It goes without saying that I only share recipes here that I love, but this recipe? I love love it. Beyoncé-style crazy in love. I think it is destined to be our forever go-to future-family-heirloom zucchini bread recipe, even. I heart it that much.
Why do I love it so much? It’s pretty different than most zucchini bread recipes out there. Yes, it’s still a zucchini quick bread, to be sure. At first bite, though, you experience the difference. While most zucchini breads slap you in the face with cinnamon, sweetness, and nary a hint of actual zucchini, this recipe takes a more subtle approach.
First, you notice the moist, pleasant crumb. Then, you detect a bit of lemon. Yes, some sweetness – but not overpowering. A warm, pleasant spice – just barely there. Is that cardamom? (Yes, it is!)
Yep, this Olive Oil Zucchini Bread is a subtle experience compared to others, yet it’s one you keep wanting to return to.
It came to be for two reasons:
I always feel the need to create new zucchini bread recipes. I guess that’s one reason why I’m a food blogger (I can’t help myself). Like I said, though, I think I’ll stop now.
The bigger reason, however, is that I’m having a bit of an oil crisis – especially when it comes to baked goods. I no longer eat dairy, so butter is out. I had turned to coconut oil, but my cholesterol has possibly been suffering for it, so I’m taking a hiatus. I don’t like to use vegetable or canola oil these days because of how they’re processed. So what’s a gal – one who loves to bake – to do? Turn to olive oil, that’s what! Just like I did a couple of years ago in these muffins, which I also love (although they have dairy, so a revision is in order there too).
If you try really hard, you might maybe detect olive oil’s trademark fruitiness in this zucchini bread. But mostly, it just lends an incredible moist quality that somehow manages to feel light at the same time. It just all makes so much sense together.
Olive oils can vary in taste, so be sure to pick one that’s on the milder side. I use just plain olive oil – not virgin or extra-virgin – so that the oil’s flavor doesn’t overpower the recipe.
Olive Oil Zucchini Bread with Lemon & Cardamom
- 2 cups white whole wheat flour (can sub all-purpose flour)
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon ground cardamom (can sub 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg)
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 1/2 cup pure maple syrup (I use Grade A for baking)
- 1/3 cup dark brown sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 1 tablespoon freshly grated lemon zest
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 2 cups finely grated zucchini (from about 2 medium zucchini)
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Rub a 8" x 5" loaf pan with olive oil or spray with an oil mister.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cardamom.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the olive oil, maple syrup, and brown sugar until blended. Add the eggs and beat until mixed well. Stir in the lemon zest and vanilla.
- Pour the wet ingredients over the dry ingredients and mix just until incorporated. The batter will be fairly thick. Fold in the zucchini with a spatula.
- Pour the batter into the loaf pan and smooth the top with a spatula.
- Bake until golden brown, springy when you poke the top, and a toothpick or skewer inserted into the center comes out clean, 40-50 minutes.
- This zucchini bread keeps well wrapped up at room temperature for 3-4 days. Make multiple loaves to wrap tightly and freeze for tasty zucchini bread all year long!