bundt cake with thyme sprig

meyer lemon + thyme olive oil cakes | paired with anselmi’s “i capitelli” dessert wine

drinks, food, fruits, recipes, sweets, wine, winter

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I recently read a very inspiring post on Darling magazine’s website about celebrating our small and large moments of victory, fanning the flames of our goals, and daring to actually live out those crazy dreams we have for our lives. I know I’ve been pretty wordy about goal-setting and intentions on my last few posts, but I have no apologies. We all need a little motivation; I’m seriously preaching to myself.

Lately, I’ve had a few setbacks with the goals I’ve written for myself. I dealt with a case of bronchitis, and I had to stop running for a few weeks. My work schedule has been a little unpredictable, and my finances have taken a toll. I have over-committed and have had some difficulty finding a sense of balance, in turn, hurting a couple of friends and family members as a result.

I can only pick up where I left off with those situations and do my best from this point on. I’ve slowly built my running mileage up to four miles a run, and I’ve tightened up my budget. As far as the fragile relationships go, I’m making room for quality time and making sure I am giving my full attention to the person I’m spending time with.

We have to reach for our goals but, more than that, we have to hold on and live them, until they’re the only truths we believe in.”

Megan Magers

Sometimes, it is tough holding onto our goals. When we are met with setbacks. When we’re the only ones who see any progress. When we supposedly “fail.” When no validation comes our way. It’s at those points where it is so important to stay strong and remind ourselves WHY we made our choices and commitments in the first place.

So, I’ve gotten back on my feet and am trying to make something beautiful from my mistakes. This brings me to my recent marmalade mishap: I botched a batch and couldn’t get the marmalade to set. I wanted to toss out the six jars I canned. I was livid with the results.

At first.

meyer lemon thyme olive oil cake | holly & flora meyer lemon thyme olive oil cake | holly & flora meyer lemon thyme olive oil cake | holly & flora

I could’ve thrown that batch away, and I would’ve missed out on the opportunity to expand my creativity. I’ve used that runny, but oh-so-vibrantly-tasty batch of marmalade in more ways than I would have, had it been “perfect.”  It has found its way into a ginger-soy stir-fry sauce, as a dipping sauce for gyoza, over toast, in a gin cocktail, over granola, and drizzled over these Meyer lemon bundt cakes {recipe loosely adapted from this recipe on Food Network}. I think the bundt cake glaze is my most favorite incorporation of the sweet, citrus-y jam.

meyer lemon thyme olive oil cake | holly & flora

meyer lemon + thyme olive oil cakes

  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil, in solid form
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour, plus extra for flouring bundt pans
  • 1 cup cane sugar
  • zest from 3 lemons
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2/3 cup Greek yogurt or skyr
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon chopped, fresh thyme
  1. Pre-heat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Grease the lining of the bundt pans with the coconut oil and lightly dust with flour.
  3. In a food processor, pulse the sugar and lemon zest until integrated.
  4. Add eggs, one at a time, again, pulsing until integrated.
  5. Add the olive oil and yogurt and pulse for about 30 seconds, until all of the ingredients are blended.
  6. In a separate mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and fresh thyme.
  7. Pour the flour mixture, in three separate passes, into the olive oil mixture, pulsing just until combined.
  8. Pour the final mixture into the greased and floured bundt pans and bake for 25-30 minutes.
  9. Remove from oven and let the cakes cool in the pan for 15 minutes.
  10. Transfer to a cooling rack. If the cakes don’t want to release easily, use a knife to separate the cake from the edges of the pan.
  • I tested this recipe using a 6-piece mini-bundt pan. If you choose to use a 12-piece mini-bundt pan, decrease the baking time, checking on the cakes after 22 or so minutes.
  • Remember to grease the middle part of the bundt pan molds! I forgot to do this, and each cake didn’t want to release easily, since that middle portion was stuck.

marmalade glaze

  • 3 tablespoons marmalade
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  1. In a saucepan, combine the marmalade, coconut oil, and lemon juice over medium heat.
  2. As soon as the mixture reaches a slow, bubbly boil, quickly reduce to a low simmer.
  3. Whisk in powdered sugar.
  4. Reduce for about five minutes or to desired thickness.
  5. Remove from heat and let stand for 20-30 minutes to thicken further, as it cools.
  6. Drizzle over lemon olive oil cakes.
  • If you don’t have any marmalade, you may substitute 3 tablespoons orange juice and simply mix all ingredients together without heating on the stove.

meyer lemon thyme olive oil cake | holly & flora meyer lemon thyme olive oil cake | holly & flora

And now, let’s take this dessert to another level.

How so? Dessert wine. After a meal, I am always excited to pair a dessert wine with my sweet baked goods or even some cheese. The citrus notes in this particular recipe pair perfectly with Sauternes, a dessert wine from the Bordeaux region of France, made from Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon grapes. I didn’t have a Sauternes on hand, but I did have a Sauternes-like dessert wine from Italy, Anselmi’s “I Capitelli”, Passito Blanco.

I hadn’t tried it before, and I was completely blown away. This nectar-like, sweet wine is complex and balanced with vibrant acidity and provided ample notes of honey, dried apricot, brûléed peaches. I would also enjoy this dessert wine simply by itself, alongside fresh fruit, or with a salted caramel crème brûlée.

meyer lemon thyme olive oil cake | holly & flora

Anselmi “I Capitelli” Passito Blanco, Italy, 2011

  • Off the vine – 100% Garganega {the primary grape used to produce Soave}
  • On the eyes  –  golden honey-hued.
  • On the nose  –  rich, concentrated aromas of white peach, sweet apricot, honey, and caramel.
  • On the palate  –  full-bodied and viscous with notes of honey, maple, and ripe peaches.
  • On the table  –  excellent alongside fresh fruit, lemon cake, light pastries, and even with steamed lobster. It can definitely stand up and complement a funky bleu cheese.
  • On the shelf  –  around $40 {375 mL}.
  • On the ears  –  I think I’ve listened to Royksopp‘s latest, and supposedly final, album, The Inevitable End {November 2014}, at least once a day for the last three weeks. Right now, my favorite track is “Skulls.” I may have danced around the kitchen with this one blasting. I’m comfortably listening to this album right now on headphones, so there won’t be any neighborly casualties. 😉 The video to this track is definitely worth checking out, especially if you have major beard crushes, like I do.

meyer lemon thyme olive oil cake | holly & floraI also want to add that it is so important to celebrate our accomplishments, the large breakthroughs and the little victories, and not just focus on the hiccups, roadblocks, or setbacks. Even though each of our victories leads us closer to our goals, we have to remember that life happens along the way, in the mix. We have to take time to revel in those small, happy moments.

Let me know if you end up making this recipe, this decadent product of an originally perceived failure. They were absolutely delicious and had the best texture, almost like a sour cream cake doughnut. I ended up eating two of these mini-bundt cakes the night I baked them. And I didn’t feel any guilt about it! It was a victorious celebration, after all, right?

Happy weekend! I’ll be tucked away inside my house for a couple of days. The forecast is calling for well over a foot of snow. We’ll see how well that prediction holds. I’m betting on maybe five inches!



meyer lemon thyme olive oil cake | holly & flora


  1. Love the lemon and thyme combination, especially in a cake. Now I have a recipe for it! Thanks for posting.

    • Thanks so much for dropping by! I also love the lemon and thyme combo – in teas, or cocktails, or jams. Let me know if you try out the recipe! I seriously ate two of these cakes in one sitting. Luckily, they are kind of smallish! 😉

  2. erinmadethis says:

    Glad to hear your back on your feet! These cakes are so lovely. Great job x

    • Thanks so much, Erin! It is when we stop getting back up on our feet that we actually fail. And I am happy for kitchen mistakes because there is always a way to make something out of them – even if it means composting it all! …which has happened! Happy weekend! 😉

  3. Lokness says:

    These cakes are gorgeous! The marmalade is beautiful and must pair so well with the cakes. Meyer lemons are wonderful. Just wish they can be found all year round.

    • I seriously wish they could be found year-round, too. I planted a dwarf Meyer lemon tree in a large ceramic pot last spring, and the fruit hasn’t set the past couple of flowerings. I hear it takes a couple of seasons. We brought the tree indoors for the winter, placed it by a sunny window, and even used a paintbrush to pollinate the flowers this past December. There are actually some little lemons successfully hanging on! Here’s to hoping they deliver some serious fruit! I’d be happy, even if I got just one! Thanks for stopping by, Lokness. 🙂

  4. Oh my love! Ya know what? You’re totally not alone with the setbacks. I think we all go through dips and valleys and highs and lows and all that jazz. It’s a tough time of year – weather, sunshine, illness, etc.. I think it’s all related. Soon Spring will, uh, spring, and it’ll be better. Clearer, happier, more good things. I’ll get to exercising again and my mind will be clearer. At least that’s what I keep telling myself… I think the same thing for you too.

    PS. There’s a little bit of awesome coming your way – watch your mailbox. xo

    • Ahhhhhhh!!!! Yay for snailmail!!! My favorite! I am so ready for spring to…yeah…spring, too. Steve and I drew out plans for the spring garden and mapped out our crop rotations. We even took notes on the growing habits of tomatoes and troubleshooted some of the challenges we’ve had. I seriously get all excited about that kind of stuff!

      Have a fun no-work-all-fun day today, Kristy! 🙂 XO!

      • paulathomas2015 says:

        These look delicious, I’m so making them for the Mr. This weekend (and for me of course) I’m usually not a dessert eater (how ironic) but anything with citrus or frangipane gets me everytime. Yum!

      • Awesome, Paula! Let me know how they turn out or if you make any modifications! It is always a challenge, for me, to get cakes and cookies to do the right thing under high-altitude conditions. Finally getting a knack for it, but I could use a good tutorial. Steve is more of a dessert-eater than I am {and I have more restraint!}, so it is funny that I nearly finished all of these little cakes. The marmalade glaze totally made it all come together – it is a tad sweet, though. 😉 Have a great Monday! Sooooo happy Denver Restaurant Week is history until next February! I need a long nap and a big glass o’ wine!

      • paulathomas2015 says:

        High altitude is tricky business. i’m actually working on a post about it, with the simplest of recipes to start. I replied to your comments on my blog but don’t know if they reached you. I’m still figuring out this whole deal. Anyway, thanks for checking on my blog and the rants i get on. Coffee sometime will be great. Hope you are ok with me nominating you to Saveur, it makes sense since you are a seasoned blogger and have plenty to show in your blog.

      • I am so excited to read your post on high-altitude baking. I find it hit-or-miss so many times. I always seem to squint my eyes and cross my fingers, whenever I bake something. It all turns out 80% of the time, but baking bread and cakes seems to be my biggest challenge. I told Scott the other day that I was so happy you are writing! I would L-O-V-E to get together for coffee soon. And, yes, thank you for the nomination! I’d be head-over-heels, if I even placed! I am grateful for your encouragement and support, for sure. Let’s plan a date soon!

  5. […] of serving dessert wine after a meal either alone or alongside a sweet treat {case in point, here, here, and here}. I chose an acidic, sweet dessert wine to accompany this shortbread and lemon curd […]

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