The sugar department of the kitchen is where my American parentage is felt loud and proud, ignoring any trace of British accent or London upbringing. Many summer months during formative years spent on the other side of the Atlantic cemented my All American sweet tooth. I will always choose cookies over macarons, pies over patisserie, cobbler over crumble, tootsie rolls over humbugs.
In adult life, I returned from frequent Stateisde visits not only with the inspiration to recreate the wholesome sentimentality of brownies and cookies, but also carrying bags laden with sheet pans, cookie cutters and speciality decorations impossible to find locally here. And of course the latest additions to the book collection.
Baking books - mostly American - take up a considerable percentage of space on my designated cookbook shelves in the kitchen. I discovered Kim Boyce’s Bakeshop Bakery (and book) on my last visit to Portland Oregon, one of the growing food capitals of the Pacific Northwest. Kim’s book was an inspiration for people interested in cooking with different whole grains including recipes such as a variation on this one using spelt flour.
This cake is one of our staples. It ticks the dairy free box, the spelt adds an interesting texture and wonderful nutty flavour and of course meets all the chocolate requirements without classing itself as just another chocolate cake in the collection. Kim makes hers with rosemary. While this gives a wonderfully refreshing flavour, it holds the cake in the morning coffee / teatime category rather than all around baked treat as good for a snack as for dessert.
I substituted the rosemary here with cinnamon, but often use cardamom or orange zest. I also added a little brown sugar as I thought the original recipe lacked a little sweetness. (I love baking with whole grains for their depth of flavour - the “healthy dessert” is a little bit of a misnomer - just eat a little less and include the requisite amount of sweetness. In the same vein, I also added more chocolate. Forgive me Kim.
Chocolate Chip Olive Oil Cake
Adapted From Kim Boyce Good To The Grain
We make this in a 25cm high sided fluted tart pan, but works well in a springform tin and also in a 35cm x 25cm Swiss roll tin and cut into squares.
In the summer we pile seasonal fresh fruit on the top and in the winter it’s covered with a chocolate ganache. This also works really well as a two layer birthday cake for a celebration.
You can replace the cinnamon in the recipe with ground cardamom, 1tsp chopped fresh rosemary, orange zest, or topped with slivered almonds.
Olive oil for the pan
100g spelt flour
210g plain flour
1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp salt
3 large eggs
150g caster sugar
50g soft brown sugar
250ml olive oil
1 tsp vanilla extract
180ml whole milk, almond milk, soy milk or coconut milk
200g dark chocolate, chopped into small pieces
Preheat the oven to 180C. Rub a 25cm fluted tart pan with olive oil.
In a large bowl, whisk the flours, cinnamon, baking powder, and salt together.
In another large bowl, whisk the eggs thoroughly with the sugars. Add the olive oil and once completely incorporated follow with milk and vanilla and whisk again until combined.
With a spatula gently fold the dry ingredients into the wet, mixing just until combined. Stir in the chopped chocolate.
Pour the batter into the pan, spreading it evenly and smoothing the top.
Bake for 35 minutes, or until the top is domed, golden brown, and a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean.
Cake will keep happily for 2-3 days wrapped in cling film.