Oil cakes or "tortas de aceite" originated in Andalucia, specifically near Sevilla. They became popular in the 19th century and recently have seen a surge in popularity, especially in the USA. These cakes are a light and healthy alternative dessert, simply made with flour, water, yeast, olive oil and sprinkled lightly with sugar. Prefer a salty "tapa" or snack? Try one of our variations.
This torta de aceite recipe makes about 8 tortas, 6-inches in diameter.
- In a large mixing bowl, mix 6 tbsp. warm water, yeast, salt, and olive oil until yeast is completely dissolved. Gradually add flour, mixing thoroughly. As dough mixture becomes too dry to continue to mix, sprinkle in a bit more water and mix. Repeat until all water is gone and dough has a smooth consistency. Cover the bowl with a kitchen towel and leave in a warm spot for 30 minutes. Note: If the kitchen is drafty, warm oven to 200°F degrees for about 5 minutes, then turn off. Place bowl in the oven for 30 minutes.
- Heat oven to 450°F (230°C).
- Grease 2 cookie sheets with oil. Turn the dough out onto a floured board. Pinch off a small amount of dough and roll into a ball about 1 ½ times the size of a golf ball, using your hands. Using a rolling pin, roll the ball of dough out until very thin. Roll out the dough to approximately 8-inch circles, then carefully transfer each one from the cutting board to the cookie sheet. Sprinkle with sugar and anise seeds.
- Place cookie sheets in hot oven and bake. After approximately 10-12 minutes, if the edges are turning brown, remove them from oven and allow to cool. Serve warm as a light dessert.
The only limit to the variations of this recipe is your imagination.
Dessert Toppings: Top with sugar and finely chopped almonds or hazelnuts. Finely chopped candied fruit can also be used as a topping.
Salty Toppings: How about serving tortas as a tapa or snack rather than a dessert? Top with chopped sardines, thinly sliced or chopped chorizo. Sprinkle garlic powder, olive oil, salt and pepper for a healthy alternative to garlic bread. Sprinkle a teaspoon of parmesan cheese for extra flavor.