Variety Flour Thursday: Olive Oil Cake

February 10, 2011

Variety Flour Thursday strikes again!

On account of all the butter I’ve used this week making brioche, and all the sugar that went into my belly in the form of bostock, I wanted to shy away from butter for this recipe.  Smitten Kitchen posted a recipe for olive oil cake, and a little light went on in the pantry of my brain. Olive oil in cookies is amazing, and olive oil itself is just incredible, so olive oil in cake?! I love cake!

Once that was settled, I went about finding a recipe. The search wasn’t all that intense. Olive oil, dark chocolate, rosemary. Rosemary?! It’s not any less rich than brioche, but the flavor combination and texture is utterly different and a welcome change on my plate. And palate. I tried to think of a joke with the plate/palate thing, but came up with nothing. Alas, jokes are not within my skill set.

Today my flour of choice is spelt. Multiple sources tell me that you can substitute spelt flour in any recipe that calls for all-purpose, which made me sad because I’m trying all these different flours in order to explore distinct flavors and textures. It made me sad until I played with it for a bit. Even though spelt flour is closely related to regular wheat flour (all-purpose), you can definitely see, feel, and taste the difference. There are grains flecked throughout, and the taste is sweeter than all-purpose. You almost want to just eat the flour. Almost. Truthfully, I’m not sure how the cake would turn out using solely all-purpose, but I can imagine it wouldn’t hold its own against the bold flavors of the chocolate, rosemary, and olive oil.

The history of spelt flour is intense. We’re talking Stone Age and Old Testament. I’m in love with these sorts of things, where you feel like a time-traveler, like you have something physical and real in common with the people who came not just centuries before you, but thousands of years before you.

Olive Oil Cake

(Recipe adapted from Good to the Grain)

Yields one 9 inch cake


1 cup spelt flour

1 ¼ cup all-purpose flour

¾ cup granulated sugar

1 ½ teaspoons baking powder

¾ teaspoon salt

3 eggs

1 cup olive oil, plus some to oil the pan

¾ cup milk (whole is preferred, but whatever you have on hand)

1 ½ tablespoons rosemary, fresh (but crushed, dried rosemary works)

5 oz, or a heaping ¾ cup, chopped dark chocolate, or chocolate chips


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and prepare either a 9 inch fluted tart pan, or a 9-inch cake pan, by rubbing it with a light coating of olive oil.

2. In a medium bowl, sift dry ingredients together, returning any bits of grain or sugar back into the sifted mixture. Set aside.

3. In a mixing bowl large enough for all cake batter, whisk eggs until frothy and combined completely.

4. Add olive oil, milk, and rosemary. Whisk until combined.

5. Fold in dry ingredients, mixing only until batter is just combined.

6. Fold in chocolate.

7. Pour cake batter evenly into pan and bake for 40 minutes, or until a cake tester comes out clean.

8. Cake can either be eaten warm or cooled to room temperature. Let cool in pan.

Store cake in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days, or freeze up to a month.


Not sure there is anything in focus in this picture, but I love my cat (even though she has a bad case of crazy eyes) and I love this cake.


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