Make Ahead

Maialino-Inspired Olive Oil Muffins

May  5, 2019
Author Notes

I have a deep-seated love of mixing, matching, and making mad science of much-loved, classic, rugged recipes. Such were the instructions for Food52's 'Recipe Off-Roading' series, and Maialino's Olive Oil cake was my muse. My biggest changes were the size and shape, from cake to muffin (single-serve is preferred in my house), and the elimination of the Grand Marnier (we're dry, here). The first take features a base-flavor change with infused the olive oil and fruit compote; the second swaps some of the AP Flour for buckwheat, changing the texture and rise, and adding a surprisingly lovely syrupy note; and lastly, the third involves chocolate and sea salt, because you can never go wrong with those two.

There are other tweaks to ingredient amounts that I made to change the texture (i.e. more flour, as I found the variations added too much moisture and sogginess) and flavor (the additions of fruit and/or chocolate added too much sweetness with the original amount of sugar) —Jr0717

  • Prep time 35 minutes
  • Cook time 20 minutes
  • Makes 18 muffins
  • The Muffin Base
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (for buckwheat version, reduce to 2.25 cups)
  • 1 1/4 cups white sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 1/4 cups extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 1/4 cups whole milk
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 cup flavored liquid of your choice (my variations used plum syrup, an orange juice- thinned chocolate sauce, and honey)
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons grated orange zest OR 1/4 teaspoon extract (vanilla, almond, etc. Have it your way!)
  • Plum compote and Herb-infused olive oil
  • 2 medium plums, sliced into 1/4-inch wedges
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 pinch black pepper
In This Recipe
  1. The Muffin Base
  2. Line a standard 12-well cupcake pan with liners (or grease each well generously with butter or olive oil) and preheat the oven to 350° F.
  3. Whisk the wet ingredients (olive oil, milk, egg, flavored liquid and zest/extract) together in one bowl, and the dry in another, Add wet to dry, and combine gently and quickly, taking care not to over-beat. The batter should be a little thinner than a cake batter, but should coat the back of a spoon and be a smidge heavier than a pancake/crepe batter.
  4. Take one: Rosemary-infused with ginger black pepper plum compote: Use infused olive oil (recipe follows) instead of plain, liquid from plum compote for flavored liquid, and add 1/4 teaspoon almond extract. Serve topped with remaining plum compote (and vanilla ice cream because YOLO). Take Two: Honey, Rose, and Buckwheat: Use only 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour and 1/3 cup buckwheat flour. Replace flavored liquid with 1//3 cup honey, 1 1/4 tablespoons rosewater, and add 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract. When muffins are baked, drizzle with additional honey and top with crushed rose petals (if you have'em). Take Three: Chocolate Sea Salt: Melt 6 ounces milk chocolate (bittersweet works too - I used a 64% milk chocolate) with a drizzle of olive oil and while stirring, add 2 tablespoons of orange juice (alternatively, about a 1/3-cup glug of Hershey's syrup into the batter would be a-okay in my book!). When the muffins are baked, drizzle with more melted chocolate and sprinkle with flaky sea salt before serving.
  5. Bake for approximately 15 minutes, and test for doneness (a clean toothpick/knife inserted in the center) at this point. Let cool for at least 20 minutes before finishing (see below) and serving.
  1. Plum compote and Herb-infused olive oil
  2. For quick plum compote: Combine all ingredients in a saucepan on the stove and cook down over low flame until plums are soft and syrupy (do this first and let cook while prepping batter. Let cool slightly before using). When soft, syrupy, and alluringly glossy, crush and smush some of the plums and use with syrup for batter. Reserve remaining compote for serving.
  3. For quick-infused olive oil: Bring the 1 1/4 cups olive oil called for in the original recipe to a simmer over medium flame, and add 1 tablespoon crushed, dried rosemary. Let cook and sizzle slightly before removing from heat and steeping. The flavor will deepen the longer the oil sits (I let mine steep overnight).

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