This apple cake with olive oil has it's origins in the coastal region of Liguria, Italy. A simple and delicious olive oil cake recipe with sweet chunks of fresh apples and plump raisins with hints of cinnamon. Perfectly moist and dense with just enough crumble!

Italian Apple Olive Oil Cake with chunks of apple, raisins and cinnamon

People of the Mediterranean, at least the part I grew up in, love their tea time.

I don't want you to picture an English high tea situation, as lovely as that sound, but a more casual affair. Just time with friends and family to catch up on life over a cup of tea (no special china needed.)

At my parents' home, it was black tea with some dried fruits and nuts on the side, and, on occasion, a little strudel. In my home, it's usually a no-fuss crustless ricotta cheesecake, red wine poached pears, or a simple cake much like today's apple cake recipe.

Whether you're into afternoon tea or morning coffee with friends, this Italian apple olive oil cake--with chunks of sweet apple and plump raisins--will fit the bill!

And if you're looking for something sweet enough, but not too sweet, this olive oil cake is just that!  But sweet-toothed folks can easily add a drizzle of warmed dark honey or caramel, maybe even a scoop of your favorite vanilla ice cream, if you're feeling indulgent.

This apple cake is easy to make, and you'll love the little Italian twist, borrowed from Liguira, Italy!

Olive Oil Cake In Pan with Parchment Paper. A bowl of apples on side

Italian Apple Olive Oil Cake

This olive oil cake is a modern version of one from the coastal region of Liguria, Italy. It's a no-frosting and no-fuss type cake, the kind Italian nonnas might whip up on short notice!

Here's the gist. Simple rustic olive oil cake with chunks of sweet fresh apple and plump raisins with warm hints of cinnamon and nutmeg. It's dense with just enough crumble.

Extra virgin olive oil is obviously key in this cake, it lends great moisture and tenderness and provides a layer of complexity and richness to this rustic cake. (I used this Private Reserve EVOO, by the way.)

Can I Use Olive Oil in Cake? 

People of the Mediterranean have been baking with olive oil for years (even in things like banana bread!)  But the question may still pop up, "can I use olive oil in cake?"

The short answer is: yes! Even die-hard butter fans agree that olive oil makes exceptionally good cakes.

Here are three reasons why olive oil is great in cakes:

1. At room temperature, olive oil is liquid, so it does add superior moisture overtime even with leftovers.

2. Using quality extra virgin olive oil in place of butter is a great way to cut saturated fats and add more monosaturated fats, which promote good cholesterol.

3. Very simply, a good extra virgin olive oil, like this one I used, will add a wonderful, rich and nounaced flavor to your cake without calling too much attention to itself.

Apple Olive Oil Cake Sliced. A slice served on plate to the side


Three important tips for making this cake:

1. The batter for this particular olive oil cake will be thick. Trust me, it's meant to be. Resist the urge to add water or anything else to loosen it.

2. What kind of apples to use and how to cut them for this recipe? This time I used gala apples, but you can use other baking apples you like (Honey Crisp Apples or Pink Lady Apples. It's even better if you use a couple apple varieties for a more complex flavor. For example, instead of just gala apples, you can mix in Granny Smith apples, which have a more tart, subtly acidic flavor.

I prefer to chop the apples to a fairly small chop/dice for a more rustic texture. That way, they won't completely disappear in the cake, instead you get some sweet apple bites in each piece.

If you're someone who enjoys more citrusy flavor profile, then be sure to check out my orange cardamom olive oil cake. And, chocolate lovers, don't miss my chocolate olive oil cake!

3. Use Quality Extra Virgin Olive Oil. As the name implies, this is an olive oil cake, and you should be able to detect some olive oil notes. Don't worry, it will not be overwhelming, but the slightly savory notes of extra virgin olive oil will lend an appealing flavor complexity.

My best advice to you is to use only quality extra virgin olive oil or you may end up with less than describable flavor. Worse, rancid!

I used our Private Reserve extra virgin olive oil from organically grown and processed Koroeniki olives. An exquisite cold extracted and unfiltered oil with a delicate intensity, vivid color, and low acidity of 0.4%. Read more about this oil here.

Apple Olive Oil cake whole. A dusting of sugar on top

Can this be a Vegan cake?

It's quite simple to make a vegan version of this Italian apple olive oil cake. Obviously, the one ingredient you need to replace is the eggs.

While I have not personally tried it, one awesome reader, Elena, just wrote in to share her vegan take on this apple olive oil cake: "I used about 1 cup of coconut milk (in which I soaked the raisins) and 1 cup of orange juice , to replace the 2 eggs. I also added a handful of walnuts, so delicious!"

