When Jeremie and I are lucky to have a day off together, we like to walk around Circular Quay, a big tourist area. I've been there many times and whether it was a weekend or not, there's always lots of people walking around. There are so many restaurants, bars, and coffee shops to choose from it can make your head spin. The world renowned restaurant Quay, Rockpool, and Aria are all in the neighborhood. Our usual spot is this place called Opera Bar. Named so because it's so close to the Sydney Opera House. The Opera Bar is busy all the time, and there's always live music. Once the sun goes down, the view is spectacular. Being right on the edge of the water, the view of the Harbour Bridge on one side and the infamous silhouette of the Opera House on the other, it's a hard view to beat.
|Right ahead is the Opera Bar. It's right across the water from Quay Restaurant.|
After a big day of walking around, we usually stop by a cafe to unwind. One afternoon, I ordered a banana muffin thinking I haven't had one in a long time. Bad choice. It was dry and had no traces of mashed bananas in it. To top it off, it had a strong banana extract flavour and a few banana chips. My hopes of eating a banana muffin were crushed... or mashed.
I haven't bought a muffin since then. It seems really hard for me to find one I like. Most muffins I've tried are on the crumbly side and seem more cake like. And since then, I've been making this olive oil cake. (Four times and counting...) It's so moist and keeps for days. I've found the magic fruit combo. Blueberry and rhubarb. Not only does the fruit cook into beautiful stained pockets of pink and violet, it also seems to create its own jam within the cake.
I have a weakness for knobbly, crispy crumble toppings and this cake has it all. I don't have a muffin tin, so I've been baking the olive oil cake in a ceramic dish. Until I move back to Canada and bananas are more affordable, this blueberry and rhubarb olive oil cake hits the spot just fine.
Note: Bananas are ridiculously expensive at the moment due to the cyclone in Queensland back in Febuary. The trees are yielding smaller and fewer bananas. Supermarkets are charging up to $15/ kg AUD, that's almost $8/ lb CAD! Luckily, prices have dropped dramatically since. Last time I was at the store, it was at just under $2/ kg. I think that's the norm.
Blueberry Rhubarb Olive Oil Cake With Oat Crumble
(Adapted from Delicious Magazine)
I've only ever baked the olive oil cake as a whole cake. I'm sure it could easily fit into a standard 12 cup muffin tin. I'm guessing it would take roughly 25 minutes. If you've never used olive oil in your baked goods, I highly recommend giving it a try. The olive oil adds a nice fruity depth of flavor that goes really well with the fruit.
Olive Oil Cake
3/4 cup all purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup sugar
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt
1/3 cup olive oil
3/4 cup soy milk
1 large egg
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup blueberries
1 cup rhubarb, sliced 1/2" thick
Oat Crumble Topping
1/4 cup all purpose flour
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup rolled oats
pinch of salt
3 tbsp cold, unsalted butter, diced
Preheat oven to 350'F. Line a 23cm x 13cm pan with parchment paper.
Start with the crumble topping. Combine the flour, brown sugar, half of the rolled oats, salt, and butter in a bowl. Using your fingertips, pinch and work the mixture until it starts to form clumps and there are no big pieces of butter left. Toss in the remaining oats. Set aside.
In a large bowl, mix the flour, whole wheat flour, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt. In another bowl, whisk the olive oil, soy milk, egg, and vanilla extract. Pour all of this into the dry ingredients and gently fold. When there are still streaks of flour, add the blueberries and rhubarb, reserving a handful of each.
Pour the cake batter into the pan and sprinkle over the reserved fruit. Sprinkle over the crumble topping. For maximum knobbly crunch, be sure to squeeze it in your hand to make nice big clumps.
Bake for about 50 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.