Not long ago, as things with the Emeril promotion were winding down but before Virtual Potluck really solidified into the amazing network of food bloggers it is today, I approached Bob’s Red Mill (BRM) asking them to partner with my blog and to let me explore their many flours, grains and legumes. Being the “real people,” kind of company that they are, they got right back to me (the SAME day!) and agreed to let me sample their wares.
(Look for a post on this later in the week AND a brilliant Giveaway, courtesy of Bob’s Red Mill!)
Cooking up a plan
As I chatted back and forth via email with Cassidy from BRM, she mentioned that my blog might be perfect for a holiday baking promotion they were running with California Olive Ranch Olive Oil (COR) — since I LOVE olive oil, for everything from sauteing to baking to conditioning my hair — I said an immediate, YES!
NOTE: After pitching my Virtual Potluck brethren to both Cassidy at BRM and Kirsten at COR they decided to tailor a little cross promotional fun for our group in January (Look for VP’s Healthy New Year in January — there will be freebies!)
Bake a Better Holiday
Needless to say I was pretty stoked about the partnership and looking forward to exploring the food items. Then I received the first batch of Bob’s Red Mill ingredients (full disclosure I already LOVE this company, anyway!) and my first bottle of California Olive Ranch’s oil (I’d never tried it before) and Wowy-Zowy! I was over the moon.
- I love to feed my family whole, unfettered foods (no added crap!) and BRM and COR are just that!
- The quality is amazing in both companies lines.
- The flavors found in just that one bottle of olive oil were enough to make me a believer — NOT all olive oils are alike!
The capper on this “Bake a Better Holiday” promo — I got to create my OWN unique recipe using one grain of my choice from BRM and one olive oil of my choice from COR. I was SO in!
Though there are many amazing ways to use olive oil in baking, both savory and sweet, I decided pretty quickly that I wanted to use California Olive Ranch’s Arbosana Extra Virgin Olive Oil in my recipe this holiday season.
Since Arbosana is a Spanish variety, what better match than chocolate (no surprise to my readers!), whose history runs deep with the Spaniards and cayenne, which seems to provide just the right amount of subtle, flavorful heat to many latin (as well as French and Creole) based dishes and always pairs well with the dark mistress.
While you might be thinking, “Olive oil in sweets?!” I would like to quickly point out that the Italians use olive oil in everything — including sweets. Besides the extra added health benefits of using olive oil, it lends itself quite nicely to both savory and sweet cooking and baking.
In fact, if you look at a line like COR’s, which cultivates and bottles different varietals, that in turn, produce different flavor profiles (like wine) and when paired correctly, can help take your dish to that next level, you’ll see exactly why olive oil like this is made for baking sweets. Through my travels in Italy, I came across the beautifully dense Italian olive oil cakes, made with almond meal, because of this, I chose Bob’s Red Mill’s Almond Flour Meal for its added moistness and complimentary flavor pairing.
This cake came out amazing!
The Arbosana really is a lovely, complex oil that I enjoyed working with it on this and in many other dishes.The cayenne in the recipe gives this cake a little kick, while the combination of whipped egg whites, olive oil and almond meal flour give this dense, flourless cake an unparallelled moistness and delicate crumb. Though many like to glaze or frost cakes like these and it would be undoubtedly delicious with a scoop of homemade vanilla bean ice cream and a trickle of dessert wine, I urge you to use premium chocolate and eat it naked (the cake, not you — or both, if you like!) If you need something more, just lightly dust it with powdered sugar and a sprinkling of cayenne powder!
Now, they’re passing on the fun to YOU
Visit California Olive Ranch or Bob’s Red Mills’ Facebook Pages to enter their Contest for a chance to win a $50 BRM gift card and some COR olive oil. From COR’s Facebook page:
“We’ve teamed with our friends at Bob’s Red Mill to launch a Facebook Contest here starting this Thursday, Dec 1. It runs thru Dec 8. Share a favorite pairing of our olive oil with a BRM product – 3 winners with the most ‘likes’ will win fabulous prizes.
You can win a $50 BRM gift card and olive oil to boot! Winners will be announced Friday, Dec 9.
