I feel like I’m one of those food bloggers who tends to be behind the trends. Macarons, for one thing; they’re all the rage, and yet, I only just bought a macaron-specific cookbook (more on that later). Olive oil bread is another one of these trends. When I first saw a post for an olive oil cake, I turned my nose up in disgust. A cake without butter, I thought, was not cake. It did not warrant the label cake. But then Heidi’s cake recipe snuck up on me. It has olive oil, yes, but it also has enough sugar (and chocolate, let’s be fair) to make it actually seem like a cake.
It should be noted that I was mostly inspired to make this cake out of sheer desperation to avoid working on my thesis. I am graduating from college in a little bit under two months, which I still haven’t wrapped my head around. My thesis is due in a little under three weeks, which I seem to refuse to wrap my head around. Rather than working like mad (
like I should be) I have instead been diligently avoiding thinking about this life-changing project which could very well help my chances of getting into grad school next year. Instead…well, what have I done instead? Clearly I’ve also been avoiding this blog (I’m not sure if I just can’t stomach responsibility or writing or both), but I have baked, photographed, and knitted a prodigious amount. I have also made some time for my half-marathon training, and have spent a lot of time studiously avoiding the realization that I’m leaving school for at least a year in two months. It’s a scary time. And it’s doubly scary because I’m getting ready to leave another amazing family. A group of people who I have truly grown to love, and who I’m struggling to imagine living without.
This year has been full of ups and downs, and I suppose this is my way of apologizing for my absence; I’ve been trying very hard to maintain friendships with some of these very special people, and I’ve also been busy setting bridges on fire like it’s my job – and not in a good way. I’ve felt like a pretty terrible person a lot this year, and I think avoiding this blog was a way of avoiding talking about that, and how badly I’ve felt about it. I’m still not sure how to handle everything, exactly, but for the first time in a while, the sun is shining, and I felt inspired to come back here and talk to you about food.
So here we are: I’ve jumped on the olive oil bandwagon, and I’m bringing it to you, courtesy of Heidi. I’m sure most of you know exactly who she is, but if you haven’t, you should certainly head to her blog – her photography is truly beautiful, and her recipes are wonderfully creative. This particular bread was consumed in the space of two or three days (thankfully not all by me, although I was certainly the most gluttonous culprit), and is a treat that simply feels like sunshine.
Olive Oil Banana Bread (adapted from 101 Cookbooks)
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
3/4 cup brown sugar
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
6 oz coarsely chopped chocolate*
1/3 cup olive oil
3 ripe bananas, mashed
1/4 cup Greek yoghurt**
1 tsp freshly grated lemon zest
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup confectioner’s sugar
4+ tsp freshly squeezed lemon juice, room temperature
Preheat the oven to 350°F and oil and flour a bundt pan [you can also use a 1 lb bread pan, also oiled and floured].
In a large bowl, combine olive oil, bananas, eggs, yoghurt, lemon zest and vanilla. Mix until loosely combined, or until slightly lumpy. In a separate bowl, combine flours, brown sugar, baking soda, and salt. Add the chocolate pieces and mix well. Gradually add the moist ingredients to the dry, folding the two together with a spatula. Pour the mixture into the bundt pan and bake 45-50 minutes, or until the top is golden brown and a knife comes out clean.*** Allow to cool in the pan for ten minutes before removing the cake and allowing to cool on a wire rack.
While the cake cools, prepare the glaze. Combine the sugars and the lemon juice and allow to sit. Monitor the glaze and continue to stir until well-combined and smooth in texture. Pour the glaze over the cake, using the spatula to create evenness as necessary.
*Heidi’s original recipe calls for bittersweet or dark chocolate. Having tried this, I would recommend trying semi-sweet. I tend to dislike the bitterness of dark chocolate, so I prefer a slightly sweeter chocolate like I use in my other banana bread. Use whatever suits your palate.
**Originally this calls for full-fat yoghurt. I wanted the thickness of that yoghurt without all of the saturated fat, so I went with Greek yoghurt, which has a lovely consistency, but is much healthier.
***I’ve gotten stupidly lazy about doing dishes, so I no longer use this test – if the cake jiggles when it’s shaken a little (side to side, for example), stick it back in for another five minutes. No jiggling? Take it out.