Olive Oil Cupcakes with Lemon, Thyme, and a Balsamic Vinegar Whipped Cream: Weird Thyming | Cupcake Project

Olive Oil Cupcakes with Lemon, Thyme, and a Balsamic Vinegar Whipped Cream: Weird Thyming

Olive oil cupcakes with balsamic vinegar whipped cream don’t taste like salad dressing. If you love olive oil and balsamic vinegar, don’t be afraid to try them in something sweet. You won’t regret it!

My olive oil cupcakes were made with lemon and thyme. They were dense and crumbly, yet plenty moist and tasted like a lemon pound cake without the pound of butter. The fresh thyme gave them an even more Springy feel and the balsamic whipped cream blew me away! I could eat that stuff on anything!

How Did I End Up Making the Olive Oil Cupcakes with Lemon and Thyme?

Rachel of Coconut and Lime and I have again and again blogged about things at the same “thyme”:

I am very lucky that Rachel didn’t brand me a copycat. I wasn’t copying – really, honestly, truly I wasn’t. I hadn’t even read her posts yet when I made any of my cupcakes. The thyming was just eerie.

Rachel and I talked about it and decided that since we clearly like the same kinds of things and it was bound to happen anyway, we should plan to post something at the same thyme. Since the whole thing was about thyming, we decided to both make cupcakes with thyme! (Fine, we didn’t know what to bake and Rachel suggested an herb and we ended up with thyme. I like my made- up version better though.)

Shopping for Ingredients

I knew I wanted to use fresh thyme. I opted to buy a thyme plant so that I could use what I needed and plant the rest. Jonathan and I also bought some tomato plants. Not surprisingly, I got a twitter from Rachel saying that she had bought some tomatoes to plant the same day. That one wasn’t so weird, but still, I’m going to have to meet her some day. We are living parallel lives.
The most fun part of my ingredient shopping, however, was for olive oil. A new olive oil store, Extra Virgin, opened near us in Clayton, Missouri. At Extra Virgin, you can do olive oil tastings just like you would do wine tastings. The variety in olive oils is astounding. The owner was incredibly helpful and recommended an olive oil that is perfect for baking – Jovia Groves’ 2007 Arbequina. Apparently she isn’t the only fan of this olive oil. Read the review of it from the blog “I Love Olive Oil”.
You can bake with any olive oil, however the oils vary greatly in the pungency and strength of the olive flavor. The Jovia tasted really buttery and had only a mild olive flavor. When the cupcakes were baked, you would never know that I had made them with olive oil. The owner told me that she uses olive oil as her vegetable oil in any recipe that calls for vegetable oil. I never would have thought to do that.

The Olive Oil Cupcake Recipe

I got the recipe for the olive oil cupcakes by slightly modifying an olive oil cake recipe from Cafe Fernando. The recipe with my modifications is listed below, but be sure to check out the original recipe on Cafe Fernando as well. He’s got a great pic of a slice of the cake that will give you a good idea of what the texture is like.

Olive Oil Cupcakes with Lemon, Thyme, and a Balsamic Vinegar Whipped Cream: Weird Thyming

Yield: 12 cupcakes

Olive Oil Cupcakes with Lemon, Thyme, and a Balsamic Vinegar Whipped Cream: Weird Thyming

Ingredients

  • 2 C all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 t baking powder
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 C granulated sugar
  • 2/3 C extra virgin olive oil (I recommend Jovia Groves' 2007 Arbequina, but any olive oil will do. You can order Jovia from Extra Virgin.)
  • 1 T lemon zest
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1/2 C lemon juice
  • 2 T finely chopped fresh thyme

Instructions

  1. Sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt into a large bowl.
  2. In a mixing bowl, combine sugar and lemon zest and rub together to extract the fragrant oil from the zest.
  3. Add olive oil and mix on high speed until completely combined (preferably with the whisk attachment).
  4. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
  5. Add 1/3 of the flour mixture and mix on slow speed.
  6. Add half of the lemon juice and continue mixing.
  7. Add another 1/3 of the flour mixture, followed by the rest of the lemon juice and the remaining flour mixture and beat until combined between each addition.
  8. Stir in the thyme.
  9. Fill cupcake liners 3/4 full.
  10. Bake at 375 for 20 minutes or until they bounce back when touched.
http://www.cupcakeproject.com/2008/05/olive-oil-cupcakes-with-lemon-thyme-and-a-balsamic-vinegar-whipped-cream-weird-thyming.html

