Wilder Hungers: Grey Weather and Olive Oil Cakes

Header by Rory Midhani

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This week has been fairly uneventful due to blah weather, but at least the leaves are changing! My friend Tatom and her spastic dog Smokey gave me a tour of their Red Hook neighborhood the other day. We frolicked in the leaves and ate pumpkin pastries. Smokey is the cutest but you can’t tell because he looks like he was dropped through a chimney and blends in with the rocks. Oh, and I also made some spaghetti squash with pumpkin seed and sage pesto that was pretty delicious! Other than that, there has been a lot of rain, a lot of me and my girlfriend watching The Voice, and a lot of me falling asleep before 10:30 pm. Carpe diem.

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Anyway, the weather needs to get better because I have made a fall to do list that must be accomplished.

Fall To Do List:

  • Throw a pumpkin carving party (BYOP)
  • Go apple picking and then make an apple tart for Wilder Hungers!
  • Make some kind of cliche fall butternut squash pasta concoction. With sage, obviously.
  • Go to a corny haunted house thing and also Rocky Horror
  • Revamp my apartment decor so it’s fall appropriate
  • Apple. Cider. Doughnuts.
  • Buy a bad ass thermos (L.L. Bean probs) to keep my apple cider warm for fall picnics.
  • Oh yeah, have fall picnics
  • Buy a waffle iron to make pumpkin waffles.
  • Definitely NOT watching football games
  • Try to learn how to knit (again)
  • Add at least 5 more hats to my wardrobe
  • Try to find somewhere in NYC that sells those Pillsbury sugar cookies with the pumpkins in the middle
  • Bake a cake and eat it for breakfast.

I’ve made no headway on any of these things, except for the last one. I did indeed bake a cake and eat it for breakfast. It was an olive oil cake with rosemary and dark chocolate chunks and I shall share the recipe with you!

Olive Oil Cake (With Rosemary and Chocolate Chunks)


I got this recipe from one of my favorite cookbooks, Good to the Grain by Kim Boyce. The book introduces a variety of whole grain flours, dedicating each chapter to a different type. Whole wheat scones, barley crepes, kamut cookies, spelt cakes, oh my! I’m always down for a good alternative to all-purpose flour. Okay, plug over. Here’s the recipe!

Whatcha need:

Dry Stuff
3/4 cup spelt flour
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 teaspoond baking powder
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt

Wet Stuff
3 eggs
1 cup olive oil
3/4 cup whole milk
1 1/2 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary

Other Stuff
5 ounces bitterweet chocolate (70% cacao) chopped roughly into 1/2 – inch pieces


FIRST: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and put a rack in the middle. Grease an 8″ tart pan or springform pan with olive oil.
IN ONE BOWL: Sift together the dry ingredients.
IN ANOTHER BOWL: Whisk the eggs then add the rest of the wet ingredients + rosemary and whisk again.
NOW: Fold the wet into the dry with a spatula and mix until just combined. Stir in the chocolate!
FINISH: Pour the batter into your pan and smooth the top. Bake for 40-45 minutes or until brown around the edges and a cake tester inserted in the middle comes out clean! (It’s okay if your cake tester is actually a knife like mine is.)

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Gabriella has written 26 articles for us.


  1. This cake looks amazing. Hopefully it will still be amazing if I make it with almond milk because “bake a cake and eat it for breakfast” is probably one of the best to-do list items of all time.

  2. I read “plastic” dog and was really confused by the fact that the dog looked real in the pictures….

    Excellent execution of the list making from the queer your diary article!

    And also this cake looks delicious!

  3. My girlfriend lives in NYC and recently consumed an entire package of those Pillsbury sugar cookies with the pumpkins in the middle while they were still in raw dough form (I know; I’m proud), so I know they can be found.

    Also, olive oil cake is a recent introduction into my life, but I’m a little obsessed with it. I may have to bake this one this weekend.

