Try candied olives on olive oil cake

When you’ve got olives, why limit yourself to oil?

While most of the California table olive crop is processed at two major canners, some smaller operations grow and process their own table olives in addition to pressing oil.

For example, West Coast Products and Olinda Brand Olives & Olive Oil company grows 88 acres of olives in Corning, then processes its own olives in Orland, said company spokesperson Dianne Needham.

Unlike the California black olives, these specialty olives are treated like Greek-style olives – fermented without exposure to caustic chemicals such as lye. The company packs more than 1,000 tons of Sevillano table olives annually, Needham said.

“The olives are only fermented in natural brine for natural curing – no lye or any other chemicals,” Needham said.

Now is olive season and it looks like a flavorful crop. (For more on the California olive harvest and more recipes, click here.)

Olives’ sweet side is seen in this olive oil cake recipe from chef Ryan Jackson of School House Restaurant in Sager. He tops it with candied California green olives. Baked in individual sizes, these golden cakes make a pretty dessert sure to spur after-dinner conversation.

Olive oil cakes with local citrus, candied California green ripe olives and sea salt

Serves 8

Showing off olive’s sweeter side, this recipe comes courtesy chef Ryan Jackson of Sanger’s School House Restaurant and Tavern in California olive country. It makes 8 cupcake-size golden cakes, topped with candied olives.


For candied olives:

1 can California Green Ripe Olives

1 cup sugar

For olive oil cakes:

1 cup all-purpose flour

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1 1/4 cups sugar

4 eggs

1 tablespoon lemon zest

1/3 cup whole milk

1 cup and 1 tablespoon lemon extra virgin olive oil, divided


For candied olives: Drain olives and reserve brine; set aside. Slice olives and set on paper towels to wick away moisture.

In a sauce pot, bring the olive brine and sugar to a boil. Add sliced olives to mixture and turn off heat. Cool in the refrigerator and save for garnish.

For olive oil cakes: Preheat oven to 300 degrees. In a bowl, mix the flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside.

Using a stand mixer or a whisk, combine the sugar, eggs and lemon zest until the mixture is pale yellow and doubled in volume. Add the milk and 1 cup of lemon olive oil to the bowl and mix on low speed until combined. Add the flour mixture and mix until all flour is incorporated.

Use the remaining tablespoon of oil to prepare 8 (4-ounce) muffin tins. Fill with batter 3/4 full. Place the tins on a baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes. Turn oven down to 180 degrees and bake for another 15 minutes. Remove from oven, let cool for 10 minutes, then remove from tins.

Serve warm or at room temperature with vanilla ice cream, garnished with orange segments and candied olives. Sprinkle with coarse sea salt.