Today I bring you an olive oil, almond bundt cake that is rippled with dark berries and fragrant with zesty-peppery basil sugar. Make this for an afternoon tea with friends or cut into thick slices and pack in a picnic basket to take to the park on a Spring afternoon.
Hello and (happy?) Monday! Today I bring you a very very good olive oil cake – it's pistachio-hued and rippled with berries, their bubbling juices staining the surrounding crumb here and there in shades of pink and blue. There's a tangy lemon glaze and a sprinkle of crunchy basil sugar adorning the top. In short, I bring you a cake that is perfect to snack on at any time of day, particularly with coffee or tea.
It looks almost Christmassy, with the dark red berries, green basil sugar flourish and the ornate impressions from the bundt tin. I can't say I'm surprised that I accidentally made a Christmas-vibe kind of cake – I went Christmas shopping on the weekend, purchased some new sparkling snow-white baubles and twinkling tree lights and found a few Christmas DVD's that were missing from my collection (Elf! Home Alone!), so I was in a very Christmassy kind of mood. Is it too early to break out the Christmas carols?!
I love olive oil cake in many different guises – whether they be with citrus, chocolate, or herbs (or even better – a mix of the three). Actually I just love olive oil full-stop, it's one of the things I could not live without in my kitchen. My favourite kind is an organic, extra virgin variety from Mount Zero Olives in Victoria, three hours from Melbourne (I swear all the best things come from the Melbourne / Victoria area, maybe I should move there…?), the fragrant oil tastes of herbs and tropical fruits and I buy it in two litre boxes from our favourite organic grocery.
I generally run out within three weeks or so, that's how gluttonous I am when it comes to the golden oil, I use it in everything – on pasta and pizza, drizzled onto my avocado toast or into my salads, whipped up with cashews in a cashew aioli, drizzled over ice-cream and…baked into cakes!
In this instance, the light, fruity olive oil (nothing too bitter or pungent) mingles with all of the other ingredients to create a cake that is perfect to have with coffee or tea in the morning or afternoon, or perhaps served with whipped coconut cream and extra berries for dessert.
The basil enhances the floral flavour of the olive oil and sits so nicely alongside the sweet-sour berries and tangy lemon glaze and the almond meal and almond 'buttermilk' add lightness and a nutty flavour that always pairs well with fruit. It's wonderful. I'm not sure my pictures did it justice, It really is beautiful.
I'm having a little frustrated moment with my photography if I'm being honest – I can see how I want it to look, I know what looks good but I'm struggling to translate it, because of a multitude of things that all boil down to the fact that I'm only at the beginning of my journey with photography. Sometimes I just wish I could skip the journey you know?! And jump to the part where I feel confident and can create something that I'm happy with. I know people say 'It's about the journey, not the destination', and although I agree wholeheartedly, sometimes I just want to yell at those people, 'screw the journey!', then run away to the land of no journey's (a very boring world now that I think on it…).
I suppose I'm just stuck in that loop of comparison that is all too easy to become immersed in, especially in this age of social media. Everyone is doing all of these perfect things (or so it appears), so being at the beginning can feel even more difficult. You can make yourself feel so inferior so easily in this internet world, it's a tough one.
I found this post from Pinch of Yum to be very helpful in boosting my mindset, It's good to know that the 'successful' people can feel the exact same way…in the end it's not our perceived success or lack thereof that make us feel vulnerable and inferior, it's our human nature, something that no one can escape from, for better or worse!
Anyhow, I just received my copy of Molly on The Range, so I'm off to flick through that (there's some spaghetti and meatless balls calling my name) with a mug of coffee and another piece of this olive oil cake, I hope your Monday afternoons are just as happy!
Olive Oil, Almond Bundt Cake with Berries + Basil Sugar
Yield 12–14 slices / 1 large bundt cake
vegan, egg-free, dairy-free, soy-free
A flavourful olive oil and almond bundt cake, rippled with dark berries and fragrant with zesty-peppery basil sugar. Make this for an afternoon tea with friends or cut into thick slices and pack in a picnic basket to take to the park on a Spring afternoon.
- 3/4 c packed basil leaves
- 1 3/4 c raw sugar (I used demerera)
- zest of 1 large lemon
- 2 c all-purpose flour
- 3/4 c almond flour
- 3/4 tsp. fine sea salt
- 1 1/2 tsp. baking soda
- 1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
- 2 1/2 – 3 cups mixed berries (fresh or frozen)
- 1 1/2 c basil sugar
- 3/4 c good quality, mild extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tbsp. ground flax mixed with 6 tbsp water & set aside to thicken
- 3/4 c almond buttermilk (see method)
- 1/4 c coconut yoghurt
- juice of 1 lemon
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
- 2 c powdered sugar, sifted
- about 1–2 tbsp lemon juice
- 1 tbsp. olive oil
- 1/4 cup basil sugar
- Blend the basil leaves in a food processor until finely chopped, add the sugar & lemon zest and pulse until everything is mixed together well and no visible pieces of basil remain. If not using immediately, keep in an airtight container in the fridge.
olive oil cake
- Preheat the oven to 180 degrees celsius / 350 fahrenheit. Oil a 10-cup sized bundt tin well (i used room temp coconut oil, it's a little more solid and seems to help the cake to not stick), making sure to get into every crevice. Dust with flour, shaking out any excess and set aside.
- Make the buttermilk — add 1 tbsp of lemon juice or apple cider vinegar to a measuring jug, then fill with almond milk to the 3/4 mark. Mix gently and leave to 'activate' for 10 minutes.
- Add the flours, sea salt, baking soda & powder to a large bowl & whisk to combine & aerate. Using your hands, toss the berries through the flour mixture until coated. In a separate bowl, whisk together 1 1/2 cups basil sugar, olive oil, flax egg, buttermilk, yoghurt, lemon juice & vanilla. Fold the wet mixture through the berry-flour mix until just combined & pour into the prepared bundt tin.
- Bake on the middle rack of the oven for approximately 60–70 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 30 minutes in the pan, then carefully flip the bundt tin upside down onto a cooling rack and lift the tin off. It should slip right out, slide a knife around the edge if it needs a little help. Leave on the rack until completely cool. Meanwhile make the glaze.
- Whisk together the sifted powered sugar, lemon juice and olive oil in a bowl until combined. It should be thick, but thin enough to drip slowly over the cake. Add more lemon juice or powdered sugar until you have the right consistency. Allow to thicken before drizzling the glaze over the top of the cooled cake, then sprinkle the top with the remaining 1/4 cup basil sugar.
- Best served on the day of baking, but the cake will keep 3–4 days in an airtight container.
Courses Morning or Afternoon Tea