Maple Glazed Olive Oil Pumpkin Cake

Olive oil. I use it for cooking all the time, and in the last couple of years, I’ve been baking with it, as well.

Before I tried it in this chocolate cake, however, I was afraid to use it in baked goods. I feared the olive oil would hijack the other flavors involved.

Now that I’ve been baking with it for a while, though, I find that a good olive oil enhances not just the flavor of some cakes, but the texture, too.

Now did you notice that I said “a good olive oil”? This is extremely important. Low quality olive oil with little flavor- or worse: rancid olive oil- won’t do anything positive for a recipe. I typically buy organic olive oil from California, but I also enjoy olive oils from Greece and Italy. So when the folks at Carapelli offered to send me a bottle of their Premium 100% Italian olive oil, I was happy to give it a try.

I was asked to do a taste test with my olive oil, and to report on my experience. An olive oil tasting is very much like a wine tasting: you are supposed to swirl, sniff, slurp, then swallow the oil. Now I am no olive oil tasting expert, but this oil looked, smelled, and tasted exactly like I wanted and expected it to. It’s got a nice green-tinged hue, the flavor is fruity and full-bodied, and there’s absolutely no bitter aftertaste; I really enjoyed it, and knew it would be perfect for both cooking and baking.

Now about this maple glazed pumpkin cake

Inspired by a beautiful Maple and Date Syrup Cake I saw in Donna Hay magazine last year, this pumpkin cake is incredibly moist and full of extremely delicious pumpkin flavor. It’s drizzled with a cooked-down maple syrup glaze…

…and it’s perfect as a sweet snack or dessert on a fall day. Since it’s not too heavy and does have some redeeming qualities health-wise (in addition to being made with olive oil and whole wheat pastry flour, it’s full of anti-oxidant rich pumpkin and is free of refined sweeteners), I’m ok with you having a sliver with breakfast, too.

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Recipe for Maple Glazed Pumpkin Cake with Olive Oil

Prep Time10 mins
Total Time1 hr 5 mins
Servings: 8 servings


  • *2 cups organic whole wheat pastry flour I used Bob's Red Mill brand
  • *1 cup raw cane sugar I like the Wholesome Sweeteners brand because it's Fair Trade certified or organic brown sugar
  • *1 teaspoon baking powder
  • *1 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • *3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • *1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • *1/2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • *15 oz./1 can organic pumpkin I used Farmer's Market brand, or use well-drained homemade pumpkin purée
  • *3 eggs preferably organic and free-range (I use eggs from my backyard chickens)
  • *2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
  • *1/4 cup olive oil I used Carapelli 100% Italian olive oil
  • *additional 1 cup pure maple syrup for the glaze


  • 1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.
  • 2. Oil the bottom and sides of an 8 inch springform pan (or use a similar sized square or round pan).
  • 3. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, sea salt, baking soda, cinnamon, and ginger.
  • 4. In a large bowl, mix pumpkin, eggs, olive oil, and maple syrup until well blended. Add the dry ingredients and mix just until thoroughly combined.
  • 5. Transfer the batter into prepared pan and bake for 50-55 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes before using a knife to loosen the sides of the pan, then removing it.
  • 6. While the cake is cooling, cook 1 cup maple syrup over heat for 7-8 minutes, or until it thickens/reduces slightly. Let it cool for a minute or so, the drizzle over the cake. Serve warm or at room temperature: the maple glaze will harden as it cools.

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55 thoughts on “Maple Glazed Olive Oil Pumpkin Cake”

  1. Have you ever used any substitute for the sugar in this. My doctor really wants my son to cut all sugar but he does allow for agave, stevia, and maple syrup. I am hesitant to make subs to sugar in baking since I don´t know what it will do to the texture but I would love to be able to have a healthy treat for my son every once in a while. The olive oil is great since the doc only allows olive oil on this diet.
    Also, how would the cake be without the glaze? Maple sugar is SUPER expensive here in Spain and I can´t imagine the cost of using a cup of it in one recipe. Wondering how it would be without it….. obviously not as heavenly but maybe still a nice treat?

    • Hi there, you can certainly use a different sweetener…the amount of liquid in the recipe would need to be adjusted. I think the cake would be just fine without the glaze. Good luck!

  2. OMG…I made the cake and it is almost done now! I am being tortured by the smell!! I tweeked your receipe and I hope you don’t mind! I doubled the ginger to one tsp, added 1/2 tsp more cinnamon, 1/4 tsp of clove and several swipes of fresh nutmeg on the zester. I also used the brown sugar. It smells like I would imagine heaven should smell, well at least my heaven!! Thank you for posting this wonderful receipe!

  3. My roommate and I made this cake today for a holiday potluck and it was a huge success! It had more of a pudding consistency than a cake, and we decided to all chai masala mix in instead of ground ginger, which was delicious. Thanks for the great recipe!