Watch How to Make this Apple Olive Oil Cake

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Italian Apple Olive Oil Cake with chunks of apple, raisins and cinnamon

Italian Apple Olive Oil Cake

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4.8 from 93 reviews


Simple and rustic Apple Olive Oil Cake with chunks of apple, raisins and the perfect combination of spices. The kind of no-fuss olive oil cake you'll love.


  • 2 large Gala apples, peeled and chopped as finely as possible
  • Orange juice to soak apples in
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • ½ tsp ground cinnamon
  • ½ tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup Private Reserve extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 large eggs
  • ⅔ cup gold raisins, soaked in warm water for 15 minutes and then drained well
  • Confectioner's sugar for dusting


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Place the chopped apples in a bowl and add orange juice; just enough juice to toss and coat apples so as to prevent browning.
  3. In a large mixing bowl sift together the flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, baking powder and baking soda. Set aside for now
  4. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk, add sugar and extra virgin olive oil. Mix on low for 2 minutes until well-combined
  5. While mixer is on, add the eggs, one at a time, and continue to mix another 2 minutes until mixture increases in volume (it should be thicker but still runny)
  6. In the large bowl with the dry ingredients, make a well in the middle of the flour mixture. Add the wet mixture (the sugar and olive oil mixture) into the well. Using a wooden spoon, stir until just blended; it will be a thick batter (do not add anything to loosen it).
  7. Drain raisins (which have been soaking in water) completely; and rid apples of excess juice. Add both raisins and apples to the batter and mix with spoon until well-combined. Again, batter will be fairly thick.
  8. Line a 9-inch cake pan with parchment paper. Spoon thick batter into the pan, and level the top with the back of your wooden spoon.
  9. Bake in 350 degrees F for 45 minutes or until an inserted tooth pick or wooden skewer comes out clean.
  10. Cool completely in pan. When ready, simply lift parchment up to transfer cake into a serving dish. Dust with confectioner's sugar. Alternatively, heat some dark honey to serve on top (those with a sweeter tooth like this option.)


  • Important Tip using excellent extra virgin olive oil makes the biggest difference in this cake. Inferior olive oils will produce less than desirable taste. We use our Private Reserve extra virgin olive oil, Or Early Harvest extra virgin olive oil for deeper flavor.
  • Can this be Vegan? While I have not personally tried the vegan version of this cake, one of our readers, Elena just wrote in to share her vegan take on this apple olive oil cake: "I used about 1 cup of coconut milk (in which I soaked the raisins) and 1 cup of orange juice , to replace the 2 eggs. I also added a handful of walnuts, so delicious!"
  • Storage This cake is best consumed within 2-3 days or so. Store it in an airtight class container for 2-3 days in a cool and dry place. You can refrigerate, but bring to room temperature before serving.
  • Recommended for this Recipe Private Reserve Greek extra virgin olive oil (from organically grown and processed Koroneiki olives); all-natural ground nutmeg 
  • SHOP OUR BUNDLES EVOO Bundle ; Ultimate Mediterranean Spice Bundle
  • Visit The Mediterranean Dish store for more!
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 45 minutes
  • Cuisine: Italian/Mediterranean

*Note: This post first appeared on The Mediterranean Dish in 2017 and has been recently updated with new content and media for readers' benefit. Enjoy!

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I'm Suzy; born and bred right on the shores of the Mediterranean. I'm all about easy, healthy recipes with big Mediterranean flavors. Three values guide my cooking: eat with the seasons; use whole foods; and above all, share! So happy you're here...
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  1. I am making this recipe for the first time and used Monk Fruit sugar which is a 1:1 ratio and Calorie FREE. This is the ONLY sugar sub. i use because it is so easy to use and tastes good. I LOVE Olive Oil cakes and have made others that are delicious! Looking forward to this one! WILL LET YOU KNOW HOW IT TURNS OUT.

  2. I don't do well with real sugar or honey. Has anyone used a sugar substitute like stevia? If so, what conversion would I use? Thanks so much for your help.

    1. Hi, Beth. I would think stevia would be okay. I don't use it myself (so I can't help with a conversion), but if you've used it in place of sugar in baking, it should work.

      1. Hi Suzy,
        I found this conversion and as soon as I give it a try I'll let you know how it tastes.
        Bag of baking stevia is 1/3 cup plus 1 1/2 tablespoons would equal 1 cup of sugar. If using powdered stevia then the stevia-to-sugar ratio is only 1 teaspoon of powdered stevia for 1 cup of sugar.
        Thanks, Beth

    2. I have never made a cake using olive oil and I must say that its pleasantly surprisingly delicious! I think adding nuts as suggested in the tips below would be an excellent addition! This cake offers a dense , moist texture along with a lovely burst of flavor! Enjoy a cup of espresso with this delightful coffee cake! I made this cake along with Chicken Souvlaki , Greek salad , Greek potatoes , Tzatziki , hummus and pitas all from your collection! My kids had to take home some of that cake! they loved it!