  4. I LOVE the photos, and the to-do list. I’m really excited for your apple picking adventure!

    Olive oil cake sounds really strange, but looks so delicious, I must make this.

  5. I clicked on this because I am excited by cake recipes and autumn.

    But pleaaaase stop using ‘spastic’ as part of your vocab, maybe in America it’s not considered that offensive but in the UK (and as someone who is close to people with Cerebral palsy) I find it hard to be okay with it’s usage.

    • Hi Hattie,

      Soooo so sorry if I offended you. I didn’t even know about that usage of word. I should have said hyperactive of something of the sort. I feel terribly!

      • Thanks so much for responding, and please don’t feel terribly! We all say things without awareness of the connotations sometimes. I was one of those teenagers that used ‘gay’ as a pejorative (oh the irony!)

  6. Today I woke up to a text from my girlfriend, Abby. It said the following:

    “Good morning. I would like you to make me this cake on autostraddle please.”

    Just figured I’d share.

  7. That cake sounds so yummy. Also, *dances around*, I just learned to knit last week and I’m so glad I finally did and you should definitely give it another go.

    • Smokey is a regular part of my life even though I’m highly allergic to him so that can be arranged.

  8. Your fall list sounds so magical, I want to do it too! Except I love football so I won’t do that one.

    A couple of weeks ago I made a butternut squash pasta concoction and it was GLORIOUS, here’s the recipe (but it doesn’t have sage): http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/giada-de-laurentiis/penne-with-butternut-squash-and-goat-cheese-recipe/index.html

    And before I made that recipe I had made this butternut squash pasta recipe: http://www.marthastewart.com/332906/penne-with-roasted-butternut-squash-panc
    It was good but I didn’t like it as much as the one with goat cheese but I thought I’d share since you specifically said you wanted to make one with sage!

    Happy Autumn Days! :D

    • I’VE MADE THAT BEFORE! (The Giada one. Obsessed with her) It WAS really good. I’m going to make it again.

  9. Pumpkin pastries could not be read in any other context for me than Harry Potter. But I think they say “pasties” or something. Sigh. I owe it to the fact that my partner and I have been reading the series out loud together.

    But! I am about to go through all the other posts you’ve made because I like this one so much. The olive oil cake is definitely on my to-cook list, right under focaccia. :)

  10. I am able to experience fall all the way from Texas through these articles and it is a beautiful thing.

    Also, now I know what I’m having fro breakfast (and probably lunch) tomorrow.

  11. this list has inspired me to make my own fall to-do list. actually, this column, along with Dear Queer Diary, inspires me to write more in my journal and take more pictures, which are two things i love but always feel that i don’t have time for. SO thank you for that!

    i’ve tried spaghetti squash so many times and i can never ever get it right.

    i’m showing this cake to megan and then i will gauge her reaction.

  12. delish! 100% making this cake, but with a few adaptations! all spelt flour, and replacing the sugar with… some honey.
    And to add to it’s goodness, rosemary has some wonderful medicinal health benefits, so you can treat yo’ self and be totally chuffed about it! yay for breakfast cake!

  13. I am definitely in love with this column. Even though I actually kind of don’t like autumn foods (I’m sorry, I know, I just can’t with gourds for some reason), I love autumn, and seeing anyone getting psyched about it gets me that much more psyched.

    Two points:
    1. Those shoes in the top left photo. I want so bad. Gosh.
    2. Get a waffle iron and then read waffleizer.com – there are so many amazing things you can do with it!

    • It’s okay, I used to hate spring foods and everyone thought I was weird. Now I love them because now I love all food.
      1. My shoes are some brand called Ash? They are a little old but I just googled and apparently still for sale!
      2. OH. MY. STARS.

  14. So how does the cake taste? Is there much difference in texture because of the spelt flour? And how is it with the olive oil rather than the usual butter?

  15. So I made this cake today – I replaced cow milk by oat milk and sugar by honey. It tastes delicious! Thank you for this recipe.

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