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Cornmeal Olive Oil Cake and Rosemary Pears

This cornmeal olive oil cake is the perfect cake for cornbread lovers. It is also the perfect cake for fall. So simple and rustic and perfect with poached rosemary pears.

Cornmeal Olive Oil Cake with Rosemary Pears
I’m not going to let another fall go by without giving you this olive oil cake recipe with cornmeal.

I’ve baked it several times now and each time it has received accolades. Most recently Zoe’s boyfriend informed me he really liked this simple cornmeal cake because it had no frosting and he is not a lover of frosted cakes. 

Frankly I’m not sure how he will fit in this family of frosting lovers, but at least he knows one good cake when he sees one.

This rustic olive oil cake made with olive oil and honey and lemon zest, for those who like lemon, is simply made in one bowl.

It is also a cake for lovers of cornbread and seriously who isn’t a lover of cornbread?

This luscious yellow cake stays moist for a long time and is simply love at first bite.

I served this yellow cake with rosemary pears. 

Rosemary pairs well with pears or apples or even persimmons and always screams fall to me.

This simple honey rosemary infused syrup is the perfect poaching liquid. 

You may also choose to roast your fruit and skip the rosemary if you prefer, but I do think the herb gives a subtle and luscious flavor. 

I’m always hopeful I’ll have some leftover pears and lucky for me I did, as they were spooned heartily over my morning yogurt.

Frankly it made my morning feel a bit more special.

Cornmeal Olive Oil Cake with Rosemary Pears

Life has been busy at our house lately. Zoe came home, we had our sip and see which I’ll share next week with some popular cheese and green chile quesadilla crisps.

We ventured to the botanic gardens and up to her boyfriend’s father’s brewery.

In case you get caught on I 70 near Georgetown during ski season and need a break from traffic, make sure to stop by and have a beer at Guanella Pass Brewery.

Steve has some good sips, with the saison being my favorite. And even if you don’t get stuck, this is a fun destination from Denver.

Being up in the mountains, even for just a short time always makes me feel like I’m on vacation!

This is a Fast Friday and I still have loads to do; however my guilty conscious overtook me and I knew I needed to get this post done.

My recipes are piling up and I need to start getting them out to you.

As soon as I finish this I’m off to pick up a painting we won at an online auction and I can’t wait to see it. I’ve never bid on anything before so this was a first!

Then it is a matter of trying to get the leaves out of my house and back into the yard where they belong.

I hate leaf season because the dogs track them in and they are the teeny tiny leaves that are so hard to pick up.

I’d have a much better time eating cake!

How to Make Cornmeal Olive Oil Cake Parfaits:

With just a little bit of cake, pears and whipped cream left over, I decided to make these cornmeal olive oil cake “parfait” jars.

In my mind it looks a bit more festive than just a slice of cake on a plate. Plus it also packs well.

Crumble up some cake, and build your layers with your favorite poached or roasted fruit and some whipped cream.

Pour a bit of the fruit liquid over the top and seal the jar for later.

These kept really well and it is always fun eating out of a jar.

Those silver spoons are meant for cocktails-they are actually straws- and my father bought them before I was born when he was stationed in El Paso during the Korean War.

They had belonged to my grandmother and now they are mine. I just love them and use them every chance I can get!

Now go eat cake!

A Few More to Devour:

Cornbread Blueberry Bread Pudding

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Magic Pumpkin Butter Layer Bars

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Potato Chip Crusted Candy Corn Layer Bars

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Cornmeal Olive Oil Cake with Rosemary Pears
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Cornmeal Olive Oil Cake and Rosemary Pears

5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star No reviews
  • Author: Abbe Odenwalder
  • Prep Time: 35 Minutes
  • Cook Time: 30 Minutes
  • Total Time: 65 Minutes
  • Yield: 6 Servings 1x
  • Category: Dessert
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: American


This cornmeal olive oil cake is the perfect cake for cornbread lovers. It is also the perfect cake for fall. So simple and rustic and perfect with poached rosemary pears.


  • 3/4 c flour
  • 1 t baking powder
  • 3/4 t salt
  • 1 c yellow cornmeal
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2/3 c milk
  • 1/2 c olive oil
  • 1 T finely grated lemon zest (optional)
  • 3/4 c sugar
  • 1/4 c honey
  • Chopped Pistachios for garnish or Glazed Pecans (optional)
  • Whipped Cream or Vanilla Ice Cream for Topping (optional)

Poached Pears

  • 3 semi-ripe pears, unpeeled and sliced or chopped into 1/2” pieces
  • 1/2 c sugar
  • 1/2 c water
  • 2 T honey
  • 1 T fresh lemon juice
  • 23 sprigs fresh rosemary


  1. Preheat oven to 350. Lightly grease and flour a 9″by 2″ round cake pan.
  2. In a large mixing cup, mix flour, baking powder, salt and cornmeal.
  3. In a large bowl using an electric mixer or fork, (I used a fork) beat eggs, egg yolk, milk, olive oil and lemon zest, if using. Beat until frothy and add dry ingredients and beat until all is incorporated. Pour into the prepared pan and bake for 30 minutes or until a toothpick comes out with few crumbs attached. The sides will also be a bit golden.
  4. Let cake cool in pan, on a rack. Remove from pan and cool. Serve with fruit and ice cream or whipped cream.

Poached Pears

  1. In a large saucepan combine sugar, water, honey and lemon juice. Bring to a simmer and simmer until the sugar is dissolved over medium heat. Add rosemary and pears and simmer until pears are tender and syrup has thickened. Remove from heat and let cool. Remove rosemary before serving.

Recipe rating 5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star


Monday 30th of October 2017

Wow, I love deserts like this, should get my self some jars like these , not a big frosting fan myself , would love to try this and see how it tastes esp the olive oil cake.

SavoringTime in the Kitchen

Monday 30th of October 2017

I have to admit, I'm with Zoe's boyfriend regarding frosting. I know I'd love this combination with the poached pears too and love the parfait idea. Wish we would have been able to stop in Georgetown when we stayed in Edwards last month! We did stop at the Blue Moon Bakery in Silverthorne to get a sandwich on the way up though. Great Turkey Avocado sandwich and bakery goodies ;)


Monday 30th of October 2017

Well YUM!!! Even though it's obviously a dessert, the olive oil cake and rosemary put it toward the savory as well. This is one of those treats that hits your sense of smell with a punch before you get a chance to taste it. Looks so good!

Gerlinde de Broekert

Sunday 29th of October 2017

Isn’t something how all the recipes pile up, I have the same problem. However, I am glad that you posted this one . It looks delicious and so cute on those glasses.

Karen (Back Road Journal)

Saturday 28th of October 2017

Yes to cornmeal cake, yes to rosemary pears and yes to the parfait...all delicious sounding.