Wild Lime Olive Cake – my award winning recipe

In October 2003, the Australian National Maritime Museum ran a contest as part of its Mediterranean Tucker Festival. The aim was to show how Mediterranean cuisines have changed the Australian diet and how Australian conditions in turn have made an impact on Mediterranean food.

The challenge was to use just three ingredients plus three more. Three foods – wheat, grapes, and olives – dominate the Mediterranean palate. Thus, the competition was to develop an Australian version of a Mediterranean recipe, using all three of the Mediterranean staples – wheat, grapes and olives – in any of their forms, plus as many as three other ingredients of choice – a total of six.

There were two categories – main courses and desserts/cakes. I entered one recipe in each. There were 250 entries from all over Australia. Entries were judged by a panel of celebrity chefs.

For the Main course I entered a Rabbit Pie – which came second in the Main courses.

For the Dessert/Cake, I entered a Wild Lime Olive Cake which came first in the Desserts/Cakes section.

And my Wild Lime Olive Cake came first overall!

Below is the recipe for the Wild Lime Olive Cake. You can find the recipe for the Rabbit Pie by clicking here – Rabbit Pie.

Please try them out and enjoy

Jeremy Ryland

Recipe Name:   Wild Lime Olive Cake


This is a modification of the classic olive cake using Australian native Wild Limes to add a unique Australian flavour to a Mediterranean classic. Regular West Indian limes can be used if Wild Limes are unavailable.


Flour – 1 cup, plain, sifted plus extra for dusting

White Wine – ½ cup, dry white (Semillon)

Olive Oil – 2/3 cup


Sugar – 175gm plus 100gm

Eggs – 5 whole separated, plus 2 whites

Wild Limes – 4 tablespoons of juice plus zest (10 Wild Bush Limes or 2 West Indian Limes) (native limes are quite small)

Pinch salt


Preheat oven to 190ºC. Lightly grease a springform cake pan, dust with flour and line the base with baking paper. Grate the zest of half the limes and set aside. Carefully peel the skin off the other limes and cut the zest into thin strips. Set aside. Juice the limes.

Beat the 5 egg yolks with 175gms of sugar until light and creamy. Add the grated lime zest, flour, salt and mix well. Slowly add the white wine and the olive oil, mixing until well combined.

In a separate bowl, beat the 7 egg whites until stiff and fold into the flour and sugar mixture. Pour into the cake pan and bake for 30 minutes. Turn the heat down to 170ºC and bake for a further 15 minutes or until the cake is a golden brown colour and a skewer comes out clean. Leave to cool in the pan for about 10 minutes.

Prepare the lime syrup by putting the lime juice and 100gms sugar into a small saucepan, heating gently until the sugar dissolves. Add the zest strips and coat well with syrup. Cook gently for 5 minutes.

Arrange the coated lime zest strips in the centre of the cake and then pour the syrup over the cake allowing it to absorb the juices. Allow to cool completely before removing from the pan and serving, with extra lime syrup if available.


This was the recipe as submitted. Olive cake is a relatively simple traditional recipe – and does need much more. A little cream of tartar (1/2 teaspoon) added to the egg whites will help them stiffen and the final cake can be dusted with icing sugar. Some Italian recipes use Cinzano Bianco instead of white wine.

Note: the cake will sink when it is cooled. This is normal!