Eating & drinkingLocal

Local larder: Apple and Olive Oil Cake

This is the third recipe in our series of quarantine cooking recipes – flexible dishes where you can add, subtract and adapt almost any of the ingredients you buy locally – from Tamsin Robinson.

We are indulging in our sweet tooth this week with a recipe for an apple olive oil cake by our new contributor, Tamsin Robinson. She is a local pastry chef, a graduate of Le Cordon Bleu, co-founder of Pandan Bakery and hopes to open a new cafe soon.

When she is not baking birthday cakes, you can find her shopping for ingredients at Best Food Centre, or hanging out at Zealand Bar. 

Robinson’s moist, olive oil apple cake makes for an ideal tea-time treat. Out of apples? You can also swap the apples for oranges.


175g flour (I use 100g plain flour and 75g buckwheat)
80g golden caster sugar 
45g ground almonds, toasted
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda 
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp baking powder
Pinch of salt
3 freshly grated apples (e.g. pink lady apples)
1 tsp vanilla extract (optional)
70ml olive oil (any) 
20ml water
1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
A handful of flaked almonds (optional, for decoration)


  • The 175g of flour can swapped and mixed with different types. This recipe uses plain and buckwheat for the added flavour but you can just plain flour or self-raising flour. (Note: you don’t need baking powder if using self-raising.)
  • If you do not have buckwheat but want a nuttier flavour, you can use 75g wholemeal flour instead.
  • Golden caster sugar can be exchanged for regular caster sugar or brown sugar. Try to steer clear of granulated or demerara sugar though, as they are a bit too coarse.  
  • If you do not have any ground almonds, you can replace these with 45g more flour.
  • To help the cake rise, the bicarbonate of soda needs to react with any vinegar. This recipe calls for apple cider vinegar as it seems more fitting for a cake, but red wine or white wine vinegar would work just as well. 
  • This recipe uses cinnamon, but you can add whatever spice you have/like, or leave it out altogether. Ginger, cardamom, ground cloves would all work well. 
  • You can add a couple of handful sultanas to the cake for extra sweetness too. 
  • No apples? No worries. Any citrusy fruit will do. There are many Italian variations of this cake, with apple, lemon, orange….and this one can be made with orange too. Replace the apples and 20ml water with 250ml fresh orange juice, grated zest of 2 oranges and 70g more sugar. Bake the orange cake at 170°C for 30mins – 35mins. 


Preheat the oven to 165°C. Grease a deep 8” cake tin. If you only have a shallow sandwich tin, you can line the sides with tall strips of baking parchment which will lengthen the sides. 

In a dry pan, toast the ground almonds until they turn a golden brown. Watch them carefully and keep stirring/tossing as they can burn easily! Once toasted, set aside to cool. 

Sift flour, bicarbonate of soda, baking powder, cinnamon and salt together in a big bowl. Add the sugar and ground almonds.   

Separately, mix together the vanilla, apple cider vinegar, water and olive oil.

Mix in all the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients, along with the grated apples and give it a good stir. It should be quite a thick mixture.

Pour into the prepared tin and sprinkle generously with flaked almonds.

Bake at 165°C for 40mins – 45 mins until golden.

Once cooked, leave to cool in the tin for five minutes before turning out to cool completely on a wire rack. 

Sift over some icing sugar to serve, if you wish. 

Originally working in finance, Tamsin Robinson enrolled in Le Cordon Bleu to re-train as a pastry chef. Having now graduated with her patisserie diploma, she is looking to open her own baking business soon.

If you liked this recipe, you might also like our other recipes in our Quarantine Cooking series: Macaroni cheese, and potato and chicory salad.

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