Spiced olive oil cupcakes – for Chanukah!

Moist, lightly spiced & with a subtle olive oil flavour, these delicious cupcakes are an unusual Chanukah treat. Perfect when you can’t face another latke!

Chanukah cooking is traditionally all about the OIL. And fair enough, it is pretty central to the miracle*, after all. But, enough with the frying already! Latkes, doughnuts, beignets… surely there’s another way to incorporate oil into something delicious?

How about a cupcake?

With this in mind, I set about creating these cupcakes. Olive oil cakes have been around for a while, but many recipes contain yogurt, fruit, or other extras that just didn’t feel right for Chanukah. After extensive research, I finally created the following recipe. The results are lightly spiced, with a moist texture, and a subtle flavour of olive oil. The tops are crisp when they are fresh out of the oven, but do soften slightly if you don’t eat them all straight away. If you are feeling indulgent you can dust them with icing sugar or even rustle up a little icing to glaze the tops. I considered experimenting with making olive oil frosting, but ultimately decided against it. You can have too much of a good thing, you know.

Olive oil cupcakes with dreidel.

Gentle flavours

I flavoured these with vanilla and a hint of spice, as I didn’t want the olive oil to be overwhelming. These warm spicy flavours complemented the oil, and do seem to be quite seasonal, too – just the thing to lift the spirits on a cold winter’s day.

Chanukah fun!

As you can see from the photo, I couldn’t resist lining them up, topping them with Chanukah candles, and making a delicious olive oil cupcake Menorah out of them. Feel free to try this at at home! Alternatively, just tuck in. Chanukah sameach!

Olive oil cupcakes.

*In the Chanukah story, after the Maccabees had defeated the Greek army and reclaimed the Holy Temple, they had only enough olive oil to light the Temple menorah for one day. They lit it anyway, and miraculously, the oil lasted for eight days – giving them enough time to prepare more oil before the light extinguished. Hooray!

This makes 18-20 spiced olive oil cupcakes. Yum.

Moist, lightly spiced & with a subtle olive oil flavour, these delicious cupcakes are an unusual Chanukah treat. Perfect when you can't face another latke! #Chanukah #hanukkah

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Spiced olive oil cupcakes

Course Cake
Cuisine jewish
Keyword baking, olive oil
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes
Servings 18
Calories 165kcal
Author Helen


  • 2 eggs
  • 150 ml extra virgin olive oil (⅔ cup)
  • 200 g golden caster sugar (approx. 1 cup)
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence
  • 225 g plain flour (approx. 2 cups)
  • tsp baking powder
  • ¾ tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 1 tsp mixed spice
  • 200 ml hot water (scant 1 cup)


  • Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F), and prepare 18-20 cupcake cases.
  • Beat together the eggs, olive oil, sugar and vanilla until creamy and well mixed.
  • Separately, mix the flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda and mixed spice.
  • Add half the dry ingredients and half the hot water to the egg mixture and beat well. Add the remaining ingredients and beat until thoroughly combined. The mixture will be warm, and very runny.
  • Divide the mixture evenly between the cake cases. They will be around half full. I found the easiest way to do this was to scoop the mixture using a small cup and pour it into the cases.
  • Bake for 20-25 minutes until risen and golden, and toothpick inserted into the cakes comes out clean.
  • Allow to cool, light the Chanukah candles, and enjoy!


Approx. per cupcake: 165 calories, 8g fat, 2g protein, 21g carbs

If you like cupcakes, why not also try these blueberry and white chocolate chip cupcakes, these 3-ingredient Nutella cupcakes, or these vegan spiced apple and raisin cupcakes.

I’m entering these yummy spiced olive oil Chanukah cupcakes into the following foodie challenges:
Treat Petite, organised by Cakeyboi and The Baking Explorer (who is also hosting this month).
Love Cake, over at JibberJabber. Cook, Blog, Share, organised by Lucy at Supergolden Bakes.
And Family Foodies, organised by Vanesther at Bangers & Mash and Lou at Eat Your Veg. 


This recipe first appeared in the Chanukah 2013 edition of the CTJC Bulletin.



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  6. I was hoping to see something like this for December. I love the way the flavours tie in with the olive oil and how the candles fit in the cakes.

  7. These look wonderful. I love baking with olive oil – I have some honey spice cookies to make (Greek – they use light olive oil) and you just reminded me I need to get a move on! Thanks for linking to #CookBlogShare

    • Thanks Lucy. These were so yummy, I’ll definitely be experimenting with olive oil in baking again. Honey spice cookies sound delicious!

  8. These look lovely. I’ve been meaning to try baking cakes with olive oil for a while now. This looks the perfect recipe to try. Thanks so much for taking part in December’s #FamilyFoodies challenge 🙂

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  10. I’ve never seen anything like this, but they look great and I love how you’ve tied them into the story of the oil! Thanks for entering into Treat Petite!

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  12. Lucy - BakingQueen74

    These look delicious, I bet they have a really delicate flavour. Thanks for the recipe!

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