Olive oil is not just for salad! It loves cake just as much… Think of it as the red cocktail dress of the baking world — it doesn’t feature in every event, but when you bring it out at the right moment, it’s classy, captivating and all eyes (or mouths) will be on it.
Probably my favourite baking recipe of all time is my veganized version of the olive oil rosemary cake with chocolate chunks from Kim Boyce’s wonderful book “Good to the Grain: Baking with Whole-Grain Flours”. I took that recipe and adapted it a little to feature spring time superstar the rhubarb, its tartness pairing nicely with the green, grassy olive oil, especially with the addition of some lemon or orange zest. I actually think several other fruit could be promising too — try strawberries or peaches in summer or plums or pears in autumn. It’s easy and fast to pull together with regular supermarket ingredients, so there’s no excuse to drop what you are doing and go make it right now.
Rhubarb Olive Oil Cake
Instead of the two different flours, you can also use only light spelt flour (Dinkelmehl hell) or half-white wheat flour (Halbweiss Weizenmehl). The chickpea/soy flour is optional, it helps a little with binding, and gives a yellow colour, but is not necessary. The higher quality olive oil you use, the more pronounced and enticing the flavour will be, although I usually use “regular” extra-virgin olive oil and it’s still delicious.
100g whole spelt flour 150g all-purpose white flour
30g chickpea/soy flour, optional
150g raw cane sugar 2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
pinch of salt
Wetingredients 240ml olive oil 240ml soy milk (almond could also be good)
1 tablespoon lemon juice/apple cider vinegar
Grated zest of 1 organic orange (or lemon)
300-350g rhubarb stalks, sliced in half length-wise and then cross-wise
Sugar for sprinkling on top (big grain sugar is nice)
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius
Grease a 30cm round cake pan or line it with baking paper
Combine the dry ingredients in a bowl and whisk well to combine
Combine the wet ingredients in a separate bowl and also whisk well to combine
Pour the wet into the dry and mix to combine with as few strokes as possible — do not over-mix
Pour the batter into the pan and then press the rhubarb stalks in so they sink in
Sprinkle some sugar on top and then bake for ~20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean