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Olive Oil Fruitcake

Frankie Celenza

This moist, olive oil-based fruitcake falls somewhere between a bread and a cake and definitely doesn't suck.

Olive Oil Fruit Cake

serving time6 to 12


  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar

  • 3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

  • 3 tablespoons Campari (or rum)

  • 3 eggs, room temperature

  • 1/2 cup mascarpone cheese, room temperature

  • 10 strawberries, quartered, plus 4 additional (halved, quartered or sliced) for garnish

  • 2 mandarin oranges or clementines, peeled and segmented

  • 2 pinches of fine salt

  • 2 cups semolina flour

  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

  • 1 teaspoon baking soda

  • Powdered sugar, for dusting

  • Orange sorbet or whipped cream for serving


  1. Preheat oven to 330 degrees. Prepare a springform pan with butter.

  2. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the sugar, olive oil, eggs, Campari and mascarpone cheese. Add the strawberries and mandarins and stir to combine. Add the flours, baking soda and salt, mixing until completely incorporated.

  3. Pour mixture into the buttered springform pan, leaving 1/2 to 1 inch of space at the top. Place in oven for about 1 hour 15 minutes, or until light brown in color. Cheesecake is done when a chopstick inserted into the top pulls out with the residue of olive oil, but no raw or partially cooked flour clumps. Allow to cool for at least an hour. Dust with powdered sugar, garnish with strawberries and whipped cream before serving.

Olive Oil Fruit Cake




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- This is a Frankie fruitcake that doesn't really suck. It's somewhere between a light fluffy cake and a dense bran bread. It is olive oil based, so there's no butter. It's sort of in a class of its own. Let's make it. I don't really love butter in cakes, so I've replaced it with what is some consider to be the actual blood in my veins, extra virgin olive oil. Fatty, fruity, delicious. So, I'm trying to make a fruit cake that doesn't suck here. And have you ever had just fruit with olive oil and salt? It's delicious. That's kind of what this is in cake form. This is mascarpone cheese. It's somewhere between cream cheese icing and cheese-cheese. It's wonderful. Sugar. Eggs, one, two, three, here we go. One egg. There we go. Go with one, two pinches of salt. Salt doesn't make it savory, but it does excite certain taste buds in your tongue and allow sugar and sweet to get in there. So it is a flavor intensifier, I mean, that's all it is. And our last liquid ingredient is Campari. It's a bitter, yet very sweet orange liqueur sort of. And I think it plays really nice with the strawberries, and the clementines, and whatever else you decide to put in there. This could be rum. This could be nothing at all. It could be brandy, which is fermented prune juice. I think Campari's nice. Mix! Just break up that mascarpone a little bit. You'll see it sort of curds. Woo! That's very nice. These are clementines. You could put grapes. These are strawberries, quartered. You could use, I mean you could whatever you want, but I think this is citrus and strawberry being my favorite berry, slash fruit of all time, I think they're really, really nice. And you get these wonderful, natural, fruity flavors with olive oil, which is exciting and makes me think of a salad, and this is just such an easy dump and stir. Now, just mix those in. Looking for some homogeny here. Beautiful. Okay. Baking soda. Flour. And that comes in. Mix, mix, mix. You could use the hand mixer if you want. But you know what? This is nice, it's zen. It's like a little moment of meditation here. Beautiful. And this is semolina flour. It's much, it's much sandier. Can your hear this? It's like an exotic beach. And that sandiness, I've always found, when making pastas, and this cake, it doesn't really absorb as much water. It gives a little grittiness. It's a nice thing to have in there. And it gives substance. You have to use it to know what I'm talking about. So, add a little bit at a time, get it in there. No joke. Based on the humidity of the area where you are, the flour quantities are gonna be different. So, definitely have what I've recommended out, but use your eyeballs. Get this consistency. That's how quickly it should fall. And now we take this bad boy right here a little spring form. Boop. See, this pops out. It's really nice. Dump and bake, baby. Now, oven. A lot of people think I'm weird for this, but 330 degrees happens to be the ideal temperature. Not 325, not 350, 330. Here we go. Alright. Olive oil fruitcake. A fruitcake that doesn't suck. This is the chef's bite right here, guys. Ooo, nice, look at those clementina sections. Powdered sugar. Here we go. Let's cut some strawberries. Okay. It's definitely a fruitcake. It is an olive oil fruit cake. Okay, here we go. Strawberries and cream. Let me tell you something. Whipped cream does the trick, that's for sure. The cake world has been white washed. They all have the same cake, fluffy center. It's just so boring and predictable. And that's why this fruitcake doesn't suck to me. Because it's different. It's made with olive oil instead of butter. It has semolina instead of all purpose flour. It has real pieces of fruit that you can add to your heart's desire and Campari, a fruit liqueur that I imagine myself drinking on a fine cliff somewhere in Italy. Or, in a cold apartment in New York City which is more often the case. So this doesn't suck because it's different. Different is good.

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