Honey adds a delicious pop of sweetness to this decadent and moist olive oil cake. We’ve paired the cake with apples gently simmered in a honey syrup. Make it for the holidays or anytime you’re craving a fall dessert.
Prepare the apples: Combine the wine, water, granulated sugar, honey, lemon zest and vanilla bean and seeds in a wide medium saucepan. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a steady simmer and cook, stirring to dissolve the sugar, about 5 minutes. Add the apples, stir to combine and simmer until tender, 10 to 12 minutes. Carefully remove the apples with a slotted spoon to a large plate or small rimmed baking sheet. Continue to rapidly simmer the syrup until slightly thickened and reduced to about 1 cup, 10 to 12 minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool to room temperature. Remove the vanilla bean. Transfer the apples and syrup to a shallow bowl and refrigerate until cold.
Meanwhile, make the cake: Preheat the oven to 325˚ F. Brush a 9-inch round cake pan with olive oil; line the bottom with parchment paper and brush the parchment with olive oil. Whisk the flour, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl. Put the granulated sugar and lemon zest in a large bowl and beat with a mixer on medium-high speed until fully combined, about 1 minute. Add the olive oil and beat until combined, about 1 minute. Beat in the lemon juice, honey and vanilla extract. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Reduce the mixer speed to low; beat in the flour mixture in two additions until smooth.
Pour the batter into the pan and tap against the counter once or twice to remove any air bubbles. Bake until the top of the cake is golden brown and the center springs back when gently pressed, 35 to 40 minutes. Transfer to a rack and let cool 15 minutes in the pan, then turn out the cake onto the rack, remove the parchment and let cool completely.
Transfer the cake to a platter and dust with confectioners' sugar. Cut into wedges and serve with the apples and syrup.