Maple Glazed Olive Oil Pumpkin Cake

Winnie Abramson, ND

By Winnie Abramson, ND

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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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