Apple and Olive Oil Cake with Maple Icing

September  9, 2013
6 Ratings
Photo by Julia Gartland. Prop Stylist: Veronica Olson. Food Stylist: Anna Billingskog.
  • Serves 6 to 8
Author Notes

The olive oil gives this cake extra depth and intensity. The complex flavors mature over time, so consider wrapping the cake in plastic wrap and refrigerating it, ready to ice and serve, for up to 3 days. Somewhat less festive (and less calorie laden), this is still very satisfying without the maple icing. Just dust lightly with confectioners' sugar. —Yotam Ottolenghi

What You'll Need
  • 1/2 cup golden raisins (heaping)
  • 4 tablespoons water
  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 3/4 cup superfine sugar
  • 1/2 vanilla bean
  • 2 free-range egg, lightly beaten
  • 3 large Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored, and cut into 3/8-inch dice
  • Grated zest of 1 lemon
  • 2 free-range egg whites
  • Confectioners' sugar, for dusting (optional)
  • 7 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup muscovado sugar (scant)
  • 6 tablespoons maple syrup (scant)
  • 8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
  1. Grease an 8-inch springform cake pan and line the bottom and sides with parchment paper. Place the raisins and water in a medium saucepan and simmer over low heat until all of the water has been absorbed. Leave to cool.
  2. Preheat the oven to 325*F. Sift together the flour, cinnamon, salt, baking powder, and baking soda and set aside.
  3. Put the oil and superfine sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment (or use a whisk if you don't have a mixer). Slit the vanilla bean lengthwise in half and, using a sharp knife, scrape the seeds out into the bowl. Beat the oil, sugar, and vanilla together, then gradually add the eggs. The mix should be smooth and thick at this stage. Mix in the diced apples, raisins, and lemon zest, then lightly fold in the shifted dry ingredients.
  4. Whisk the eggs whites in a clean bowl, either by hand or with a mixer, until they have a soft meringue consistency. Fold them into the batter in 2 additions, trying to maintain as much air as possible.
  5. Pour the batter into the lined pan, level it with an icing spatula, and place in the oven. Bake for 1 1/2 hours, until a skewer inserted into the center comes out clean. Remove from the oven and leave to cool in the pan.
  6. Once the cake is completely cold, you can assemble it. Remove it from the pan and use a large serrated knife to cut it in half horizontally. You should end up with 2 similar disks. If the cake is very domed, you need to shave a bit off the top half to level it.
  7. To make the icing, beat together the butter, muscovado sugar, and maple syrup until light and airy. You can do this by hand, or, preferably, in a mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment. Add the cream cheese and beat until the icing is totally smooth.
  8. Using the icing spatula, spread a layer of icing 3/8 inch thick over the bottom half of the cake. Carefully place the top half on it. Spoon the rest of the icing on top and use the icing spatula to create a wavelike or any other pattern. Dust with confectioners' sugar, if you like.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Shannon
  • Gal
  • Kat
  • zora
  • Jeff the Chef
    Jeff the Chef
Yotam  Ottolenghi

Recipe by: Yotam Ottolenghi

Yotam Ottolenghi owns an eponymous group of four restaurants, plus the high-end restaurant, Nopi, in London. He writes for The Guardian, and appears on BBC. Sami Tamimi is a partner and head chef at Ottolenghi. Authors of the New York Times bestseller Jerusalem and the runaway hit Plenty, they have been featured in the New York Times, Saveur and the Los Angeles Times. They Live in London.

