepare the glaze.
Ingredients for the glaze
|Powdered sugar||100 gr|
|Greek coffee||1 1/2 – 2 tbsp|
How to make the glaze
Mix the powdered sugar and Greek coffee by adding the coffee gradually to gain the right consistency, runny but not too watery. Then pour over the cake and let it stabilise.
In the end, we decorated the cake with pomegranate seeds, as it is its season, to bring luck for the new year! We wish everyone a happy and blessed new year and warmly thank Nature Blessed company for sending us its products and giving us inspiration for our recipe:
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