Baking a Better Holiday: Olive Oil Spelt Cake w/ Caramelized Apples

We’ll be baking cakes, breads, and other goodies during the holidays using extra virgin olive oil. A good olive oil adds a fabulous, nuanced flavor to baked goods. Plus, it’s lower in saturated fat than butter. We’re sharing our passion for baking and olive oil this month with the baking gurus at Bob’s Red Mill Natural Foods. They’ve created the fabulous cake featured here: an Olive Oil Spelt Cake with Caramelized Apples.“Extra virgin olive oil produces light and moist baked goods with rich olive oil background notes while letting the accompanying flavors shine through,” says Bob’s Red Mill recipe specialist Sarah House, who developed this multi-grain cake. (Click here to see the recipe for this cake.)

The recipe is part of “Baking a Better Holiday.” Stay tuned here and to our Facebook page for baking tips and recipes featuring extra virgin olive oil – instead of butter. We’ll be featuring recipes from professional bakers, and talented food bloggers.

For this recipe, Sarah told us she wanted to make this cake “as whole grain as possible.”

“Everyone’s go-to whole grain flour seems to be wheat,” she added. “So I decided to use something structurally similar but perhaps not as well known to most bakers.  Spelt has a great mildly nutty flavor.”

Sarah also noted many quick breads contain nuts.  “I wanted to accentuate the nutty flavor of spelt and thought it would be fun to replace nuts with cooked spelt berries,” she said.  “The substitution worked out great, adding a lovely light chew to the cake and increasing the whole grain content for extra nutrition.”

Sarah said the use of olive oil helps to “lighten the otherwise dense and heavy whole grain flours.”

What’s the importance of using an extra virgin olive oil that actually tastes good – in other words, not just any ordinary olive oil. We’ll let Sarah explain. She initially tested the recipe using what she called an “inexpensive, off-the-shelf” olive oil.

“Wow, was it obvious that I had used low-quality oil,” Sarah added.  “The flavor of the oil overpowered the rest of the cake and left a noticeable aftertaste.”

Sarah had much better results using one of our oils. “There was a lighter, more fragrant olive oil flavor that melded nicely with the nuttiness of the spelt and the warmth of cinnamon,” she said. “And the texture was lighter, almost velvety.”

Bon appétit,

Your friends at California Olive Ranch