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from my table: spelt olive oil cake with chocolate and rosemary

April 22, 2011

Welcome to the newest evolution of what was Nosh Friday and is now “From my Table.” As I have historically had issues getting my weekly recipe posts up each Friday, I thought changing up the name might help give me a little leeway and perhaps inspire me with a fresh perspective on just what I am trying to do with sharing these recipes with you. It’s a part of a blog spring overhaul, as far as looks go, and I am excited for this newest incarnation. Enjoy and let me know any thoughts you might have!

Despite my great love for things like butter and whipped cream, I have been making a conscious effort towards using more whole grains, natural sweeteners and other healthier alternatives in my baking. I hang firm on the conviction that dessert should be enjoyed, not feared, and that it also has a lot of say outside of plain white flour and sugar. Finding new ways to make traditional desserts a little kinder will hopefully not only inspire people to savor new flavors in their desserts, but encourage more people to view sweets as something you can sensibly include in a diet that looks to eat healthier.

To many, “healthier” translates to tasteless, dry and capital “b” BO-RING. I get this. I’ve experienced this. Someone’s good intentions turn into cookies and cakes that taste like cardboard and leave you and your sweet tooth anything but satisfied. Well, hang on to your apron strings, all ye naysayers. This cake will blow those assumptions out of the water…and then some!

Made with a combination of spelt and white whole wheat flours, studded with rosemary and bittersweet chocolate chunks, and made deliciously rich with the good fats of olive oil and the tang of buttermilk, this cake proves that whole grain is sexy. Adapted slightly from a recipe found in Kim Boyce’s wonderful cookbook, Good to the Grain, this cake starred in a family spring (indoor) picnic last weekend. Even my generally picky brother-in-law requested seconds which, in our family, is a litmus test of a generally successful recipe. Its rich crumb isn’t too light or too dense and it pairs beautifully with the chunks of deep, bittersweet chocolate. The earthy aromas of the spelt and whole wheat flours brought out the piney taste of the rosemary, an unlikely but absolutely fabulous addition to this dessert.

I loved this cake and would absolutely make it again…and again…and again. While the original recipe calls to use a 9 1/2 inch fluted tart pan, I am going to recommend a regular 9 inch cake pan. My tart pan overflowed a bit and while trimming the edges off of the finished cake provided me with an excellent snack, I think skipping that step would be preferable in the future.

Enjoy the wonderfully earthy smells and tastes of this oh-so-sassy cake this Earth Day (and every day)!

Olive Oil Cake
Adapted slightly from Good to the Grain

3/4 c. spelt flour
1 1/2 c. white whole wheat flour
3/4 c. granulated sugar
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
3/4 tsp. kosher salt
3 eggs, preferably organic
1 c. olive oil
3/4 c. buttermilk
1 1/2 tbsp. fresh rosemary, finely chopped
5 ounces bittersweet chocolate (about 70% cacao), cut into roughly 1/2 inch pieces

Position a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 350°F. Rub a 9 inch cake pan with olive oil and set aside.

Sift the dry ingredients into a large bowl, pouring back into the bowl any bits of grain or other ingredients that may remain in the sifter, and set aside. In a large bowl, whisk the eggs thoroughly. Add the olive oil, buttermilk and rosemary and whisk again. Using a spatula, fold the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients, gently mixing until just combined. Stir in the chocolate.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan, spreading it evenly and smoothing the top. Bake for about 40 minutes, or until the top is domed, golden brown and darker around the edges, and a skewer inserted into the center comes out clean.

The cake can be eaten warm or cool from the pan, or cooled, wrapped tightly in plastic and kept for up to 2 days.

6 Comments leave one →
  1. April 22, 2011 8:47 pm

    oh good grief Caroline, this looks out of this WORLD!
    why do you do this to me and my thighs?
    happy good friday to you and yours.
    sunday’s comin’ 😉

  2. April 22, 2011 9:29 pm

    looks incredible!
    did you use extra virgin olive oil or ‘light tasting?’ i’ve used extra virgin in replacement of butter before (when I was vegan) and often the desserts would end up having a strange taste because of the olive oil.

  3. Caroline permalink*
    April 23, 2011 1:00 pm

    @ Rebekah –

    I used extra virgin olive oil. I found the fruitness in the oil paired well with the whole grains, herbs and bittersweetness of the chocolate. If you don’t like the taste of the olive oil, you could use the light-tasting kind or substitute a more flavorless oil, like soybean or canola.

  4. April 29, 2011 3:55 pm

    Love the new look! You are such a talented designer.


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