 


The Balsamic Vinegar Whipped Cream Recipe

 
I’ve always said that I don’t like whipped cream. What I meant was that I don’t like Ready Whip. I love spraying the whipped cream from that pressurized container as much as the next gal, but the taste just isn’t there. Fresh whipped cream is so easy to make and is in such a different league that I have no idea why everyone doesn’t make it.
I was going to make a lemon whipped cream for this recipe. When I tasted the cupcake and realized just how lemony it was, I knew that more lemon would be too much. I found a recipe for balsamic whipped cream on Sugarlaws and thought it would be a perfect complement to the cupcakes.
At first, I was a balsamic doubter. I actually poured some balsamic vinegar onto some extra cupcake batter to see how the flavors went together. It was perfect! I’ve reprinted Sugarlaws’ recipe below. She served her balsamic whipped cream with strawberries, which is exactly what I plan to do with all the whipped cream I have left over.

Balsamic Vinegar Whipped Cream

 Balsamic Vinegar Whipped Cream

Ingredients

  • 2 C heavy cream
  • 1/2 C sugar (or more, your preference)
  • 3 T balsamic vinegar

Instructions

  1. Combine cream, sugar and vinegar in a large bowl or stand mixer.
  2. Beat on medium speed for about five minutes, until soft peaks form.
http://www.cupcakeproject.com/2008/05/olive-oil-cupcakes-with-lemon-thyme-and-a-balsamic-vinegar-whipped-cream-weird-thyming.html

A Present for Making it to the End

I leave you with this photo from J. Pollack Photography. I have to link to him in almost every post. He’s my husband and he makes my cupcakes look so good! 


Don’t forget to go check out Rachel’s thyme cupcakes at Coconut and Lime!

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38 Responses to Olive Oil Cupcakes with Lemon, Thyme, and a Balsamic Vinegar Whipped Cream: Weird Thyming

  1. Rachel May 12, 2008 at 2:12 am #

    Well, yum!

    And until I found strawberries I was totally going to make lemon-thyme cupcakes. Then I was going to make strawberry balsamic frosting to go with the strawberry thyme cupcakes but then went with the lemon-thyme frosting instead.

    Also: did you notice that both of our cupcake posts were at 12:01 AM?

  2. Nancy May 12, 2008 at 5:03 am #

    I got to sample this gem for Mother’s Day. It looked like a present and tasted even better. Comes close to displacing my favorite, the Shirley Temple.

    Interesting vibes between you and Rachel; hers sound delicious as well.

  3. Alanna May 12, 2008 at 6:16 am #

    Very fun, Stef. Were you happy with the icing color? I wonder if white balsamic might not create fluffy white whipped cream frosting.

  4. Katy May 12, 2008 at 6:34 am #

    Excellent! I just made that balsamic whipped cream again this weekend for strawberry shortcake! People were hesitant at first, but I totally converted them!

  5. Stef May 12, 2008 at 7:03 am #

    Rachel – Weird, weird, weird!

    Nancy – I’m so glad you enjoyed them so much!

    Alanna – The icing color didn’t bother me. Since balsamic is typically brownish, I like the muddy color. However, I do agree that it would look really nice with white balsamic as well. I like that idea!

    Kathy – How could you not? It’s so good!!

  6. By Costas the Greek May 12, 2008 at 8:57 am #

    Stef!

    Thanks for referencing my review of Jovia here! It truly is one of the best California olive oils that I’ve reviewed thus far for my blog. My wife and I now regularly use olive oil in our baking of sweets. We’ll substitute it for butter in brownies and cakes constantly. sometimes, we’ll go half olive oil/half butter.

    One of our favorite things to do is use an orange-infused olive oil (bet u could find one at the Extra Virgin store in Clayton) to make pumpkin bread/cupcakes. they really turn out amazingly fluffy, slightly tangy-citrusy, and crazy delicious.

    anyway, if you can come up with a unique pumpkin cupcake/orange olive oil recipe, i’d love to feature it. i’m not a recipe guy — i just write about good (and sometimes bad) olive oil. cheers!

  7. Cenk May 12, 2008 at 10:18 am #

    These look amazing! Great to hear you liked the texture!

  8. LittleIvyCakes May 12, 2008 at 12:51 pm #

    Totally amazing! Balsamic whipped cream? How risky is that. Wow!

  9. edamame May 13, 2008 at 8:04 am #

    Your site gave the devil in my heart big power. The devil said to me. “Eat this thing which I was sweet, and seemed to be delicious” As a result, I lost a fight with the devil. I was dieting so… (T_T)
    From Japan
    http://food-soybean.blogspot.com/

  10. Sophie May 13, 2008 at 4:30 pm #

    What a creative recipe! Wow, I’m so interested in finding out what they taste like. I bet one bit packs a punch of flavor :) .

  11. Gigi May 13, 2008 at 8:27 pm #

    I am never disappointed with your cupcake creations! I’ve tried each component separately in a dessert but never together in a single dessert. I am definitely intrigued! Great pics!

  12. Lisa May 14, 2008 at 4:36 pm #

    Yes, that is definitely a good looking cupcake. I love your flavor combination. The addition of the balsamic vinegar sounds really interesting. I hope you don’t mind if I borrow it for my blog. It is just too perfect!

  13. Stef May 14, 2008 at 6:13 pm #

    Costas – Orange olive oil with pumpkin sounds amazingly good. I’ll be sure to let you know if I try it!

    Cenk – Thanks again for the recipe!

    Little Ivy – Thanks so much! I just had some more of the whipped cream with some strawberries. This is one frosting that I am really glad to have extra of.

    Edamame – I know this is a spam comment, but at least it’s amusing.

    Gigi – Thanks so much! The flavors go perfectly together and it always makes Jonathan’s day when anyone compliments the photos!

    Sophie – They are really light and lemony. Hope you give them a try.

    Lisa – Feel free to write about it on your blog. I’d be honored.

  14. Kimberly May 16, 2008 at 9:03 am #

    I recently sampled this cupcake at Stef and Jonathan’s … it was fantastic!

    Definitely in the running for my top 3 faves (okay … it is one of my top 3 faves!) … very lemony, with a tasty, creamy frosting … which also went well on strawberries!

    Thanks, Stef!

  15. Aran May 19, 2008 at 12:08 am #

    I’m intrigued by these…

  16. summer May 23, 2008 at 5:13 pm #

    I think I’m going to make these for my son’s first birthday celebration tomorrow. He doesn’t eat food yet, but I think the adults will love them.

  17. Stef May 23, 2008 at 8:04 pm #

    Kimberly – I was so glad you liked them so much!

    Aran – Give em a try!

    Summer – Good luck with them! I really loved them. They were one of my favorites. Let me know how it goes!

  18. Stef May 23, 2008 at 8:11 pm #

    Aran – Oh, as a side note. I’m intrigued by almost everything you make. I’m in awe of your creations.

  19. Summer May 24, 2008 at 3:44 pm #

    Update: I made them! I should tell you I’ve never made cupcakes from scratch before except the “easy” recipe in the betty crocker cookbook, which I attempted last night and which ended up stuck to the liners and pan.

    Today I set out to make this, using thyme from my garden (I am both a novice gardener and a novice cook) and organic lemons left over from a fast I did last week.

    The only problem with the recipe was that there were not enough cupcakes to go around! People were skeptical when I said the name out loud but they went over really well. If I had more lemons right now, I’d be in the kitchen making more.

    I am embarrassed to admit that I had no concept of how GOOD cupcakes could be.

  20. Stef May 24, 2008 at 7:50 pm #

    Summer – I’m so glad you liked these so much! It makes me so happy when people share stories like that! Here’s to many more amazing cupcakes baked by you!

  21. Laura May 31, 2008 at 2:19 pm #

    Can’t wait to try these. I’ve been using olive oil as a substitute for other oils for quite some time now. I very rarely use other oils, so it’s typically what I have on hand – it works really, really well.

  22. Hana September 26, 2008 at 7:30 pm #

    These look good–an olive oil CAKE recipe is rare, but I was wondering: can I exclude the lemon juice and keep the moistness? I’m really looking for a moist cake, but I’m not wanting a lemon flavor right now…

  23. Stef September 26, 2008 at 9:14 pm #

    Hana – Perhaps you could use a different juice? The flavor might not be as strong, but I’m sure it would work just as well. I don’t think you could leave out the juice entirely, but I’m not certain.