  3. I’m making this cake for the third time tonight. My sis had made it for my birthday in the spring, I made it for my daughter-in-law this summer and today I wanted something with apples for dessert. This cake does not disappoint!
    It’s been made as written with the addition of a bit of vanilla because I can’t help myself. I plan to drizzle a bit of honey over top, because.... honey!!

      1. Hi, Pamela! I have never done this, so I'm not 100% sure. If you give it a try, though, will you please stop back to let us know how it turned out?

      2. I have substituted one cup of honey for the one cup of sugar and it turned out amazing. Making it again right now for the fourth time! Great recipe! Delicious!

  4. I havent made the cake but was wondering do you have a gluten free version as my hubby & myself have low tolerance to flour that contains gluten.
    I have made so many of your recipes & they have all turned out amazing thank you so much dinner is now an enjoyable experience the Mediterraean way cooking & eating.
    My hubby is very happy!!!

    1. Hi, Joanne! I have substituted the flour with Bob's Red Mill Gluten Free 1 to 1 baking flour with success :). I'm so glad you are enjoying the recipes you find here!! Thank you!!

      1. Thank you Suzy I will look for this flour & give it a go.
        Again thank you for your delicious recipes its changed our lives for the better.
        Cheers from Australia

  5. Delicious! Batter had me worried because it was so thick. Came out fantastic. Exactly as described, super moist but a bit crumbly, sweet enough but not too sweet. Peferct if you have a larger meal and don't want dessert to be too heavy. I used honeycrisp apples. I forgot to dust with confectioners sugar but did not miss it. This is a keeper!

  6. Made this for the 1st time tonight and oh my God it is so so so good!!! The only adjustment I made was doubling the cinnamon.. I have made several recipes from this site and all of them have been fantastic.

  7. Amazing! Used all of your ingredients except I soaked the raisins in a wee bit of rum, let it come to boil, took off heat while I made the rest of your recipe. Went back to cooled raisins and they're plump, having soaked up the rum, but not *too.* A trick I learned l-o-n-g ago from Nigella Lawson. I grated the apples, btw, instead of cutting them as small as possible. Because I'm lazy I guess 😉 and had only one hand working while I made this perfectly moist, easy cake. Spread a small amount of vanilla glaze over it, and while that basically took it over the top, I think it's too much. So, next time! Thank you, ever so much

  8. OK but a bit disappointing. Followed recipe exactly and it looked pretty, just seemed a bit dry and dull. Could've used more apples and raisins for sure, maybe a bit of honey or agave nectar? Fresh ginger? Something "missing."

    1. Hi, Barry! We've always had success with the recipe as written, but you could certainly add more apples, raisins, and other flavor-makers if it suits you.

      1. I made this cake for family a few weeks ago and they have NOT STOPPED talking about it. It is now a favourite and I'm making it again tomorrow!!
        I skipped the raisins and did a few more walnuts!!!

        So delicious. I'm going to try adapting it without the eggs for a friend who is vegan and see how I go..but this recipe was perfect and even better the day after!

  9. This cake is amazing. My husband loved it. He had it for breakfast and after dinner. He is asking me to make it again. I made it exactly as the recipe says.

  10. This cake is SOOOO good! Thank you for the recipe! I used the private reserve olive oil and it was killer. Thanks for the tip to use a little bigger apple pieces instead of finely chopping them. Loved the texture.

  11. 10/10!! Great recipe! Thank you!! I tweaked a bit to fit what I had in my pantry, I used honey crisp apples. Subbed whole wheat flour for white flour, subbed dark brown sugar for the white sugar and I didn’t have nutmeg so I used cinnamon, cardamom, ginger and a little clove for a more “chai” inspired flavor profile. My family just couldn’t believe it! Slightly crispy top, but the inside was absolutely light, moist and decadent with out being overly sweet!! Next time I’ll add some pecans or walnut, and believe me... there WILL be a next time!!

  12. I recently came across your site. Delicious recipes!
    This is a lovely cake. Does this cake freeze well?
    Thank you for sharing so many great recipes!

    1. Hi, Christiane! This cake is best eaten within a few days, but you can freeze leftovers and thaw overnight in the fridge.

  13. Can I mix the wet ingredients in a food processor? Then proceed with adding to the dry ingredients in a bowl?