We’re looking for pairings that showcase our two products – perhaps muffins using our oil and one of Bob’s flours. We don’t need a detailed recipe – just an idea and two ingredients, like Gingerbread using California Olive Ranch’s Arbequina and Bob’s Red Mill whole wheat flour.
Wanna stay in the loop on all the baking and cooking fun?!
- Like California Olive Ranch on Facebook
- Like Bob’s Red Mill on Facebook
- Like The GroovyFoody on Facebook
Xocolātl (Chocolate) Almond Olive Oil Cake
- 6 ounces premium bittersweet (72% or higher) dark chocolate, broken into pieces
- 1/2 tsp cayenne powder
- 1 vanilla bean pod, scraped (or 1tsp pure vanilla extract)
- ¼ tsp cream of tartar
- ¼ cup California Olive Ranch Extra Virgin Arbosana Olive Oil
- ¾ cup sugar (divided into ½ and ¼ cup measurements)
- 4 eggs, separated
- ¾ cup Bob’s Red Mill almond flour
Preheat oven to 350ºF.
In a double boiler (or a bowl within a pan set-up) melt chocolate over simmering water, stirring smooth. Once melted, stir in the olive oil and cayenne. In your mixer or a mixing bowl by hand, beat egg yolks with ½ cup sugar and vanilla pod seeds or extract until combined and pale in color. Stir melted chocolate mixture into eggs, a bit at a time, incorporating it swiftly to keep the eggs from cooking too quickly. Then add the almond meal flour.
Set this mixture aside and beat the egg whites with your mixer until foamy and white. Slowly beat in the ¼ cup of remaining sugar and the cream of tartar. Continue beating until the egg whites are stiff but not quite meringue. Fold ¼ of your egg white mixture into the chocolate batter, then the rest, a ¼ at a time until completely mixed. The batter will be sort of firm like a loose cookie dough consistency and may be a bit tough to work with, take extra care when folding in the portion of egg whites. As you add more, the batter will become looser and smoother, making it easier to handle. Pour the batter into an 8-inch or 9-inch cake pan (I think a springform pan works best!) that has been lined with foil or baking parchment paper.
Bake for 30 to 35 minutes or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean. Let the cake cool completely and then pop open the spring and slide onto your serving dish, carefully removing any baking paper or foil. Serve as is or garnish with raspberries, chocolate shavings, almonds, glaze or dust with powdered sugar and cayenne.
Happy Cooking — And Eating!
Oh yummy! Will look great on a holiday dessert table, and taste delish with a little café con leche, and cinnamon!!!
Oh yeah — great idea! Mmmmm. . .Cafe con leche with cinnamon ~ sounds divine. Now, I need to go make more and find some strong Spanish coffee and cinnamon sticks. Dreaming of it.
BTW– Has anyone tried Yogi Tea’s new Vanilla Hazelnut tea (WOW!) it’s like Christmas in a cup, cinnamon, cloves, vanilla and hazelnut but all really great quality herbs in this blend — it’s my new holiday favorite!
Looks amazing! I can hear it saying “…raspberries, serve me with raspberries…” I have not tried the Vanilla Hazelnut tea, but I will now. I love tea!
This was an amazing post! Just loved it and wish I was there to share a bite! Can’t wait till our BRM and COR in January!
Awesome, Vanessa! Your culinary skills continue to impress! Looking forward to January, too.
This cakes sounds wonderful and yet like something I could handle. Thanks for the recipe! I wonder if the EVOO I usually use would do the job. It’s an organic Italian one, the name of which I can’t remember, and I think it might have the necessary sweetness (or rather, lack of astringent quality).
I’d be inclined to keep it simple with just a little icing sugar as you suggest, but some kind of coffee beverage sounds like a great accompaniment. But really, there can’t be anything wrong with plopping some really good vanilla bean ice cream on or next to this. 🙂
All of that sounds great, Veronique — your instincts are excellent when it comes to food. I love Lily’s idea for cafe con leche it’s in keeping with the Spanish roots of the ingredients.
Looks amazing Ness!! I’m bookmarking this for future use.