Tender rustic cakes studded with apples are a classic of European baking. In Ireland, they are packed with spice and bathed in custard. Italy’s torta di mele is seasoned with lemon. France’s take boasts a rum-based batter, while Germany’s Apfelkuchen features fruit fanned across its surface.

And in Greece? There’s milopita, an impossibly moist iteration starring two distinctly Mediterranean—and perhaps unexpected—ingredients: velvety olive oil and thick Greek yogurt. Coupled with crisp apples and warm spices, it’s at once familiar and unique.

Yogurt’s subtle tang lifts and brightens the cake, while olive oil’s fruity notes shine alongside the sweet apples and provide an underlying and contrasting savoriness. Both dynamic additions contribute more than just depth and complexity, though. They also produce a cake practically guaranteed to be tender, and moist. And stay that way.

That’s because when oil coats flour, gluten formation is restricted. The outcome? An extremely tender bite. Unlike butter, which solidifies at room temperature, olive oil remains a liquid, keeping the cake soft days after being baked. Meanwhile, yogurt’s mellow acidity activates the baking soda, aiding milopita’s rise. Its low fat content, compared to similar dairy products like sour cream and crème fraîche, also makes for a lighter crumb.

Traditionally, milopita is topped with honey. We built on this classic glaze, incorporating apple cider, orange juice and zest and cinnamon, the cider and cinnamon echoing and accenting the apples. The fragrant syrup is both stirred into the batter and brushed over the cooled cake, bringing even more moisture and spiced-fruit flavor to each forkful.

As for the apples, a subtly tangy selection is best. Think Honeycrisp, Gala, Granny Smith or any similar variety, as their tartness balances the cake’s sweeter notes. These tend to have firmer flesh, too, ensuring they hold their shape.

The result is a fruit-studded treat hearty enough for breakfast, yet perfect for dessert—especially served with honey-laced whipped cream.