16 Reviews

Linda December 18, 2022
This cake is delicious. Because of the fruit and olive oil, it is excellent using GF flour. I agree that less baking time is needed, good to start checking after an hour. Also love the suggestion to soak raisins in rum. Or perhaps add some bourbon or Calvados to the batter. Will definitely make again.
510donna November 10, 2021
I made this last night and followed the recipe EXCEPT for the spice. I couldn't even believe the recipe called for 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon - that's not even detectable in a cake this size! I used 1/2 Tablespoon of cinnamon PLUS 1/4 tsp nutmeg, 1/4 tsp ground ginger and 1/8 tsp ground cloves. It was perfect. Very subtle and warm. So when people say it's flavorless - that may be the reason. I used honeycrisp apples and they were the perfect tart, crisp foil for the maple cream cheese frosting. The cake and the frosting were perfectly balanced as to sweetness. Not too sweet at all, as some cream cheese frostings can be. This was a big hit at my dinner party!
Ciao C. November 27, 2018
This recipe is also in Ottolenghi’s Sweet so I followed along from there. I used honey crisp apples and weighed the ingredients for success. I’m not sure why so many reviewers said their cakes were done long before the specified bake time because, as the book advised may happen, mine took longer than 90 minutes to fully bake. I made sure to check for doneness in numerous areas of the cake and that helped me. Weighing the apples was crucial. If I had grabbed three large apples and proceeded without weighing, I would’ve been short. The frosting used less sugar than other recipes, allowing for the nuances of cream cheese, maple, and apples to shine through. This was a fresh-tasting dessert, free from a cloying, sugary grip. My guests, however, seemed to favor my other, sweeter cake made from Dorie Greenspan’s Triple-Layer Parsnip Cranberry Cake recipe. In all fairness, that one was a showstopper.
Shannon November 22, 2018
Wish I had read the reviews first. Over done at an hour and ten minutes. Tasteless really. And so much trouble for so little result.
Gal January 21, 2018
(Just FYI) This recipe featured in "Ottolenghi: The Cookbook" P.193
Kat August 23, 2015
I'm surprised at the reviews of this cake, I made this over the weekend using in-season Granny Smith apples and checked the cake around 45 min- 60 min and could tell it was done. Use your eyes and instincts people :-) Really really good, everyone loved this cake. I didn't add the icing until later, and it was lovely plain.
nancy S. April 19, 2015
This was possibly the worst cake I have ever baked. I was so disappointed. As per Zindc's and Kittyc's comments below, my cake was done in 60 minutes (thank goodness I checked) came out with a very hard crust, was totally tasteless and Ihad to throw it away. I had such high hopes for this. A complete waste of some terrific apples from the farm, not to mention 1/2 C of my very best olive oil. Never again.
zora October 28, 2014
Instead of "Bake for 1 1/2 hours, until a skewer inserted into the center comes out clean" this should say OR until a skewer comes out clean. Mine was done after 60 minutes, not 90. I made it with quince instead of apple but the fruit substitution shouldn't have made any difference in the baking time. It was delicious with quince, by the way. I subbed in some cardamom for half the cinnamon, just cause I always put cardamom in non-chocolate cakes. And used dried Smyrna figs for half the raisins (and soaked them in some rum--a great suggestion below). Excellent fall dessert.
rachel March 11, 2014
I have made this cake on a few occasions and it has always been spectacularly recieved
katharinec November 26, 2013
Hmm. This turned out terribly for me. I cooked it for only 40 minutes, but it was still dry, and just utterly lacking in flavor (except for the apple chunks). Very disappointed.
Jeff T. October 3, 2013
I baked this cake in two 8-inch round pans, and it came out beautifully. I had to make a few adjustments, such as baking time.
Peachylovecakes September 20, 2013
Hey Bevi,
I just used my backyard granny's they were a lot smaller but I am so excited Autumn and this apple cake are here I don't mind all the extra cutting. Also soaked my raisins in rum instead of water...
Bevi October 3, 2013
Great idea soaking raisins in rum....
KimmyV September 19, 2013
Just made the cake. Used 9 in pans cause I hate cutting cakes horizontally. Turned out great. My three year old 'helped' which means he cranked the mixer on high and the apple pieces went flying everywhere. The frosting was really yummy. Thanks for this great recipe.
Lisa September 19, 2013
Would this recipe work using a light rye or barley flour. Any thoughts on this?
Bevi September 18, 2013
Lovely - I will use apples from my tree that approximate Granny Smiths.