Gosh…that title was quite a mouthful! I just couldn’t leave any of those key components out.
Have you ever tried an olive oil cake? I must admit, I never had before this.
I have eaten several “vegetable oil cakes” due to the fact that over the past couple of decades, lots of people have been lead to believe that yucky vegetable oils are healthier than butter and ghee (spoiler alert: they AREN’T). This caused many to replace the butter in their cakes with corn or sunflower oils, believing they were doing themselves a favour. So anyway, I have had many such cakes at family gatherings and lunches, and they were ok…oils do tend to keep cakes moist, I’ll give them that, but otherwise nothing special. Nothing to be compared with butter, that’s for sure.
Now over the past few years as my culinary horizons drastically expanded, I repeatedly came across the olive oil cake. It is Italian in origin, and the thought of it instantly intrigued me.
I ADORE olive oil. I think it is more precious than liquid gold. It is one of the absolute best things in the world to put into (and onto!) your body, and definitely one of -if not THE BEST- form of fat around. I eat copious amounts of it, and often slather it onto my hair and body to enjoy its endless benefits and intoxicating aroma. I knew I had to try this olive oil cake thing.
I have no idea why it took me so long to do it.
..Actually, that was a lie…yes I do. Lolz.
As much as I love to, I don’t bake as often as I used to, so as to avoid eating too much refined flour and sugar. I am always trying to develop new healthier versions of food I love, but have been sort of slow to do so with desserts, specifically baked things. Because, well…I am a wuss.
It is just SO much more intimidating to mess with cake or pastry recipes, and the uptight perfectionist goody-two-shoes in me that always feels compelled to follow the recipe kinda gets stressed out and anxious at the idea of altering baking recipes. Baking is after all, as we all know, a science.
Don’t get me wrong, I still eat full-on white sugar and white flour treats occasionally…but for this cake, I wanted it to be more of an everyday affair. I wanted it to be nourishing enough to count as a solid weekday breakfast option that I would feel absolutely great about eating first thing in the morning with a cup of tea.
So I searched around, desperately trying to find something that ticks all my boxes, to no avail. There are lots of olive oil cake recipes, yes. There are some cakes made with wholewheat flour, uhuh. There are other cakes sweetened mostly with honey, yep. Is there a cake that combines all these qualities? Nope.
Alrightie then…time to man the heck up and create one myself. Enough with this sissy fear of baking-experimentation. I can do this. No more fear of kitchen flops…they are the only way I will learn!
I set out to make the perfect fully-wholewheat olive oil cake, sweetened entirely with honey. I also decided I want to have yoghurt in there too. You know, because breakfast. And why not throw in some fruit while I’m at it? I sat down and scribbled some rough quantities, armed with nothing but some vague common sense and lots of wishful thinking, then headed to the kitchen. Here goes…
The most amazing, magical, unbelievable, miraculous, MARVELLOUS thing happened…it turned out PERFECT THE FIRST TIME! I had almost no idea what I was doing, and I FRIGGIN’ NAILED IT!!! I couldn’t believe it…proud proud moment in the kitchen you guys. (Sorry for bragging, please don’t hate me…or hate me but then go make this cake and fall in love with me again.)
I could not have wished for better results: the cake is ultra fluffy and moist from that gorgeous olive oil and the creamy yoghurt, SUPER tasty from all those beautiful flavours I packed in there, and SO GLORIOUSLY FRAGRANT!
I want my house to smell like this ALL the time please. You heard me, candle makers.
Also, do you see how the beautiful pear slices kinda sunk into the batter and got all cosy and comfortable in that deep golden crust? I just LOVE that! I want to BE those pear slices and live among those luxurious cushions of cake.
I added a touch of ground cardamom, because I think it goes so well with pears, similarly to how cinnamon & apples are best buddies…but feel free to leave that out if you wish. Also, this can totally work with apples and cinnamon actually, if pears aren’t in season. I think lots of different fruit can be used successfully here, and I’ll definitely be trying several others out.
This cake is the perfect justification you need to eat cake for breakfast, which is basically one of my ultimate life goals. Feel free to drizzle with some extra glorious honey before applying to face.
(I made a GIF!! Teehee!)
Here’s to many more (hopefully successful!) baking adventures!
NEWS: My photo of this cake won me 3rd place in the DMBLGiT contest for June 2015!! Isn’t that AMAZING?I’m THRILLED! You can read about it and see the other fabulous winners here.
- • 170g whole-wheat flour
- • 1 ½ tsp. baking powder
- • ½ tsp. baking soda
- • ⅓ tsp. ground cardamom (optional)
- • ¼ tsp. salt
- • 2 eggs
- • 1 tsp. vanilla extract, or the seeds from one vanilla pod
- • 125 ml extra virgin olive oil
- • 125 ml honey*
- • 180g plain yoghurt
- • 1 pear, cored, unpeeled, cut into 8 slices
- Preheat oven to 190 degrees C (375F)
- Grease and flour a round 20cm (8 inch) cake pan thoroughly. Set aside. (You can use either butter or oil for this).
- In a bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt and cardamom (if using). Set aside.
- In another bowl, whisk the eggs with the vanilla using an electric mixer until light and fluffy, about 4-5 minutes. Add the oil, honey and yoghurt & mix until just combined.
- Add the flour mixture to the egg mixture in two additions, mixing just until combined each time. Do not over-mix; you want to keep as much air in there as possible.
- Pour batter into prepared cake pan, arrange pear slices on top and bake for 35-40 minutes, until deep golden and a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Leave to cool for 10-15 minutes in the pan before unmoulding. Serve warm or room temperature, drizzled with extra honey if desired. Store, covered, at room temperature for 2 days or up to a week in the fridge.
• You can swap the pear slices for apple or peaches or pretty much any fruit...I have only tried and tested pears and apples though! You can also swap the cardamom for any spice you like such as cinnamon or ginger or nutmeg etc.
• I strongly suggest weighing ingredients when baking.