Chocolate walnut cakes with passionfruit-star anise syrup

I find myself intrigued by cakes made with olive oil. I tried a few recipes, and the Walnut Orange Cake from Epicurious really opened me up to the possibilities. Sure, the rest were healthy but nothing to write home about.

Cakes using oil usually eliminate the need for butter. So some change in texture is to be expected. The orignal walnut orange cake turned out very well, perfectly flavored, subtle and sophisticated. Perfect to gift heart-health-conscious friends or folks who eschew butter for whatever reason.

(confession) I couldn't wait to try a version with chocolate in it! So I substituted a quarter cup unsweetened cocoa for flour in the original recipe. Also, I halved the recipe and made my version with whole wheat pastry flour. I was afraid that the changes I made would result in a dry cake and so I served cakes warm, with a passionfruit-star anise syrup.

Heres what I did:
1. Made the cakes in a silicone mini-muffin pan using this recipe.
2. Made the syrup by simmering passionfruit pulp and sugar to taste and star anise for 5 minutes.

The verdict
The cakes turned out light, fluffy and chocolatey. Not too sweet. The syrup was tart and sweet, quite delicious! The star anise lent an interesting spiciness - nice change from my usual suspects, cinnamon, cardamom and all.

The cakes are a lovely afternoon snack and would also work as a light dessert. They don't age well - I tried stashing them in the freezer and they did alright but they were best fresh.

Where to find passionfruit:
1. Wegmans carries fresh passionfruit but they are terribly expensive and looks like they may have flown a long way. I know what I look like after travelling for a few hours so I can't bring myself to buy (ahem) well-travelled, "fresh" passion fruit.
2. I've often found pulp in Asian stores in the frozen section

These will go to Abby at Eat the Right Stuff, who us hosting "Monthly Mingle - Spring Fruit Sensations". Hopefully Spring has arrived in your neck of the woods! Michelle at Greedy Gourmet is hosting Snackshots 3 with a Muffin theme . Don't miss the round-up!


Abby said...

this looks and sounds delicious smita - i think i might be trying them out as i'm also interested in dairy-free baking. thanks for contributing them to the monthly mingle.

sandhya said...

lovely the syrup too....

Lore said...

Chocolate is so great with passionfruit! It's like each brings the best of the other. The cakes look gorgeous!
Since you are interested in spring fruit sensations you might be interested in the springtime salads roundup that I just entered.

Meera said...

That looks delicious. I am coming over!!:-)

BC said...

I've made olive oil orange and lemon cakes and you have to choose your olive oil carefully. But they've been light and gorgeous to eat.

Meeta K said...

simply lovely. the combination of chocolate and passionfruit is a winner in itself but your star anise addition is fantastic!

ServesYouRight said...

Thanks Abby!

Sandhya - Thanks! The other choice was a lemon-ginger-star anise syrup on Epicurious. Also quite delish!

Thanks Lore - will do!

Meera - you're on! Come on over!

Beans and Caviar - you're so right!

Meeta - Thanks so much! Love the Monthly Mingle and the themes you pick!


Stef said...

Neat! I've never baked with olive oil. I'm going to have to try it!

Celine said...

that's it: I'm in love with your pictures and recipes.

ServesYouRight said...

Stef - OMG, I LOVE your blog!!

Celine - you are the best :-) I'm completely devoted to 'Have Cake Will Travel'


Michelle said...

These little cakes look delish. Thanks for participating in SnackShots Smita!

ServesYouRight said...

Absolutely Michelle! Many thanks for hosting!