We pour warm honey syrup over our cake when it comes out of the oven—it soaks into the cornmeal crumb, keeping it moist. We also add a dusting of fennel pollen and sea salt at the last moment for aroma and texture. Jody Williams and Rita Sodi from “Via Carota: A Celebration of Seasonal Cooking from the Beloved Greenwich Village Restaurant”

This recipe makes one nine-inch cake and serves eight.


Combine honey and water in a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer gently until the consistency of light maple syrup, about five minutes. Set aside to cool until ready to use or refrigerate for up to one week.

The olive oil cake, and other treats, on display at Via Carota, in New York’s the Greenwich Village.

Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Brush a nine-inch round cake pan with olive oil and dust it with flour. Turn the pan upside down to tap out excess flour. Whisk the flour, cornmeal, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl. In a larger bowl, or the bowl of a mixer, combine the eggs, sugar, and orange zest. Beat until egg mixture is pale and creamy, about three minutes. Pour in the olive oil, milk, and orange juice, stirring to blend. Add the flour mixture into the liquid ingredients in two batches, stirring until combined into a smooth batter. Pour into the prepared pan and jiggle to settle the surface. Bake, rotating once, until golden brown on top and a skewer inserted in the center comes out clean, 40 to 45 minutes. Let cool for 30 minutes on a wire rack. Remove the cake from the pan, place on a rimmed plate, and drizzle honey syrup evenly over the surface; let it soak in for at least 15 minutes. Just before serving, sprinkle the cake with fennel pollen and sea salt.

Via Carota: A Celebration of Seasonal Cooking from the Beloved Greenwich Village Restaurant, by Jody Williams and Rita Sodi with Anna Kovel, is out now from Knopf