lemon olive oil muffins

Here’s something you may or may not know about me. I lived in Key West, Florida for four years.  And why would I be sharing that today? Because I think that we’ve become pretty good friends by now.

And because I want to talk about brunch, and that island knows how to do brunch.

Brunch is by far my favorite meal. Brunch is celebration of friends, family, good food and good times and in Key West, it's weekly occurrence. It is hard to find a restaurant down there on Sunday who is not serving their version of lobster benedict, savory crepes, or fabulous pastries.  

When I moved back to my home state of Connecticut four and a half years ago, the hardest part was adjusting to the fact that brunch is not such a big deal here.  Well ... that, and the weather. Brunch and the 80º year round weather. Oh … and riding my bike everywhere.  Okay, there were a few hard adjustments, but brunch is the one that still sticks.

In Key West, brunch plans were the most important plans you would make all week. That's right. There was no opting out of brunch, you’d feel really left out if you did.

Brunch down there would often last for hours ... or all day ... on a good day.  

People here in CT do not celebrate brunch the same way. I have yet to find a restaurant where you can sit for hours eating and drinking, and be surrounded by others who are doing the same. (If I am missing something, send me an email immediately).

So, you know what? It’s no biggie. Really. I’ll just make it happen.

A long leisurely brunch is going to be a regular occurrence in my home. Maybe others will catch on and invite me over. 

And do you know what I am always going to make for brunch? These muffins. Or these muffins as a cake. Lemon olive oil muffins or lemon olive oil cake. 

Last Sunday, Cathy from the blog: www.whatwouldcathyeat.com hosted a pot luck brunch for a some local food bloggers. It was lovely. There was an amazing spread of food (of course), fabulous brunch cocktails, and good people. Exactly what brunch is all about.

I actually made this by accident for that brunch. My other recipe fell through, and that ended up being a good thing. The cake went over well, and a few people asked if they could find the recipe on my blog.  So … here it is.

I made a few tweaks: a little healthier, a little tangier. The result: a sweet, tangy, moist on the inside, crisp on the outside breakfast pastry or dessert cake. 

This recipe here can be interchanged between a 9”cake or 12 muffins, whichever you choose. This recipe can also be made vegan by switching out the eggs for an egg replacer such bananas or Ener-G. If you want to get really fancy, find some maple sugar to sprinkle on top. A real treat. 

lemon olive oil muffins

12 muffins or a 9” cake 


1 cup of pecans
1 teaspoon of lemon zest
1 cup of whole wheat flour
½ cup of all purpose flour
2 teaspoons of baking soda
1 teaspoon of sea salt
½ cup of fresh squeezed lemon juice
½ cup of extra virgin olive oil
2 large eggs
1 cup of packed dark brown sugar

topping: organic confectioners sugar & maple sugar


  • Preheat the oven to 375º.
  • Prepare the muffin tin or cake pan. Grease the pan with some oil, or you can use liners for the muffins or oiled parchment paper for the cake.
  • In a food processor, pulse the pecans until they are finely ground.
  • In a large mixing bowl combine the dry ingredients: the ground pecans, whole wheat flour, all purpose flour, baking soda and sea salt.
  • Make a well in the dry mixture and add in the lemon juice, extra virgin olive oil, eggs, and dark brown sugar. Mix by hand with a large spoon until all of the ingredients are combined.
  • Pour the batter into the prepared pan. If you are making muffins, fill the tins about 3/4 of the way to the top. Lightly sprinkle the top with maple sugar (if you’re using).
  • Bake the muffins for 25-30 minutes. If you’re making the cake, bake for 40-45 minutes.  If you insert a tester it should come out dry (not wet).
  • Let cool for 10-15 minutes before removing from the pan. Dust with confectioners sugar before serving.