Tag Archives: Greek cake

Olive Oil Cake at the Greek Table

The 2018 Saint Demetrios  Greek Festival is upon us and I couldn’t be more excited.  I am one of the thousands who love this church’s festival because of it’s authenticity…baked goods and Greek dishes prepared from old family recipes which over the years have been converted to feed the hordes of festival goers.  Whether in Crete, the mainland or the islands, these festival dishes are the foods you find in the Greek home.  The Greek table is a marvel regardless of lean times or times of ease and plenty.  Every time I’ve been to Greece, I’ve discovered new foods or a completely new spin on an old dish.  Of course, we all know feta cheese; briny and tangy sitting atop a Greek salad wearing a green and gold crown of locally grown oregano or still salty but now creamy tucked between several buttery sheets of shatteringly crisp filo dough married with spinach and sliced spring onion having been baked to perfection.  How surprised I was when I was introduced to a typical appetizer, Feta Psiti, which is baked feta cheese topped with a good shower of hot pepper flakes and local oregano then doused with a liberal splash of fruity Greek olive oil!  I had never had anything like that here in the States.  My husband’s Greek family looked on with amusement as I dove in with abandon scooping up the melted cheese with torn off chunks of hot, crunchy bread.  At another family gathering around the table, I thought I had found my new favorite food when my husband’s cousin served me Koukia, a gorgeous, creamy dish made from yellow split peas which have cooked down to a smooth, firm dip.  Considered a salad, this dish is topped with Greek olive oil, chopped red onion, and a good dusting of oregano and I’m more than happy to call this dinner.  My husband’s cousin was thrilled to have presented me with this humble yet unexpected treasure.  The Greek table is like that.  Always gathering one in, never shutting one out.  “Come!  Have coffee at my house and we’ll talk.  I baked a cake”,  is heard so often all through Greece.  When you hear that, you ought to take them up on the offer for Greek coffee and baked goods are beyond delicious and the Greek table is where you’ll hear all the good village gossip.  The following Greek olive oil cake is a recipe found throughout the country of Greece.  Each recipe is slightly different…some add Greek yoghurt, liquors, orange or lemon but all are lovely and will bring you to the Greek table.

Dense, moist and velvety, this cake is an unlikely wonder touched with tones of orange, lemon, almond, and of course, green, fruity olive oil.  Olive oil cake is a classic throughout Greece and once you have a taste you’ll know why.  Somehow it works…all the flavors sing in perfect harmony.  It’s a rather substantial cake so don’t be alarmed at the large amount of olive oil called for nor the fact that the batter will be rather runny.  It will be gorgeous.  And it’s a great do-ahead as the flavor improves the following day.  Kali orexi!


Greek Olive Oil Cake

  • Servings: 12-14
  • Difficulty: easy
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  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3 large eggs
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups extra virgin Greek olive oil, Trader Joe’s makes a decent one
  • 1 1/4 cups milk, I’ve used almond milk and the cake turned out fabulous
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup orange liquor
  • 2 teaspoons lemon zest
  • 2 teaspoons orange zest
  • 3/4 cup finely, finely chopped sliced almonds.  I use a mini-processor and pulse the nuts until they are small bits.


  • 1 cup confectioner’s sugar
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin Greek olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • zest of one lemon
  • zest of one lime
  1. Pre-heat oven to 350°.  Butter an 11-inch cake pan and set aside.
  2. Into a medium-sized bowl sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.  Set aside.
  3. In a large bowl mix well the eggs, sugar, olive oil, milk, lemon juice, liquor, lemon and orange zest and almond bits.  Mix well until there are no lumps of sugar and the olive oil is completely incorporated.
  4. Mix the dry mixture into the wet mixture until well blended, pour  into the prepared pan and bake for 50 minutes.
  5. Allow to cool on a cooling rack.
  6. Run a knife around the edge of the cake and invert onto a plate.
  7. Allow to cool completely prior to icing the cake.  If the cake is to be served the following day, prepare and drizzle the glaze right before serving.


  1. Combine all ingredients except the lemon and lime zest in a small bowl and whisk until smooth
  2. Drizzle glaze over the cooled cake.
  3. Sprinkle with lemon and lime zest and serve.





