Almost Turkish Recipes

Black Olive Cake (Zeytinli Kek)

It's a gloomy, cloudy, rainy, and miserable Sunday. The best to do seemed like baking a cake, making Turkish tea, and watching a movie. I found this recipe from a very popular Turkish foodblog: Portakal Ağacı. Except for a couple of additions, I followed the recipe.

2 cups of chopped and pitted black olives (I was going low with my delicious Turkish olives, so I used canned olives)
3/4 cup sun flower, canola, or olive oil
1 cup plain yogurt
2 cups of flour
3 eggs
1/2 cup chopped fresh mint or 1 1/2 tbsp dried mint flakes
1 bunch green onions, chopped finely
1 tbsp red pepper flakes (if you want your cake to be a spicy one)
1 tbsp black seeds
1 1/2 tsp salt (depends on what kind of olives you use)
1 tsp baking powder

-Beat the eggs and add yogurt and oil. Mix well.
-Add olives, green onion, mint, red pepper flakes, salt, and black seeds to the mixture and mix.
-Add baking powder and flour. You'll have a runny mixture.
-Pour in a greased oven dish. I used a 12 x 8 inches oval oven dish.
-Bake in for 40-50 minutes in a preheated oven at 375F.
-Let it sit for at least 15 minutes before you cut and serve.

This recipe which brings out the perfect harmony between mint and green onions has turned out so delicious that it'll go straight to Weekend Herb Blogging of Kalyn which is hosted by Anna of Anna's Cool Finds.


  1. This looks so delicious. I like cakes that aren't too sweet to go with tea as well, so I'm definitely going to try this one! Thanks for participating in WHB!

  2. This sounds just fabulous. I love olives of any type. I don't think I've had Turkish olives though. I'll look for them when I go to World Market.

    BTW, it's gloomy and cloudy here too and I'm longing for summer.

  3. This looks so absolutely amazing. If I wanted to have it with a meal, rather than just tea, what do you think it would go well with?

    Also, what are "black seeds"?

    Thank you!
    chef yum yum

  4. Anna, I prefer savory cakes to sweet ones, too. They're best with tea.

    Kalyn, to be honest I haven't thought about the difference between Turkish olives and other ones until I read your comment. I guess I can say that Turkish olives are smaller and when you have one, you taste that distinct "olive" flavor rather than vinegar.

    chef yum yum, I wanted a really puffy and soft cake so I didn't put too much flour; however, if you make a denser dough you would end up with a firmer bread-like cake. Then I guess it (with all olives and onions)would go well with any kind of red meat.

  5. btw, chef yum yum, the above link can tell you more about black seeds than I can. And if you cannot find them, you can totally skip that ingredient or replace it with sesame seeds.

  6. This looks fantastic! I love the combination of olives and mint, and I love a cake that's not sweet. Thank you for this recipe; it's going on my list immediately!

  7. The ingredients you used always carry charm! It was gloomy yestersday here, would be the same today, and I have mints, what am I waiting for :D

  8. Oh so yummy. I think it will be a great fingerfood on our next party. :)

  9. I am coveting this cake. Seriously. What a fantastic medley of flavors.

  10. Oh, my goodness! I just made this without gluten using half cornmeal (1 cup) and half pamela's all purpose gluten free baking flour (1 cup) and it tastes fantastic! I am just starting to experiment in the world of gluten free breads and have learned that sandwich like breads don't turn out as well, but these cake like breads, or breads with things mixed-in turn out much better. Thanks for the recipe.

  11. I also substituted soy yogurt in for the real deal. It was my first time cooking with the stuff and I surprisingly didn't notice a difference at all. (I was put on the gluten-free & casein-free diet a few months back when I was diagnosed as living with autism.)

  12. Anonymous6:26 PM

    Black Seeds

    Looks to me like "black seeds" are nigella. Gernot Katzer's Spice Pages have excellent information:

    And thanks so much for the lovely recipes!

    (I'm Lilinah - i'd log in but it's not working for me)

  13. Anonymous10:28 AM

    This morning I tried your recipe with some small changes, such as; oregano and dill added, but omitted onion, also used Riviera type of olive oil instead of canola oil. Those are the important details from my mom’s recipe. My olive cake is delicious, smells great, looks amaizing. Thank you very much for this recipe.
    I discovered your web page yesterday and I love it, tebrikler:)

  14. Hello! I have some green olives in the fridge. Can I use them instead of the black olives?

  15. I just pulled the first batch of this recipe out of the oven a few minutes ago and sneaked a little sample. Yummmmmm! It is fantastic. It will be a big hit at tonight's Thanksgiving potluck. Tesekkur ederim :)

  16. Anonymous10:19 AM

    Hmm sounds interesting, but unfortionately there is no such thing as black olives.

  17. A complete breakfast in a cake. However, it came out very dense and heavy. Any suggestions to make it fluffier as in the photo?

    1. I am sorry it didn't come out well. It might be from the flour. I would recommend adding 1/2 cup flour at a time to check on the texture. It should be a runny batter.

  18. Burcu, this was delicious. Everyone who tasted it commented on it before they left. The only thing is that I want to try to introduce wholewheat to my cooking a bit more. Do you have any suggestions about how to change the portions or ingredients and cooking times if switching to wholewheat? Thanks in advance!

    1. I would recommend adding just one cup of whole wheat flour and add 1/4 cups at a time and not letting it get dense. 1 1/2 cup of whole wheat in stead of 2 cups of white, I think, would do the trick.

  19. I made this because my colleague bought some in one day that his mum had made, so I quickly googled the description and came across your wonderful site. The batter was very quick and easy to make and turned out delicious and very moist and looks exactly like that in the picture. I'm not the best of cooks so if I can make this then anyone can. BIG THANKYOU x

  20. I made this for a halloween bake at work, topping it with olive "spiders" and Nigella Seeds as "spider poo" :-)
    Everyone loved it.
    I baked some of it twice to make lovely biscotti ... great with cheese!

  21. Anonymous11:17 AM

    I am very excited about this recipe and am going to make it tomorrow. An Airbnb host made us several loaves of olive cake which we devoured. Despite my repeated requests for recipe, she was very vague and I think ( rightly so) thought I was daft... her responses were typically: ' whatever you have, oil or butter , flour, fresh or dried mint, onions ' .She was 83 yrs old and owned the building and must have made this for 70 yrs plus. I have yoghurt straining for labneh. A stash of sumac , pul biber and zaatar to coat labneh balls. I can't wait xx thank-you for publishing.

  22. I tried this with Turkish cay, it's a perfect taste. thanks for sharing <3