Dessert, Snack, Appetizer, Gluten Free, Dairy Free

Olive Oil Cornmeal Cake

I offer you this golden cake as a palette for displaying salads and bright greens all Summer long. Who said croutons had to be on top? Darlings, trust me–serve your salad over a crisp-edged cake and you’ll never have leftovers. 

I made this treat as an accompaniment to my Apple/Radish Salad for the Zokos/Cookstr Food Revolution potluck a few weeks ago. It’s breathlessly simple; I don’t even bother putting it in a baking dish (although you certainly can). Heat up a skillet with a touch of olive oil while your oven is preheating, and when the batter has been prepared, pour it into the hot pan. 

Now remember, when you pull this out of the oven by the long skillet handle, you MUST wear an oven mitt. That damned handle will be searingly hot and it will stay that way for a bit. So, once out of the oven, do me a favor and just put your oven mitt on the handle of your skillet. A warning, a reminder to be careful while you whittle away at the still hot cake with a teaspoon and the appetite of a monster. 

I love the interplay of sweet and savory here. Apple and rosemary provide a fragrant counterpoint, the crunch of the cornmeal gives you something to chew, this cake is extra-sensory. Other fruit/herb combinations that are utterly charming? Orange and tarragon, berries and basil, you’d have to work hard to find a coupling that doesn’t work. 

The last gem in this cake is the fat. Forget using a flavorless vegetable oil, have some nuts and bake with olive oil. It’s got scent and weight and elevates a cake to heady heights. The fruity notes coat each grain of cornmeal and result in the golden-most cake you’ve ever birthed from an oven. Darlings, need I say any more? Get baking. 

Happy Memorial Day!


  • 1 Golden Delicious Apple, peeled, cored, and cubed
  • 2 sprigs Rosemary (~2 tablespoons)
  • 50 grams Palm Sugar (one small puck or ~¼ cup)
  • 2 tablespoons Olive Oil
  • 150 grams Cornmeal (~1 cup)
  • 40 grams Brown Rice Flour (~¼ cup)
  • 30 grams Tapioca Starch (~¼ cup)
  • 2 teaspoons Baking Powder
  • 1 teaspoon Salt
  • 30 grams Palm Sugar (~3 tablespoons)
  • 3 Eggs
  • 1 cup Olive Oil


  1. In a large saute pan, heat the apple, rosemary and 50 grams palm sugar over low heat. Stir occasionally and cook until the apple cubes are tender, about 15 minutes. No need to turn everything to mush, just let the sugar melt in the softening apples. When they are ready, take them off the heat and set aside.
  2. While the apples are cooking, preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Pour the 2 tablespoons olive oil into a 10-inch skillet and slide it into your oven to heat as well.
  3. In a medium bowl whisk together the cornmeal, brown rice flour, tapioca starch, baking powder and salt.
  4. In a separate, larger, bowl, whisk the 30 grams palm sugar with the eggs until lightened in color and slightly thickened. Pour in the olive oil as you continue to whisk.
  5. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and stir to combine. Fold in the cooked apple/rosemary mixture.
  6. Pull the heated skillet out of your oven and pour in the batter, if it sizzles a bit you’ve done well. The bottom will be crispy!
  7. Bake the cake for 30 minutes, or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean.
  8. Let the cake cool slightly before serving. Or just eat it from the skillet.