Checking in really quickly with this olive oil loaf that we haven’t been able to get out of our heads. We knew that we wanted it to be vegan and naturally sweetened, with a pink, plant-based icing, but the rest took a bit of debate. Should it be gluten-free or not? Should we aim to make it golden yellow like traditional olive oil cake? We finally decided on a simple, spelt version (maybe we’ll tackle a gf one later?), sweetened with coconut sugar, and thus darker in color than your average olive oil batter. It is still moist and hearty, and the icing is so easy and very special :)
I love baking with spelt flour, especially sprouted spelt, which I used quite a bit for the baked goods in our new cookbook. The batter here is very simple, and yields a nice, crumbly yet moist dough, perfect for baking projects like this one. I would usually use coconut oil in this batter, but decided to go the traditional route and use olive oil. I love the subtle, earthy flavor that it brings to this loaf.
I discovered that coconut butter makes an excellent base for vegan icing back in my raw food days. It melts well, but maintains shape, which makes it easy to work with. I love hibiscus tea for its color, pleasant, sour flavor, and myriad of health benefits. We used it here to offset the sweetness of the icing with some sour notes, as well as to color it pink. The beet came in because we wanted the icing a bit more electric in color, since hibiscus only colors the icing a dirty pink (which is pretty in its own way). You can completely omit the beet here, or use a fresh beet if you don’t have beet powder. Just grate about a half of a small beet and squeeze it through a cheesecloth to extract some juice. Then add the juice to the icing little by little until you have the color you like.
Hope you’ll give this one a try!
- coconut oil for oiling the loaf pan
- 1½ cups (150 g) sprouted spelt flour or whole spelt flour
- ⅓ cup coconut sugar
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- pinch of sea salt
- 5-7 cardamom pods - green shells removed, ground (optional)
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger (optional)
- 1 cup warm water or strong hibiscus tea
- ⅓ cup olive oil
- ½ tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice or apple cider vinegar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ¼ cup raw coconut butter (not oil)
- ¼ cup strong hibiscus tea
- ½ teaspoon beet powder (for color, optional)
- 2 tablespoons maple syrup
- a splash of vanilla extract
- Preheat oven to 350° F (180° F).
- Thoroughly oil an 8½" loaf pan with coconut oil and line the wide side with parchment paper.
- In a bowl, combine the flour, coconut sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cardamom and ginger, if using. Mix well with a fork. Add the warm water, olive oil, lemon juice/acv, and vanilla extract. Mix to combine and pour the batter into the loaf pan. Carefully lift and drop the pan a couple of times to eliminate air bubbles.
- Bake for 50-55 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Let cool before icing.
- While the the loaf is baking, combine all the glaze ingredients in a small saucepan over low heat. Whisk until the coconut butter is melted, and the icing is smooth and creamy. Remove from heat and allow to cool, until thickened to an icing consistency. You can refrigerate the icing to speed up the thickening process, but be very mindful, as it might turn too thick very quickly when refrigerated.
- Once the icing has cooled to a good consistency, glaze the loaf, allowing some of the icing to drip down the sides. You might have a little bit of left-over icing - spread that on top of your loaf slices and enjoy :)