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  6. Just wandered on here looking for healthy pumpkin desserts! Looks delicious, may give it a try tonight! Just wondering, did you use the extra virgin Carapelli shown in the picture, or did you use a lighter version (like “regular or extra light”)


  7. MMMMMMMMMMM,…that special cake looks so irresistable & apart too!
    I also love Carapelli extra virgin olive oil, with its peppery taste!

    A divine cake!

  8. This looks delicious. Unfortunately, my family can’t eat wheat. Any chance you’ve made a Gluten-Free version of this cake? I would love any advice you have on trying to make this GF. BTW, we LOVE your chocolate olive oil pound cake made with olive oil. I’ve made it for guests many times.

  9. Great minds think alike! I was behind on blog reading and hadn’t even seen your post… And I just posted an olive oil post with pumpkin pancakes today!

    Love the look of this cake (and your photos are stunning!), and it was fun to read your take on the olive oil. :)

  10. Oh my…I am going to put aside what I”m doing and head to the kitchen! I can’t resist pumpkin in any form, and this is a gorgeous form!

  11. That syrup drizzling over the cake is a wonderful shot. The cake does look super moist and I know I’d be having more than a sliver, for dessert, breakfast or anytime!

  12. Wow! I just made pumpkin muffins last night and yet I am still seriously considering making this cake next week. I really can’t get enough of pumpkin and I love using olive oil in sweet things. Plus I bet the maple glaze really sends this over the top!

  13. This looks delicious. I usually use grapeseed oil in cakes, but think I might try (good!) olive oil next. It’s funny, in Australia we don’t seem to really use pumpkin in anything sweet: you rarely see a pumpkin cake or pie. Yet you’ve inspired me to try out a pumpkin cake, gluten-free.

    I just learnt of your blog through the Kitchen Generation, and look forward to reading further :)


  14. We only use Carapelli and I love olive oil in cakes. Now add to that pumpkin and maple and it is perfection. What a dense, moist, gorgeous autumn cake, Winnie. I love it. It is now on my list…

  15. This looks awesome! I have only made one cake with olive oil…I need to try make one again. I love the idea of adding pumpkin…yum!

    • I did the maple syrup in my smallest pot, a steel one. It hardens up really fast once it’s reduced, so don’t leave it in the pot for long or it’s a real pain to clean ;)

  16. This looks really delicious! I love pumpkin cakes and this sounds like a really healthy alternative. I generally don’t bake with the best quality olive oil–unless I want the taste to be super noticeable. I reserve the best for salad dressings! :)

    Thanks for the recipe! Definitely will be back.

    • I agree about not baking with the best quality olive oil…I just don’t want anyone cooking with a low quality one because I think the taste will suffer :)

  17. That looks really moist! And healthy. My type of cake. :)

    I always bake with extra-virgin olive oil and it just occurred to me after reading this post that perhaps my desserts don’t taste olivey because I’m not using a high quality olive oil. But I’m happy that things don’t come out tasting like olive oil, so I guess it’s okay. This is my first visit here. It’s lovely!

    • Well I didn’t really think this cake tasted olivey…mostly it tastes of pumpkin, which is what I was going for. Hope you come back and visit again!

  18. Oh my God, Winnie! This looks absolutely amazing. The photographs are beautiful, really just beautiful and the cake is something I am going to have to make. Like now. I made my first cake with olive oil a couple weeks ago that was an apple honey cake and it was beautifully moist. I can’t wait to try yours!

  19. Winnie! This looks incredible. So moist and dense. Rich and flavorful. And I haven’t even tasted it yet!
    I really like the idea of reduced maple syrup to make a glaze. really clever. i’ll have to borrow that idea.

  20. This looks amazing. Carapelli also has an Extra Light tasting variety olive oil, that has only a very, very light flavor of olive – so it is perfect for baking as well, and also a healthier substitue for butter. Just a tip!

  21. I love dipping fresh bread in good olive oil. tastes so good.
    I kept reading lately about Californian Olive oil, gotta look for some and do some test tasting.
    The cake looks great Winnie. Love adding some olive oil to baked goods, keeps them moist longer. (if they last that long)

  22. Oh no! I think my last comment didn’t post This looks so very good, my friend. Your photography and writing skills always amaze me. I’m so wishing I had a slice of this cake right now. I would be in pumpkin heaven. Thank you for sharing!

  23. You are an amazing photographer and writer, my friend. I’m always struck when I visit here. This is by far the most delicious post I’ve read. What a lovely recipe…I’m wishing I had some cake right now. I hope you have a beautiful weekend, my friend. Blessings and joy from Austin.

  24. They look so pretty, and yummy! Wish I could come over and taste one ;) . And just so you’ll pity me – I’ve never tasted Pumpkin Cake. We don’t have ‘em where I live.

  25. Great recipe! I just started exploring with olive oil in baking as well and honestly, I can’t get enough. I love the earthiness it adds to baking and since you get that super satisfying, fatty, olive taste I find the sweetness can take a backseat (i.e. I use even less sugar than I would normally).

    Woo! Can’t wait for more olive oil ideas! Thank you =)