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Olive-Oil Cake with Honey-Roasted Rhubarb

By , from the Jim Dixon collection


I adapted this cake recipe from Tenuta di Capezzana, the Tuscan olive-oil producer. It’s easy and incredibly delicious. The rhubarb, however, was my own invention. I started just roasting it with olive oil, then sprinkling it with sugar to eat, but the honey works much better. I also like how the rhubarb holds its shape, instead of breaking down like it does when you stew it. We ate a lot of rhubarb growing up, and it’s one of my favorite things, but I’m adamant about never mixing it with strawberries.



3 eggs
cups sugar (see Note)
cups extra-virgin olive oil (see Note)
cups milk (see Note)
~ Grated zest of 2 to 3 oranges or lemons
2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking powder
~ Large pinch of salt

Rhubarb topping

6 stalks (about 2 pounds) rhubarb
2 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
⅓ to ½ cup honey


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour a 12-inch cake pan (I usually make this in a 12-inch cast-iron skillet).
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs and granulated sugar. Add the olive oil, milk, and citrus zest.
  3. In another bowl, stir together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Make a well in the dry ingredients and slowly add the egg mixture, stirring just until blended. Do not overmix. Pour the batter into the prepared pan.
  4. Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, 50 to 55 minutes. I let the cake cool in the skillet and serve it directly from the pan, but you could let it cool completely, loosen the sides with a knife, and invert onto a serving plate (hold the plate against the cake pan and flip; hopefully it will come out in one piece).
  5. While the cake is baking, slice a half-dozen or so rhubarb stalks into half-inch pieces. Toss them with a few tablespoons of olive oil, then arrange on a sheet pan and drizzle with about ½ cup honey. Roast at 350 degrees for about 20 minutes. Let cool and spoon over slices of olive-oil cake.


Culinate editor’s notes: This recipe makes a very sweet, very moist cake. You can cut down the sugar to 1 1/2 cups and still have a perfectly sweet cake; likewise, if you cut back on the liquid ingredients (just 1 cup each of olive oil and milk), you’ll get a lighter, fluffier cake. Buttermilk is delicious as a substitute for the milk.

This content is from the Jim Dixon collection.

There are 7 comments on this item
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Average Rating 5
14% recommend this recipe
1. by Liz Crain on May 20, 2009 at 12:33 PM PDT

This sounds delicious -- looking forward to making it soon.

2. by Karen Beadling on May 21, 2009 at 7:50 AM PDT

I love to hear from a fellow rhubarb lover--especially one who refuses to dilute his love with strawberries. I will definitely try what sounds like an intriguing recipe.

3. by Lara Adler on May 26, 2009 at 1:34 PM PDT

This sounds & looks amazing! I’ll be making this very soon!!

4. by Lee on May 28, 2009 at 11:35 AM PDT

Made this using 1/2 c. less sugar in the cake part.
It was delicious. Also good with whipped cream over the rhubarb.

5. by rtysons on May 28, 2009 at 5:02 PM PDT

I am also a rhubarb with NO strawberries kind of person (as is the whole family!). Dad’s birthday dessert is always rhubarb pie, assuming someone has remembered to freeze some the previous summer or we can find it. If I ever put a strawberry in in, I’d prob. be disowned!

6. by jdixon on Jun 3, 2009 at 8:17 AM PDT

Warning: Shameless self-promotion ahead

I’m eating a lot of the roasted rhubarb right now, mostly with yogurt, and I made the most recent batch using the Katz Meyer Lemon Olive Oil I sell. The citrusy tang made it even more delicious.


7. by Maria Stuart on Jun 28, 2009 at 6:12 PM PDT
Rating: five

I think this is the best cake I have ever made! It was the prefect texture and density, moist and rich without being cloying. Thank you! I am also interested in trying the rhubarb compote, as it sounds very intriguing. However last night I served this with Oregon berries and whipped cream. Perfect.

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