Lets talk about olive oils for a second - one of my favorite ingredients. I know you are probably wondering why I’m so excited about such a standard ingredient but this recipe will make you appreciate how delicious and versatile olive oil really is. There are a couple different flavors to look for: fruity, pungent and bitter. The latter two are somewhat of an acquired taste and can have a hot, peppery and/or bitter taste. If you’ve never done an olive oil tasting, I’d highly recommend it. They range in taste, color and aroma due to the many different variables that go into making it. Depending on how and where the olives are grown, when they are harvested, how they are pressed and how they are bottled change the way olive oils taste, smell and look. Colors typically range from a light, honey yellow to a medium, vibrant green. Personally, I have a fondness for green and fruity olive oils that are grassy with a sweet buttery note. If you find yourself a nice olive oil to use that inspires your senses, ALL of your food will taste better.
On another note (pun intended), I really enjoy using ingredients from local farms. In today’s recipe, I’m using Glenn Flour that is a heritage grain from Kenter Canyon Farms. (If you’re local to Los Angeles, you’ve probably seen their greens in markets like Whole Foods.) Their flours offer a nice, nutty flavor and a hearty texture. I’d suggest finding your own local product, which can be substituted in, even for the AP flour. If not, a good whole wheat or spelt flour can be used.
What is great about this recipe is that it brings out the inherent taste of the olive oil you choose with. The best thing about olive oil cakes are they are oh so moist, tender, fluffy and really light. I’ve pretty much become obsessed with them lately, which is why I’m happy to share this particular recipe which I’ve adapted from Green Kitchen Stories’ Banana Bread.
1 c AP flour
1 c Kenter Canyon Farms Glenn Flour
1 t baking powder
1 /4 t baking soda
1/4 t sea salt
3 ripe bananas
3/4 c + 1 T nice olive oil
1/3 c maple syrup
1/2 c oat milk - or favorite milk or milk alternative
1 1/4 t vanilla
1/2 c sunflower seeds
1 1/4 c blueberries
Preheat oven to 350˚F.
Combine dry ingredients: flours, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Give a quick stir with your hand, spoon or whisk so they're evenly mixed.
In a separate bowl, mash the bananas until pasty and stir in olive oil, maple syrup, milk and vanilla, i.e., the wets. Mix the dries into the wets, only until they are just combined - you don't want to over mix the batter as the gluten in the flours becomes stronger and more defined and you'll have a tougher cake. Gently fold in sunflower seeds and blueberries.
When the batter is mixed, pour it into a well greased pan of choice - I chose a regular bundt. Bake for about an hour, or until a toothpick comes out clean. All ovens are different so be sure to check it after 50 minutes to get an idea of timing. When the toothpick comes out clean, let the pan cool on a wire rack for at least 10 minutes. Once the pan cools (so it's somewhat manageable to touch) you can gently turn the cake out of the pan and let cool for at least another 30 minutes. This is such a great cake to smear a bit of butter on or homemade jam.