Olive Oil Cake

Olive Oil Cake

Around this time last year my significant other baptized me into the cult of pickleball. He bought me a paddle and a ball, so I dutifully signed up for an eight week introductory class. At the culmination of the course I was anointed “Ms. Pickleball.” Sure, the title felt good, I could brag a little, unaware that my true initiation had not yet begun. The next day I returned to the very same rec center where the day before I reigned to play real world pickleball. Fit retirees, a sea of 60 and 70-somethings, mingled near benches that rimmed the six indoor courts. By the end of the afternoon I’d learned two things – a 70 year old could whoop my butt in pickleball and few Black and Brown seniors were on the courts. After 3.5 hours of playing I felt I could reward myself with an homemade Olive Oil Cake.

Today the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference (AAIC) listed the counties with the highest percentages of Alzheimer’s patients. Black people are twice as likely to develop dementia as White people in the United States; Hispanic people are 1.5 times more likely. A previous primary care physician of mine liked to call dementia “Diabetes 3” insinuating that the average American diet replete with simple carbohydrates and sugar had some culpability. A National Institute of Health study concluded that the best diet to combat dementia related illnesses is six servings of leafy green vegetables, five servings of nuts, and three servings of beans per week. The study perfectly describes the traditional African Heritage Diet. Reintroducing old, forgotten eating habits to our communities could offset the disproportionate number of cases of not only dementia but cancer, diabetes and a myriad of other ailments.

Regular exercise not only allows us a piece of Olive Oil Cake every now and again, it offsets memory loss and dementia too. Because the number of dementia patients has increased dramatically in the last few years, a new drug released last week has been hailed as a breakthrough in helping to combat the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease. I cut the quantity of sugar in my Olive Oil Cake by using part agave syrup which is lower on the glycemic index than cane sugar. A Strawberry Cardamom Sauce drizzle on top would be a delight. You may also turn the recipe into cupcakes to create a dessert bar by adding Lisa’s Cherry Cheescake Bars and Ginger Cookie Ice Cream Sandwiches.

In tribute to a life well lived, I am dedicating this post to the beautiful Marilyn Margo who lost her battle with Alzheimer’s Disease Saturday, July 15th, 2023. Her kindness and grace live on in our memories.

A deep, golden brown, single layer Olive Oil Cake is on a white plate with a lemon rind-fan at its' center.

Olive Oil Cake

Moist and buttery, with cardamom and a hint of lemon, it's hard to believe my Olive Oil Cake has no butter! The ideal dessert when you have a short amount of time to impress.
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 20 minutes
Course Breakfast, Brunch, Dessert, Snack
Cuisine African, African American
Servings 15


  • 1 Medium Mixing Bowl
  • 1 Large Mixing Bowl
  • 1 Whisk
  • 1 Large Spoon or Mixing Spatula
  • 1 9-inch Cake Pan


  • 2 cups Flour
  • cups Raw Cane Sugar
  • 1 tsp Redmond's Real Salt
  • ½ tsp Agave Pantry Cardamom Rose Salt Substitute ¼ tsp. Ground Cardamom and ¼ tsp. Real Salt
  • ½ tsp Baking Soda
  • ½ tsp Baking Powder
  • 3 Eggs
  • 1⅓ cups Olive Oil
  • Milk
  • ½ cup Lemon Juice
  • ½ cup Agave Syrup
  • ½ tsp Organic Vanilla Extract
  • 1 tsp Lemon Zest


  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Lubricate cake pan with a small amount of olive oil.
  • Add parchment paper to the bottom of the cake pan to prevent the cake from sticking. TIP: To ensure it lies flat you will likely need to cut the paper with kitchen shears.
  • In the largest bowl, whisk the first six ingredients together.
  • In the medium sized bowl, whisk the seven remaining ingredients together.
  • Add the dry mixture to the wet ensuring everything is incorporated and there are no lumps.
  • Pour batter 3/4 of the way full, into the greased baking pan. (There will be extra batter which you can pour into three individual sized bundt pans).
  • Bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour depending on your oven.
  • Once the cake is golden brown on top, you can check to see if it is ready by inserting a toothpick into the center. If no raw batter clings to the toothpick, the cake is ready.
  • Transfer cake to a rack and allow to cool for 30 minutes.
  • Run a knife gently around the edge and invert the cake onto a plate or platter. Allow to cool for 2 hours total.
  • Serve.
Keyword Barbecue Dessert Recipes, Best Summer Desserts, Cupcake, Dessert Bar, Easy Summer Dessert Recipes, Easy Summer Desserts, Olive Oil Cake, Potluck, Shortcake, Shortcake-Food

5 thoughts on “Olive Oil Cake”

  • I absolutely loved the combination of cardamom and lemon in this cake! I don’t think I’ve ever had anything that tastes as good as this olive oil cake.

  • This olive oil cake was so moist and delicious, such a great recipe! What I always appreciate about your posts are the back-stories. The stats on Alzheimer’s disease and dementia in the Black community were very eye-opening.

  • I loved the cardamom and lemon in this cake. And the texture is slightly different from other cakes I’ve made with butter. Definitely trying again!

Let me know how the recipes come out!