Canola Oil Cake with Sour Cherry Compote

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This canola oil cake is the best of both worlds, Italian tradition with Canadian ingredients.

This recipe is a riff on the traditional olive oil cake but using a Canadian ingredient – canola.

In Canada more than 43,000 Canadian farmers grow canola. In fact, the plant is named canola because “Can” references Canada and “ola” means oil.

I reached out to Canola Eat Well to sponsor this canola oil cake post because the classic Italian olive oil cake is praised.

But many people don’t know canola is also great for cakes.

For some reason we think of canola oil as a fryer oil. But just as you can have different grades and quality of olive oil, the same is true for canola oil.

One of my favourites is the artisanal XV cold pressed canola oil, which is fantastic as a finishing oil.

Last summer I was invited to Canola Connect Harvest Camp to visit rural Manitoba.

While I’ve been to Winnipeg and even northern Churchill to swim with beluga whales, I had not visited the rural areas of the province.

We rode in combines, met farmers, and spent a lot of time talking about food. It was amazing to see this part of our country.

Hint: you can see my hands at 1:16.

Canola oil cake on a white background with tea cups.
Modernizing the Classic Olive Oil Cake

I adore Italy. But the last time I visited for a 5 week meatcation I realized that in many ways Italian chefs are trapped.

With such a focus on keeping the tradition they don’t have the same ability to experiment.

But this year is Canada’s 150th birthday. And while we don’t have the same culinary identity as amazing countries like Italy, we do have the freedom to adapt and evolve traditional dishes.

The interesting thing about the olive oil cake is that all of the recipes are pretty similar. Much of the flavour comes from the olive oil.

So in olive producing regions like Florence, olive oil cake is a great source of pride.

It’s a moist citrus flavoured cake often topped with almonds. It’s served with fresh fruit as a dessert or plain at breakfast with Italian coffee.

This canola oil cake is a riff on the classic tradition with the same pride by using Canadian ingredients: canola, sour cherries and cornmeal that gives it an interesting texture.

Love Canadian Desserts? Check Out this Blueberry Grunt.

I love this recipe because you can make it in advance for a dinner party.

While many people just buy dessert, there’s something special about making dinner from start to finish.

Also, sharing with friends that this is a canola oil cake is sure to start an interesting conversation.

All About Sour Cherries

Sour cherries are similar to the sweet cherries we all know, but not surprisingly a bit more acidic and tart.

There are several varieties including the montmorency and amarelle cherry, which is lighter red and then the morello which is dark red.

They are all fantastic but the montmorency is the most common.

As sour cherries are….well sour they are usually used cooked or in baked goods.

They also don’t keep long so try to buy them the day you want to use them or at least the day before.

This canola oil cake is a riff on the classic Italian olive oil cake. It's so easy to make and incredibly moist - and you'll love the sour cherry compote.

Canola Oil Cake with Sour Cherry Compote

Don’t be intimidated by the term “compote” it simply means fruit cooked in a sugar syrup.

Make this compote in advance, it lasts in the fridge for up to two months.

Paired with the canola oil cake it’s perfect for dinner parties where you want to impress.

The cake is moist and can easily be made the night before. Simply top with the sour cherry compote just before serving.

sour cherry cake recipe

Sour Cherry Cake Recipe

Yield: 8-10 servings
Prep Time: 1 hour
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Additional Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 2 hours

This sour cherry cake recipe uses canola oil instead of olive oil. The best of both worlds, Italian tradition with Canadian ingredients.


  • 1 lb cherries stemmed and pitted
  • 2 cups white granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup sherry, cider or red wine vinegar as long as it's not white distilled vinegar use what you like
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 50 g corn meal/polenta
  • 200 g ground hazelnuts
  • 50 g all-purpose flour
  • 200 g white sugar
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 cup canola oil
  • 100 g unsalted butter melted
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 lemon juice and zest
  • 1 tbsp icing sugar to dust for a finishing touch


Sour Cherry Compote

Put first four ingredients in a pot. Bring it to a boil.

Reduce heat to medium and cook 1 - 1.5 hours until jammy.

Canola Oil Cake

Mix cornmeal, hazelnuts, flour and baking powder in a large bowl.

Add canola oil to melted butter. Add lemon juice and zest.

In a stand mixer whisky the eggs and sugar together and light and pale and slowly drizzle oil/butter mix in. Once incorporated in , add dry ingredients.

Transfer to a greased and parchment lined spring form pan.

Bake at 370 for 40 minutes, cake should be slightly underdone and a bit of batter should stick to it. Cool for 20 minutes before removing from pan.

Add cherries right before serving. Dust with icing sugar.

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 12 Serving Size: 1 Amount Per Serving: Calories: 550Total Fat: 29gSaturated Fat: 7gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 21gCholesterol: 67mgSodium: 215mgCarbohydrates: 71gFiber: 3gSugar: 59gProtein: 6g

Nutritional information is provided as a courtesy and is an estimate only. This information comes from online calculators. Although attempts to provide accurate nutritional information, these figures are only estimates.

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Pin it: Sour Cherry Cake Recipe

If you want to know more about cooking with canola, get inspired with recipes on the Canola Eat Well website.

Disclosure: This canola oil cake is sponsored by Canola Eat Well. We reached out to them to sponsor the Canada Day Entertaining Guide as we wanted to partner with products we use and love. We’re happy to share the quality and potential of canola oil.
This canola oil cake is a riff on the classic Italian olive oil cake. It's so easy to make and incredibly moist - and you'll love the sour cherry compote.

Join the Conversation

  1. Lighting Doctor says:

    nice post dear, canola oil cake with sour cherry compote yummy it’s so delicious………

  2. Looks like a delicious cake! Happy Canada Day!

  3. This Canola Caje with Cherry compote looks and sounds fantastic! It is a recipe I will be trying soon! Love the idea of the cake having ground nuts! Love using canola oil in so much of my baking. Super versatile and taste neutral.

  4. online flight booking says:

    wow! that cake is looking so delicious and yummy. You shared good tips to make it and awesome photos you shared.

  5. Sandy Cadiz-Smith says:

    Sounds like a great trip, I’d love to ride on a combine again, it’s been a while. This recipe sounds amazing, I will definitely give it a try.

  6. I love sour cherries!! I don’t know if we have them in the US, not sure if I’ve seen them before. But now I’m gonna be on a hunt because I must make this. YUM!

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      If you can’t find them regular cherries also work well.

  7. Mindi Hirsch says:

    We’ve been eating so many cherries this summer in Europe, and the Vignola cherries from Italy have been the best. Your recipe looks like a great way to enjoy cherries, sour or otherwise, for dessert.

  8. You seriously have me drooling here… the compote looks great, but that cake edge is seriously killing me! I just put every thing on my grocery list to try this over the weekend! 🙂

  9. Debra C. says:

    Oh my gosh this compote look fabulous and you’ve made it look so easy! The pictures are just amazing – I would love to serve this dessert to my family!!

  10. I still haven’t made anything with cherries these year, but a compote sounds like a wonderful idea!

  11. Alex Steven says:

    Looks so delicious. Thanks for sharing the recipe and pics. Cheers! mate

  12. Kimberley Copithorne says:

    I LOVE cherries in general, but there is something so wonderful about sour cherries. This cake sounds so moist, perfect for using up some of my fresh Okanagan cherries for!

  13. The cake looks heavenly! Thanks for sharing the recipe, i’m gonna put my baking skills to test with this one. 🙂

  14. Charlotte says:

    This cake looks so beautiful! Almost too beautiful to devour… almost.

  15. This looks absolutely delicious! I use a lot of canola oil and never knew the derivation of the name! Thanks for the linguistic lesson!

  16. Izy Berry says:

    No longer intimidated by compote 😉

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      Just a fancy name for something easy to make 😉

  17. I’m dying for this cake! I love sour cherries and the batter is so unique!

  18. Just forwarded this link to my wife, will be having this cake on weekend. Thank you so much, looks so yum!

  19. Sounds like a great trip, I’d love to ride on a combine again, Thank you for the recipe.

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