  24. Mommy's Madness January 8, 2009 at 4:06 pm #

    Hi Stef,
    Love to see ur posting after browsing for oil cupcake. Can I ask u something? Would it be different if I whisk the eggs and sugar, then add in the oil instead whisk oil and sugar, then add in the eggs as u did? Because some says that if whisk eggs first then the oil makes the cake less greasy. Please help. Thanks a lot!

  25. Stef January 9, 2009 at 9:10 am #

    Mommy’s – I’m really not sure. The cupcakes were not very greasy. I don’t think it would hurt to try it the other way though. Good luck! Sorry I couldn’t help more.

  26. peter June 8, 2009 at 4:39 pm #

    Thanks so much for sharing your recipe! I love the flavor of the lemon and the thyme in these. So good! I didn’t love the texture the olive oil gave the cupcake and gotta say I made the the balsamic whipped cream twice — first time with 3 tbsp of the vinegar and 2nd time with just 1 tbsp. The flavors of the lemon and the balsamic vinegar just didn’t work for me — I think it was just way too much acidity between the two. I am going to try remaking this recipe using butter instead of olive oil and topped with plain whipped creme. I will definitely report back! Thanks again for sharing your recipes, I love your blog!

  27. Nicolette May 17, 2010 at 12:55 pm #

    I was looking for a basil chocolate recipe… but this sounds intriguing! Do you think basil could be substituted for thyme and it’d still be yummy? Or should I just use thyme? (If I end up using basil, I’ll let you know how it turns out.)

  28. Stef May 17, 2010 at 1:34 pm #

    Nicolette – I bet it would be ymmy w/basil! Give it a try!

  29. Amine January 20, 2011 at 10:41 am #

    Thank you great article : Extra Virgin Olive Oil
    olive-oil-extra-virgin.blogspot.com

  30. Jennifer May 23, 2011 at 4:40 pm #

    I just made these for my uncle, who is a gourmet chef, and he loved them! (and so did everyone else) He was blown away by the flavor combos and loved the balsamic whipped cream. I will definatley make these again, however, due to the dense and dry nature of the finished cake, i’m going to try making them as mini cupcakes I think, to equalize out the cake to cream ratio a bit (make sense?) I’ll let you know how that works. He took your website down as well. He does a lot of high end banquets and dinners for the hospital he works at, and really wants to give some of your recipes a try. Thanks again!!

  31. kitwings August 12, 2011 at 5:21 am #

    I made these a few months ago for someone’s birthday and fell in love. This week I decided to tamper with it and made a strawberry basil version which was also fantastic. THANK YOU for introducing me to balsamic whipped cream.

  32. Anonymous January 13, 2012 at 6:54 pm #

    This has been one of my favorite cupcake recipes of all time since I found it a couple years ago. And yes, I always make sure to have stawberries on hand for the leftover whipped cream.

  33. Stef January 13, 2012 at 6:59 pm #

    Jennifer – Thanks for sharing! Glad the recipe was a hit!

    kitwings – Strawberry basil sounds fantastic! Great idea!

    Anon – That’s so nice to hear! Thanks for letting me know!

  34. calicarolina April 7, 2012 at 6:23 am #

    These sound amazing… and I’m going to try them as a cake-pop! Since finding how much fun I have with my babycakes pop maker, I’m always looking for good savory cupcake recipes to adapt for cakepops. They’re just such fun to serve as appetizers at happy hour. This sounds like a perfect fit. Will let you know..

  35. Aimee Shute June 4, 2012 at 11:12 pm #

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  36. Tim Brown March 21, 2013 at 4:42 pm #

    I was thinking of making a vegan version of these, but I don’t know the first thing about vegan baking. So far, all I’ve come up with is a vegan icing made from coconut milk fat…but I have a feeling it wouldn’t hold up as long as whipped cream might.

    Any suggestions? (:

  37. Alyssa C. July 18, 2013 at 6:12 pm #

    These are delightful! I had to make a couple of tweaks (2 tsp dried thyme and only 1.5 tsp zest) As far as the cake goes, personally, I would reduce the EVOO to maybe a 1/2 C? Or perhaps since I didn’t have fresh herbs or as much zest, it became the dominate flavor. Delicious anyway. The whipped cream is amazing. I only had two cups of cream, but it worked out great. I piled the whipped cream on the cupcakes and still have some left over. Thanks for the tasty and creative recipe!

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