Almond Olive Oil Cake

May 21, 2012

When I was a young girl, my Mum taught me to make a chocolate cake. It was a classic chocolate cake, with a basic cocoa/icing sugar frosting. It was simple, yes, but it was also relentlessly satisfying. Rich and fluffy, and only occasionally tasting of baking powder (I was prone to capricious heavy handedness with ingredients), I learnt to make that cake all by myself. And once I got the hang of it, it was the only thing I would make. It was my thing. For special occasions I would decorate with jelly snakes or smarties. Fancy. I adored that cake.

These days, now that I’m all grown up and have learnt to moderate my baking powder employment, I try to branch out a little. As comforting as old favourites can be, there’s nothing quite like the thrill of discovering a new recipe. New processes, new smells and textures. New tastes. It’s exciting. It encourages growth.

During the week, my Mum and I send emails back and forth, sharing our new discoveries. It’s what we do. A few weeks ago, Mum emailed a link to a recipe that was particularly enticing…an Almond Olive Oil Cake (recipe link). This recipe stuck with me for days, so much so that I scrapped my original cake plans for Mother’s Day and replaced it with this novel number. New tastes.

I’m glad I did.


As delightfully snug and nostalgic a classic chocolate cake can be, this Almond Olive Oil Cake went down a real treat. I was undoubtedly inspired, and completely fascinated by this new taste.

The olive oil flavour was affectionately prominent, the cake body intoxicatingly light, and the glaze just lovely – no jelly snakes or smarties required. The only change I would make to this recipe would be to use a touch less salt.


Sans glaze, this would make an excellent breakfast cake. Maybe with a touch of jam and a side of natural yoghurt. That’s new, isn’t it? Kind of. Let’s compromise here…a slice of familiar in a new way. I like that.

Heidi xo
  • Hannah May 21, 2012 at 8:09 am

    I remember making an olive oil polenta cake a little while ago, olive oil cakes are always beautiful! One question, I tried making the cocoa/coconut macaroons yesterday, and they didn't form into balls- even when I added more coconut oil. Any tips? I use regular sugar instead of brown, maybe that made a difference. I just ended up using the mixture as a yoghurt topping, still so yummy 🙂 x

  • Heidi May 21, 2012 at 8:46 am

    Hey lovely! That's strange, I've made them so many times & never had that problem… did you use raw sugar or caster sugar? Raw sugar would be too hard and chunky, I think. A fine sugar like caster should still work but I'd still favour brown sugar as it helps to provide that really soft texture and make it all come together. Hope that helps! xo

  • Heavenly Ingredients May 21, 2012 at 9:38 am

    You write so well Heidi 😉
    Lovely recipe, doesn't sound too sickly sweet

  • Kari May 21, 2012 at 10:06 am

    This looks like a beautiful, heavenly cake – a lovely choice for Mother's Day. This is also a beautiful post 🙂

  • Nic@diningwithastud May 21, 2012 at 12:25 pm

    What a beautiful cake. I've got quite a bit of olive oil at home. Perhaps this cake is in order 😀

  • Lisa May 21, 2012 at 12:49 pm

    An olive oil cake is on my list of things to try, it sounds so delicious. I will add this recipe to my "to make" list (which is extraordinarily long at the moment).

  • Leah May 21, 2012 at 2:57 pm

    Looks like a lovely cake Heidi 🙂 being part Greek we use olive oil in a lot of cakes instead of butter, so I'm used to that sort of earthy flavour it has in sweets. Love.

  • mamacino May 21, 2012 at 3:32 pm

    Hi Heidi…I have just stumbled across your blog and would just like to say how lovely I think it is. It seems we have a similar food philosophy. I look forward to reading more, waving from across the bay, Kristin from mamacino x

  • Iron Chef Shellie May 21, 2012 at 5:23 pm

    Gorgeous 😀 I can't remember if I had a signature dish when I was young, but now I'm getting far too adventurous but it's lots of fun 🙂 x

  • Hannah May 21, 2012 at 6:51 pm

    Oh, this sounds like my kind of cake indeed! And I love your chocolate cake story, because my kitchen life began with my mum teaching my her brownie recipe, which I made so often in my tweens and teens that I used to know the recipe by heart 🙂

  • The InTolerant Chef May 21, 2012 at 7:10 pm

    Breakfast cake? I knew there was a reason I liked you!
    Lovely recipe indeed, I think it also be perfect if I used some of my lemon, or blood orange infused olive oil in it…. But maybe not the garlic or wasabi flavored oil 🙂

  • Michelle Chin May 21, 2012 at 7:19 pm

    i love using brown sugar for baking too. gives it a nice "earthy" perfume.

  • Heidi - Apples Under My Bed May 21, 2012 at 7:52 pm

    Laura – thanks, lovely! the cake was truly divine.

    Kari – oh thank you 🙂

    Nic – definitely!

    Lisa – oooh I know what that feels like! But trust me, put this to the top of the list! It's amazing.

    Leah – love indeed.

    Kristin – why thanks, so glad you stopped by! Just had a quick look at your blog, fantastic, can't wait to have a better look!

    Michele – isn't it just so much fun?! 🙂

    Hannah – memories 🙂 love it.

    InTolerant Chef – breakfast cake!! infused oil, how divine. But yeah maybe not garlic. although I do love garlic… 😛

    Michelle – love brown sugar!

    Heidi xo

  • Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella May 22, 2012 at 7:46 am

    The crumb on that cake looks fantastic-so moist! 😀

  • Chopinand @ ChopinandMysaucepan May 23, 2012 at 9:33 am

    Dear Heidi,

    It's a beautiful thing to learn recipes from your mum. My mum thought me some very basic cooking techniques that has proven to be some of the most useful skills to build upon and to have confidence in the kitchen.

    Whenever I cook these days, I think of my mum fondly because those few techniques and recipes have enabled me to cook and develop so many other recipes that I have come to love.

  • hannah May 25, 2012 at 8:17 am

    I was a renegade cook as a kid. I'd just make up recipes that either worked or self-combusted. It would drive my mum crazy and the self-combusting types always seemed to be made of the most expensive ingredients. That still happens to me a lot now what with experimenting with paleo…I try to make smaller versions until I get it right.

    That olive oil cake looks delicious.

  • Daisy@Nevertoosweet May 27, 2012 at 2:06 am

    That's so sweet your mum taught you how to bake 🙂 my mum never baked or made any cakes or desserts so i'm always envious of those who have memories of baking with their mothers ~ this look like a wonderfully simple yet tasty cake and perfect for me because I have an extra bottle of extra virgin olive oil that i wanna get rid of hehe

  • Laura - Elsee Blog March 24, 2013 at 8:54 am

    MMmmm! I just bought some almond meal! Yum I want to bake it this week. Is almond flour and almond meal the same thing?

    • Heidi March 24, 2013 at 9:42 am

      We used almond meal here, and it worked wonderfully. Almond flour tends to be lighter, it’s made with blanched almonds & is usually much finer, I find. I think both would be fine! xo

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