Gallery: Behind the Scenes: How to Make the Olive Oil Cake at Michael White's Ai Fiori

Olive oil cake
Olive oil cake

An elegantly presented dessert that is actually fairly easy (although time consuming) to make.

Pastry chef Alina Martell
Pastry chef Alina Martell

Chef Martell whips together this dessert like it's second nature.

Making the cake batter
Making the cake batter

Step one to any delicious baked good: lots of butter

Making the cake batter
Making the cake batter

Cheating to make the butter warm up faster. Don't try this at home.

Making the cake batter
Making the cake batter

Adding an egg

Making the cake batter
Making the cake batter

The olive oil must be drizzled in very slowly!

Making the cake batter
Making the cake batter

The rest of the dry ingredients (flour, sugar, baking powder, salt) and milk are added together

Making the cake batter
Making the cake batter

...and the batter is poured!

Olive oil cake
Olive oil cake

It comes out of the oven with a crisp, golden brown crust.

Olive oil cake
Olive oil cake

The crust is trimmed off and the cake is cut into perfect circles.

Olive oil cake
Olive oil cake

I got to snack on the leftover crusty bits and let me tell you, they are ADDICTIVE. If they served the edge bits alone I would be a pretty happy camper.

Mascarpone mousse
Mascarpone mousse

Heavy cream, sugar, gelatin, and mascarpone are whisked together

Mascarpone mousse
Mascarpone mousse

...and combined with softly whipped heavy cream

Mascarpone mousse
Mascarpone mousse

The mousse is piped into the molds and frozen before the next layer can be added

Pistachio cremeux
Pistachio cremeux

The pistachio cremeux (pistachio paste, white chocolate, and creme anglaise) is part 2 of the 3-step laying-and-freezing process

Strawberry gelee
Strawberry gelee

The strawberry gelee is the last layer to be added and frozen

Frozen things
Frozen things

Fresh from the freezer

Frozen things
Frozen things

Three perfect layers!

Strawberry topping
Strawberry topping

Chef Martell slices perfect strawberries imported from sunny California, though she uses ones from the local farmer's market when they are in season

Pistachios
Pistachios

A sprinkling of chopped pistachios fills in the gaps between each strawberry slice

Candy garnish
Candy garnish

Last but not least, multiple types of sugar are melted together, re-solidified, and then ground back up into a fine homogeneous powder

Candy garnish
Candy garnish

After the addition of bits of candied violet, the sugar-circles are flash-melted one last time

Candy garnish
Candy garnish

There you have it, twice-melted candy garnishes!