This is a rather… grown-up sort of cake. The flavours are very interesting and complex. They play off of each other surprisingly well. It’s a nice match with some really good, hot coffee on a dreary fall day (guess what the weather is like right now, just guess). I find olive oil cakes are usually filed under the love or hate column for most people. No in-between or “meh” reactions. I’m obviously a fan of the fruity and unique taste and paired it up with some roasted hazelnuts, dark chocolate and rosemary. If I was gonna go there with the whole olive oil thing, I wanted to go all the way.
The cake turned out so tender and buttery. I used all whole grain spelt flour with a good amount of almond meal to make things interesting. I find that it adds really nice textural elements to cakes and cookies, like super crunchy edges and biscuit-y qualities. So good. Once you get a bite of that crisp and nutty edge with a little nugget of roasted hazelnut and a creamy dab of dark chocolate… oh boy. You can make almond meal at home too! If you have a food processor, blender or coffee grinder, you’re all set. Just be careful to not let ‘er rip too long. Hello accidental almond butter! That wouldn’t be so bad…
I didn’t use a terribly expensive oil for this since I needed a whole cup of it. I imagine the more delicately nuanced varieties might lose some of their subtlety once mixed into a batter with sugar, flours, chocolate, rosemary etc and baked for 45 minutes. Reach for the in-store brand and all will be well.
olive oil cake with rosemary, dark chocolate & hazelnuts
adapted from Kim Boyce’s Good to the Grain
serves: makes 1 nine inch cake
notes: All spelt flour would work just fine if you don’t have almond meal. You can leave the rosemary out too if you aren’t feeling super adventurous :)
1 1/2 cups whole spelt flour
1 cup almond meal
1/2 cup natural sugar
1 tbsp baking powder
1 sprig of rosemary, leaves finely chopped
3/4 tsp fine sea salt
3/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
1 cup olive oil
3/4 cup non-dairy milk (or dairy milk, whatever you like)
100 grams dark chocolate, chopped
1/2 cup hazelnuts, toasted, peeled and chopped roughly
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 9 inch round cake pan with olive oil. Place a circle of parchment onto the bottom of the pan and grease that as well.
Sift the spelt flour into a large bowl. Dump any remaining bits of grain in the sifter into the bowl. Add the almond meal, sugar, baking powder, rosemary and sea salt. Whisk to combine.
In a separate medium bowl, whisk the applesauce, olive oil and milk together thoroughly. Pour the wet mix into dry mix in the large bowl. Carefully stir and fold mixture together with a spatula until just combined. Fold in chocolate and hazelnuts.
Scrape batter into prepared cake pan and smooth out the top. Bake on the center rack for 45-50 minutes or until a cake tester comes out of the center part clean. Allow to cool thoroughly before removing from the pan and serving.
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