Sweet Poached Blood Oranges over Greek Yoghurt Cake

IMG_8922 Blood oranges.  Succulent, fleshy and juicy blood oranges are such an indulgence that when I saw them I knew in my heart of hearts I had to take them home.  I was at the market Dad and I go to every Saturday morning when I saw them on display front and center.  Although we’re in Florida, blood oranges are not easily found.  Grocery stores never carry them and even farmer’s markets are not wont to make them readily available.  So when I stumbled upon them I doubled bagged and loaded up.  I would figure out what I wanted to do with them later.  Back at the house I let my wander on the different dishes I’d had that included citrus.  Topping the list were two; sweet, poached blood oranges over a Greek cake with yoghurt and homemade rice pudding with nuggets of the fruit in a glossy syrup of blood orange juice.  First I went for the cake.  I have a basic cake recipe that I use often from Susanna Hoffman’s cookbook “The Olive and Caper” which is perfect for showcasing citrus.  It is a simple, dense and satisfying cake which can easily be served by itself in wedges, eaten out of hand and always delights those who share it.  Or it can be topped with fruits, syrup or icing.  Either way it’s a great workhorse in your stable of desserts.  It is one of those cakes which is better the following day.  Later I decided to also candy some smaller pieces of oranges in lots of glistening syrup, make some individual Greek rice puddings and share them with my Greek school classmates.  Next week is our last class of the year and we always bring treats to celebrate the upcoming summer break.  So let’s get to it! IMG_8951

Sweet Poached Blood Oranges over Greek Yoghurt Cake

  • Servings: 12-16
  • Difficulty: easy
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Sweet Poached Blood Oranges

  • 2 blood or navel oranges, cut into 1/8″ slices, discard end pieces
  • 1 lemon, cut into 1/8″ slices, discard end pieces
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 cup cool water


  1. Over medium heat put sugar and water in a medium pot.  Stir until the sugar just dissolves then do NOT stir again or the syrup will form crystals and not turn out right.
  2. Gently slide in orange and lemon slices and softly press down so the fruit is completely covered by the syrup.  If the fruit keeps floating back to the top place a small, heat-proof plate on top as a weight.
  3. Simmer softly for 20 minutes of until the edges of the fruit are becoming translucent.
  4. With a slotted spoon remove fruit and place on a tray lined with parchment paper to cool.  Discard cinnamon stick and set syrup aside to use later.
  5. Line 10″ cake pan with parchment paper making certain to line the entire pan including sides.  Very important so the cake comes out of the pan clean.
  6. Arrange the fruit slices on the parchment paper in the pan slightly overlapping until the entire bottom of the pan is covered.  Remember, this is going to be the top of your cake so make it as pretty as you like.
  7. Set aside until cake batter is ready.

Yoghurt Cake

  • 8 tablespoons butter (1 stick), room temperature
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 4 large eggs, separated
  • 1 cup plain Greek yoghurt
  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest
  • 1 3/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • pinch of salt


  1. Preheat oven of 350°F.
  2. Combine the butter and sugar in a large bowl and beat with an electric mixer until creamy.
  3. Beat in the egg yolks all at once, then the yoghurt and zest.
  4. In another bowl, mix the flour, baking powder and salt together, then sift them into the bowl with yoghurt mixture.  Beat to mix well.
  5. In a separate bowl, beat the egg whites until stiff peaks form.
  6. Whisk half the whites into the batter mixture, then gently fold in the remaining whites.
  7. Pour the batter into the prepared cake pan and bake until a tester inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean and the edges of the cake are pulling away from the edges of the pan, about 45 minutes.  Transfer the pan to a wire rack to cool.
  8. When the cake is cool, place your serving platter over the cake, invert and unmold it.  Gently peel off parchment paper.
  9. Brush or spoon fruit syrup over orange slices.  If you wish, reserve a bit of syrup to drizzle over individual slices or whipped cream when serving.
  10. Set aside for at least one hour before serving.
  11. The cake will keep for several days, covered and stored at room temperature.