These beautifully spiced cakes are made with olive oil for a moist batter, and can be garnished with apple chips for a burst of sweetness and extra spice.






Skill level

Average: 3.2 (304 votes)


  • 170 ml (⅔ cup) light olive oil
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • ½ tsp ground nutmeg
  • 50 g (¾ cup) brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 150 g (1 cup) self-raising flour
  • ¾ tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 65 g (⅔ cup) pecans or walnuts, coarsely chopped
  • 1⅓ cups grated carrot
  • ½ cup grated, unpeeled pink lady apple, excess juice squeezed out

Cinnamon maple frosting

  • 250 ml (1 cup) pure maple syrup
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 250 g cream cheese, at room temperature

Cook's notes

Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.


  1. Preheat the oven 170°C. Grease ten 125 ml (½ cup) capacity silicon muffin holes (see Notes) and line the bases with baking paper.
  2. Combine the oil, cinnamon and nutmeg in a small saucepan. Stir over low heat for 3 minutes or until aromatic, then remove from the heat. Cool for 5 minutes.
  3. Whisk the brown sugar and eggs together. Whisk in the lukewarm spiced oil until well combined. Sift over the flour and bicarbonate of soda and gently fold into the mixture until just combined. Stir in the nuts, carrots and squeezed-out grated apple. Spoon into the muffin holes until two-thirds full.
  4. Bake for 25-27 minutes or until a skewer withdraws clean. Turn onto a wire rack and cool completely.
  5. Meanwhile, for the cinnamon maple frosting, pour the maple syrup into a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Simmer for 3-4 minutes or until reduced and thickened. Remove from the heat, stir in the cinnamon and set aside to cool.
  6. Using hand-held electric beaters, beat the cream cheese until smooth.  Add 60 ml (¼ cup) cooled spiced maple drizzle and beat until smooth. Spread the frosting over the cooled cakes. Drizzle with a little more cinnamon maple drizzle. Decorate with apple chips if desired (see Notes).



If you don’t have 125 ml (½ cup) silicon moulds, you can use a 12-hole 80 ml (⅓ cup)- capacity muffin tin.

For the cinnamon spiced apple chips, lightly spray 2 large wire racks with cooking oil and place over two baking trays. Using a mandolin or sharp knife, cut 2 apples into paper-thin rounds. Place in a single layer onto the wire racks, making sure they don’t touch. Sprinkle with 1½ tablespoons of cinnamon sugar. Bake in a 100°C fan forced oven for 1½ hours or until the apples feel dry, they will become crisp on cooling. Remove to a tray to cool and repeat with remaining apples and cinnamon sugar. Store in an airtight container.


Adam Liaw cooks, laughs, and explores culture with some of Australia's most beloved in The Cook Up With Adam Liaw.

Photography by Danielle Abou Karam.