Get your copies now through
Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Powell's or Indiebound.

Olive Oil Cake with Fennel Pollen

fennel pollen cake

Photo by Hank Shaw

I like dessert as much as the next person, but I am not overly fond of super-sweet desserts. This olive oil cake fits the bill. I adapted the recipe from Mario Batali’s The Babbo Cookbook, and his version uses rosemary instead of fennel pollen. I happen to be in love with fennel pollen as an ingredient — it is a warmer, softer anise flavor very different from regular fennel seeds. If you can’t find fennel pollen, although you can buy it online, you can substitute fennel seeds ground to a powder. It’s different, but almost as good.

Try to eat this cake the day you make it, as I’ve found it does not keep well. Maybe for breakfast the following morning, but not much longer than that.

Serves 4-6

  • 4 eggs
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2/3 cupquality olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon fennel pollen or fennel seeds ground to a powder
  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt


  1. Preheat your overn to 325 degrees.
  2. Butter a 10-inch loaf pan and set aside.
  3. Beat the eggs in a stand mixer if you have one, in a large bowl if you don’t, for about 30 seconds. Add the sugar and continue to beat until the mixture is frothy.
  4. Beating all the while — keep the mixer on if using — drizzle in the olive oil slowly.
  5. Turn the mixer off and gently fold in the fennel pollen.
  6. In another bowl, whisk together the flour, salt and baking powder.
  7. Stir the flour mixture into the egg-oil mixture just until it is combined. Don’t overmix, or the cake will be dry and tough.
  8. Pour into the loaf pan and bake 45 minutes, or until a knife blade stuck into its center comes out clean.
  9. Let the cake cool a bit before popping it out of your loaf pan. Eat warm or at room temperature.

More Recipes for Sweets and Syrups

Buy Fennel Pollen Online:

Print Friendly

2 responses to “Olive Oil Cake with Fennel Pollen”

  1. Fennel Friday 8/30 | Fennel Friday

    […] Ginger Sesame Dressing from Noble Pig Fig and Almond Bread Stuffing with Fennel from Noble Pig  Olive Oil Cake with Fennel Pollen from Honest Food  Goat Cheese Ravioli with Orange and Fennel from Food and Wine Fig Jam with […]

  2. Lisa Boesen

    This cake looks divine. I harvested my own bulbless fennel pollen this year as well. I visited California this year and was amazed at how much wild fennel is growing! We found a damaged branch on the side of the road so I did the only reasonable thing to do and that was cut the fennel heads and bring them back to Texas. They dried beautifully! Thanks for the recipe!

Leave a Reply