Hearty Apple Olive Oil Cake

This hearty apple cake/crumble is made with olive oil, fresh apples and topped with a crunchy crumble.

Healthy Apple olive oil cake

I love anything with apples. They are so versatile, and I think apple pie is probably on the top of the best dessert list for most of us, but it is a bit time consuming and all that crust does add up the calories. Having said that, I do enjoy a traditional apple pie here and there, but for a lighter dessert I usually will go to apple cake. For this recipe I have combined the best of both worlds: an apple cake made with very little batter (it is mostly apples) and then I added a  crumble on top to get that crunch we all crave. It was delicious and gone by the end of the day. It’s a great alternative to apple pie and so easy to make! I use olive oil of course and it pairs very well with fruit plus you get all those good fats and antioxidants.

Making an Olive Oil Apple Cake

I start with the crumble topping; you want  to make sure it is grainy and that all breadcrumbs are wet. See below:

For the  apples, I partially peel them, kind of in stripes, that way I keep some fiber and nutrients from the peel.

And I slice them thin. To get good slices, cut the apple in half and remove the core, then place the cut side of the apple flat on your cutting board, that will provide an even surface. I also add a few drops of lemon on the apple, so it won’t brown.

Sliced apples olive oil apple cake

Once you add the apples to the batter, they won’t be drowning in it. There is just enough batter to hold the apples together. It should look something like this:

Remember to bake the cake enough. It should be brown in parts and pull away from the pan. Let  the cake cool completely so that you can cut it without it falling apart. I enjoyed it with some Greek yogurt.

Hearty Apple Olive Oil Cake

Healthy Apple olive oil cake
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour
Cooling Time: 30 minutes
A hearty apple cake/crumble made with olive oil and fresh apples
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American, Mediterranean
Keyword: Apple, Cake, Crumble
Servings: 6 slices
Author: Elena Paravantes
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For the Crumble Topping

For the Cake

  • 1 tsp flour for coating the pan
  • ½ cup (55 gm) whole wheat flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp ground cinnamon
  • ¼ cup (60 ml) olive oil
  • ½ cup (100 gm) sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • ½ (120 ml) cup milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 3 apples partially peeled and thinly sliced


  • Preheat oven to 350 F (175 C)
  • Grease a 9-inch (22 cm) pan with a bit of olive oil and sprinkle bit of flour.
  • Make the crumble: In a small bowl place the breadcrumbs and sugar and add olive oil gradually (do not add all of it at once) while pressing the mixture with a fork, until you have a crumbly texture and all the breadcrumbs are wet. Set aside.
  • In a medium bowl mix the dry ingredients (flour, baking powder and cinnamon) and set aside.
  • In a larger bowl, mix the olive oil with the sugar until smooth and then add the eggs one by one, vanilla and milk. Mix well. I used a whisk and mixed by hand.
  • Add the flour mixture to the wet mixture gradually mixing until combined.
  • Add the sliced apples and toss until they are coated with the batter and set aside.
  • Empty the mixture in the prepared pan and bake for 45 minutes. Remove from oven and sprinkle over the cake the crumble, bake for another 10-15 minutes until crumble is golden.
  • Cool for at least 30 minutes. Slice and serve as is or with a dollop of Greek yogurt.
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Photos by Elena Paravantes All Rights Reserved

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Recipe Rating


  1. Mary Wood says:

    This is a really light and tasty recipe … I really enjoyed it … thank uou Elena.5 stars

  2. Mary Wood says:

    This was a really nice light crumble … I really enjoyed it. Thank you.5 stars

  3. Hi, did you use dried or fresh breadcrumbs? If dried, are usual breadcrumbs or Pablo better?

    1. I meant Panko, not Pablo! (Auto correct)

  4. Fantastic, easy, ultradelicious. I mixed chopped walnuts with the breadcrumbs for a great topping. I loved it because it was more apple than cake and not too sweet. Will be making it again even though I am not a big dessert fan.5 stars

  5. This looks super yummy! I was going to make myself an apple crisp for Christmas but I think I’ll try this instead 🙂5 stars

  6. Such a beautifully delicious apple recipe! Next time though I will chop the apples a little bit more… or use a sharper knife to cut a piece… LOL… The only thing weird was getting it out of the pan… I managed but it was iffy for a bit…Excellent recipe… Thanks for sharing5 stars

  7. I made this for thanksgiving and it was great! It was easy and not too sweet. I wouldn’t change a thing.5 stars

  8. I made this with my mom. It’s excellent, and the first cake I’ve had in a couple years (as I had quite a lot of weight to lose). My mom thinks there may be too much baking powder, as she says she can taste it, but she also likes very sweet things. Thanks again!5 stars

  9. Are the nutritional values listed somewhere? My husband is fanatical about checking nutrition labels.

    1. Hi Audrey, We generally avoid focusing on calories and rather place more attention on the quality of food in line with the traditional Mediterranean diet. The calories are 280 for 1/6 of the cake, 1.9 gm saturated fat and 3.5 gm fiber.

  10. christi lavoy says:

    looks great, can i use panko crumbs?

  11. Thats a lot of refined sugar. Which i thought the Mediterranean healthy way of eating doesn’t use. Can honey be substituted? How about oats for the topping?

    1. Hi Diane, It is a misconception that sugar was not part of the Mediterranean diet. As I have noted in past posts and a recent newsletter sugar was a luxury but was used during holidays.
      Sugar was used to make desserts for special occasions (not every day). The concept of dessert did not exist in the traditional Mediterranean diet. A sweet was a special occasion food you ate separately, not something you ate after dinner. That is how I have always recommended consuming sweets. So if you are consuming sweets once a while, the type of sugar is not going to affect your health in the long run. As for honey, it is still a sugar, it does contain antioxidants but you would have to consume quite a large amount to get a significant amount. Having said that, honey has a slightly lower glycemic index, depending in variety.

      1. This was amazing! Easy to make, and super delicious. I used panko (because i did not have bread crumbs). QUESTION: Can you use rolled oats?5 stars

      2. This was amazing! Easy to make, and super delicious. I used panko (because i did not have bread crumbs). QUESTION: Can you use rolled oats?)5 stars

      3. Thank you Monica! Yes, I think it could work with oats, but I have not tried it, not sure how it would mix/melt with the olive oil

      4. Thank you for that explanation about the sugar. It really helped to dispell my fear around this ingredient. I don’t consume sugar on a regular basis, only for holidays and a treat on special occasions, so that was validating as well. You had a link to a sugar in your post, but it doesn’t seem to be working now. Do you have a particular sugar you recommend?

        Thank you, Elena! I’m looking forward to trying this recipe around the holidays after my apple picking trip!