Black Olive Cake with Muscat of Patras

Black Olive Cake-2Hermes Muscat

I was recently in Istanbul, Turkey when I received my Oldway’s Fresh Fridays newsletter focusing on spices! How timely since I was about to visit the spice market in the Sultanahmet district. When I returned home I hosted a gathering of friends to share stories from my trip and I thought Oldway’s black olive cake recipe would be a perfect fit for my evening offerings.  I am not one for overly sweet desserts so this recipe met many criteria; namely that it included many ingredients that are popular in Turkey and the mediterranean and brought back great memories of my trip.

This cake can be made in a 1.5 quart bread loaf or the 9” cake pan as indicated in the recipe. I actually enjoyed this as a bread and thought it fit that mold better than a cake. Either way, its delicious. You can serve this guilt free cake for dessert or with coffee in the morning. It has several aromatic ingredients, which is a testament to how to bake with less sugar and fat without sacrificing on taste or enjoyment. Pair the cake with this Greek Muscat and you will see how a well chosen wine can add to the pleasure of any dish.


2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons ground cardamom
1 teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3 eggs
½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 cup plain Greek yogurt
3 tablespoons pomegranate molasses
1 ½ cups or 1 can (6 ounces) pitted black olives, chopped
Grated zest and juice from 1 orange
½ cup currants
1 cup crystallized ginger, diced
2 tablespoons fennel seeds
1 ½ cups confectioners sugar (for glaze)


Heat the oven to 350°F. Grease a round 9-inch cake pan, and cover with a circle of parchment paper, and grease the paper.

Combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cardamom, cinnamon, and cloves in a bowl and blend with a whisk. Set aside. In a mixing bowl combine the eggs, olive oil, yogurt, and 2 tablespoons of the pomegranate molasses and whisk until smooth. Stir in the dry ingredients. Fold in the olives, orange zest, currants, ginger, and fennel seeds. Stir until smooth.

Spoon the batter into the cake pan and bake for 35 to 40 minutes, or until the cake is lightly browned and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Transfer the cake to a rack to cool.

When the cake has cooled slightly, but is still warm, run a knife around the edges. Put a flat plate on top of the cake, flip it onto the plate, then cover the cake with a serving plate and flip it again.

Combine 2 tablespoons of the orange juice and the remaining 1 tablespoon of pomegranate molasses in a small saucepan, and bring just to a simmer. Add the sugar and cook for about 1 minute, whisking to form a smooth glaze. Pour the glaze over the cake and serve warm, or let cool.

Wine Pairing — Hermes Muscat of Patras:

I suspect you have never heard of Muscat of Patras let alone the Greek wine region of Peloponnese. Well, consider yourself informed. I selected this wine for a couple of reasons. First because the region is in the same area as the cake’s ingredients and second because it expresses similar characteristics as the olive cake recipe such as orange peel, apricot and honey.  Since the black olive cake does not contain any sugar I knew this Muscat would be the perfect accompaniment to this spice-driven and aromatic dessert.

Muscat of Patras simply means that the Muscat grapes from this part of Greece were grown in Patras, in the northwestern part of Peloponnese. Muscat is one of the oldest grapes on the planet and is grown in most old world wine regions. It is planted and harvested to make sweet or sparkling dessert wines as is the case in Northern Italy with Moscato.

This particular Muscat is well-balanced with heady floral characteristics coupled with a toasted honey finish. This is a wine that can be enjoyed by itself for dessert or paired with this flavorful cake. It is priced exceptionally low at around $11.00 or $12.00 a bottle. I found mine at Total Wine in the Washington, DC region.

Posted in Recipe & Wine Pairing, Wine Pairing.