I’m excited that this season of baking has officially begun. I know the holidays wouldn’t feel the same without our festive treats! When we were kids I looked forward to going to my grandmother’s house for Christmas, partly because that was where all the cakes and cookies and sweets were.
It’s quite possibly the reason Christmas remains my favourite holiday; it’s one of the few times you don’t need an excuse to bake.
We got a start on our holiday baking this past weekend with this olive oil and sea salt brownie mix cake.
Gastropost Vancouver asked me to take part in their Holiday Treats program, and come up with a Christmas inspired treat. I said ok, and received a box of brownie mix and wine gums in the mail a few days later.
I’m not a brownie person; I find them a little intense. I prefer delicate cakes and quick breads, so this inspired me to create a lighter, cake(ier) version. The result was a fluffier brownie with a satisfying chew, not-too-sweet and still chocolatey, it tasted more like a luxurious cake.
The thing I loved most about the brownie mix that was sent to me, was the very few, simple pronounceable ingredients. It served as a good base for this dark tender cake with fruity olive oil and hints of nutmeg. The sprinkles of flaky sea salt added a nice contrast and paired well with the cocoa tones in the cake.
I also loved that this cake, for a few moments, got us away from busy, overwhelming holiday preparations. We slowed down; someone made tea and sliced the cake, and another played a favourite Christmas playlist.
We talked, reminisced about past holidays, nibbled on cake and wine gums and sipped our tea as carols played in the background…
- 1 tablespoon ground flax + 3 tablespoons water
- 3/4 cup almond milk (or some other nut milk)
- 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
- 1 package (18.3 oz) brownie mix (about 4 cups)*
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1/2 teaspoon salt, plus flaky sea salt for topping
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F., lightly oil an 8x8-inch baking pan and line the bottom and sides with parchment paper (or other grease-proof paper)
- Mix ground flax seed and water in a small cup, set aside and let mixture thicken for at least 5 minutes
- Then, combine almond milk with apple cider vinegar and let it also sit for a few minutes to curdle
- Add brownie mix in a large bowl with baking powder, nutmeg and salt
- In a medium bowl, stir flax and almond milk mixture together, add olive oil and mix well to combine
- Pour the wet ingredients into the brownie mix, and mix until evenly combined and batter is smooth
- Scrape batter into the prepared pan and sprinkle a small amount of flaky sea salt over batter
- Bake for about 50 – 60 minutes until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, and the edges of the cake are set
- Remove from oven, and cool completely before cutting and serving.
- *My brownie mix came from Walmart Canada