Pineapple-Sage Olive Oil Cake with a Port Glaze and Roasted Pepitas

I fondly refer to the busy nature of this time of year as trying to fit a size 24 woman into a size 2 dress for all the deliverables.  Whether one is beholden to the frenzy of the end of a school year or the abrupt seasonal shift to summer, it always seems a bit madcap to me.  Despite farm fresh produce starting to unveil itself for a new season I have been feeling that making gluten free frozen pizza nightly for dinner is even too difficult to find the time for of late.
This past weekend bore a reprieve from our almost 90 degrees temps with fog and rain.  After living for years in Northern California I delight in the rare appearance of fog in Boulder.  It completely transforms the landscape and always makes me feel I have a valid excuse to stay at home.  Like a Pavlovian reaction to the charcoal skies, it always makes me want to bake. 
I have not ever had an Olive Oil cake and candidly the first time I heard of one I was a little bit grossed out.  ‘Olive oil’ does not lead me down dessert lane mentally however after seeing them springing up enough curiosity got the best of me.
I have had two large, thriving pots of herbs which have successfully overwintered indoors, one of which contains a gorgeous Pineapple Sage plant.  It has been winking at me each time I pass it in the past two weeks.  Noting its incredible growth spurt of late, showing new, limey colored slightly fuzzy leaves, I’ve been pondering a cocktail application but settled on folding it into an Olive Oil cake attempt.  Pineapple sage does have a pineapple flavor and is lighter in flavor than traditional culinary sage.  It can usually be found with culinary herbs either in the grocery store or where herb plants are sold.  It’s very easy to grow in a pot or the garden.
I loved the idea of making the texture of the cake a bit more rustic and granular than a traditional cake.  In my mind that meshed with the concept of an Olive Oil cake which I also envisioned not to be sweet like a traditional cake but rather taking some sweetness from the sugar and some from the almond flour and the addition of the honey flavored Greek yogurt. 
I was delighted with how this cake turned out.  It is moderately dense (more dense than a layer cake; not as dense as a pound cake), perfectly sweet and moist.  I love its rustic essence and more organic sweetness.  Hope you will too!
Time:  Less than an hour including baking
Serves: 8-12 depending on slice sizes
·         3 eggs, room temperature
·         ¾  granulated sugar
·         ½ c honey Greek yogurt
·         2/3 cup olive oil: 2 tablespoons  Meyer lemon olive oil and the remainder extra virgin olive oil (preferably not with a strong, overbearing flavor) for a total of 2/3 cup
·         1 3/4 cups flour:
o     1/2 cup all-purpose (gluten free or regular) flour
o     ¾ cup almond flour
o      ½ cup cornmeal, fine-grind
·         2 teaspoons baking powder
·         ¼ teaspoon salt
·         2 tablespoons Pineapple sage, diced
·         1 cup confectioner’s sugar
·         3 tablespoons port wine
·         ¼ cup roasted pepitas (shelled pumpkin seeds), rough chopped*
·         Suggested garnish: Seedless red grapes
*roasted pepitas can be purchased or you can roast your own either in the oven on a cookie sheet or in a skillet with just a drop or two of olive oil.
1.      Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Butter a 9 inch spring form pan and set aside.
2.      In the bowl of a standing mixer (or in a bowl with a handheld mixer) beat eggs until a bit frothy.  Add sugar and beat until combined.
3.      Add yogurt to egg-sugar mixture; beat to fully combine.  Slowly drizzle olive oil into egg-sugar mixture while beating on medium speed to allow oil to fully integrate to egg-sugar mixture.
4.      In a separate bowl stir to combine flour, almond flour, cornmeal, baking powder, and salt.  With mixer at medium speed, spoon flour mixture into the egg-sugar-oil mixture a large spoonful at a time, allowing it to combine before adding more flour.
5.      Once combined add diced sage and mix just to combine.  Do not over mix.
6.      Pour into prepared pan and bake for 30-35 minute (until lightly browned on top and toothpick comes out clean).  Remove from oven and allow to cool before releasing the sides of the pan to cut and serve.
Making the Glaze:
Combine the confectioner’ sugar and port wine.  Whisk to fully combine leaving no lumps of sugar.  Lightly drizzle on cooled, room temperature cake.  Suggested drizzle method:  use a squeeze bottle with a cone top to more precisely drizzle the glaze over the cake slices. 
To serve:  Sprinkle with chopped pepitas and serve with red grapes.


  1. says

    I had the same reaction the first time I saw a recipe for olive oil cake. And, the same reaction when I tried it. Fog in Boulder must be pretty amazing. Of course, I think just about everything in Boulder must be so. Your cake looks delicious.

    • says

      Funny how we draw conclusions without trying but frankly in this case I think it's completely understandable. I've never ventured a mayonnaise chocolate cake for the same reason despite rave reviews of them.

      The fog and rain was fun but we are now back to heading toward the 90's. Living here is not for those favoring predictability in their weather!

    • says

      Hi Pola! I do think you would like it. I had read a number of recipe variations and created this based on my own thinking. Always a joy when it not only 'works' but is really good. A nice break from more fancy cakes especially coming into the summer season! Hope all is well for you.

    • says

      Pineapple sage has more of an essence of pineapple to me. It does taste of pineapple but does not impart the strong flavor an actual pineapple would. It is very light in the cake too. Frankly if you wanted to make the cake without it I think it would still be good too.

    • says

      Is there such a thing?! In one of the vintage recipe boxes I have there is a recipe for Vinegar Pie which I fully intend to make soon. Love a good novel recipe. I bet balsamic vinegar would be good too if used in moderation.

  2. says

    This looks brilliant, love the photos! I just bought plates exactly like those. I've never heard of pineapple sage – you've made me curious – I have pineapple mint growing in the garden though.

    • says

      Thanks Caroline! My grandmother gave me these hobnail plates which are antiques. Love them. Pineapple sage has a beautiful subtle flavor and delicate texture; much more so than mainstream culinary sage. I'm still thinking up a cocktail for it. Maybe in a simple syrup……

    • says

      Thank you Sarah. I hope you will try this. I went into it with high hopes and secretly, low expectations! I really could not envision the flavor. I am pleased to say this was an experiment that was very successful! I love the rustic texture and the flavor is balanced and not overly sweet.

  3. says

    Toni!!! Absolutely beautiful photos. I think I've mentioned this before, but I have some plates just like that, with the glass ball around the rims. I'm loving everything about this cake! I even have some port for that glaze. I've never grown pineapple sage, must look for it. I'm pinning this so I don't forget to make it. I love fog too, except when I have to drive in it.

    • says

      Hi Lea Ann! Thank you and I do remember you mentioned having similar hobnail plates. Mine were a gift from my Grandmother and are antiques which I love. You should be able to find Pineapple Sage readily. It has a more delicate texture and is not as strongly sage tasting. I feel it has alot of flexibility even throwing it into a salad.

  4. says

    Ohhh this cake looks so moist and delicious! (I sound like a Betty Crocker ad!) I'm going to try an olive cake soon too after seeing yours. I know in Provence, many home cooks make use of the bountiful olive oil and often have it in there cakes. I also adore a cake like yours with a drizzle of sweetness and not lots of rich icing.

    • says

      I felt the same about Olive Oil cake; after seeing enough of them I was ready to conjure up a recipe for one myself. Glad to see you will take the baton from here! Clearly if they are doing it in Provence it's not a weird fad and after tasting this I was really pleasantly surprised. I think I expected an oily texture and heavy EVOO flavor. Not so.

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