Olive Oil Cake
Even die-hard butter devotees admit that olive oil makes exceptionally good cakes. EVOO is liquid at room temperature, so it lends superior moisture over time. In fact, olive oil cake only improves the longer it sits—this dairy-free version will keep on your counter for days (not that it’ll last that long).
- 1¼ cups plus 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil; plus more for pan
- 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar; plus more
- ⅓ cup almond flour or meal or fine-grind cornmeal
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 3 tablespoons amaretto, Grand Marnier, sweet vermouth, or other liqueur
- 1 tablespoon finely grated lemon zest
- 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- A 9"-diameter springform pan
Preheat oven to 400°. Drizzle bottom and sides of pan with oil and use your fingers to coat. Line bottom with a round of parchment paper and smooth to eliminate air bubbles; coat parchment with more oil. Generously sprinkle pan with sugar and tilt to coat in an even layer; tap out excess. Whisk cake flour, almond flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl to combine and eliminate any lumps. Stir together amaretto, lemon juice, and vanilla in a small bowl.
Using an electric mixer on high speed (use whisk attachment if working with a stand mixer), beat eggs, lemon zest, and 1 cup plus 2 Tbsp. sugar in a large bowl until mixture is very light, thick, pale, and falls off the whisk or beaters in a slowly dissolving ribbon, about 3 minutes if using a stand mixer and about 5 minutes if using a hand mixer. With mixer still on high speed, gradually stream in 1¼ cups oil and beat until incorporated and mixture is even thicker. Reduce mixer speed to low and add dry ingredients in 3 additions, alternating with amaretto mixture in 2 additions, beginning and ending with dry ingredients. Fold batter several times with a large rubber spatula, making sure to scrape the bottom and sides of bowl. Scrape batter into prepared pan, smooth top, and sprinkle with more sugar.
Place cake in oven and immediately reduce oven temperature to 350°. Bake until top is golden brown, center is firm to the touch, and a tester inserted into the center comes out clean, 40–50 minutes. Transfer pan to a wire rack and let cake cool in pan 15 minutes.
Poke holes all over top of cake with a toothpick or skewer and drizzle with remaining 2 Tbsp. oil; let it absorb. Run a thin knife around edges of cake and remove ring from pan. Slide cake onto rack and let cool completely. For the best flavor and texture, wrap cake in plastic and let sit at room temperature at least a day before serving.
Do Ahead: Cake can be baked 4 days ahead. Store tightly wrapped at room temperature.
WHAT YOU NEED TO PREPARE THIS CLASSIC CAKE
WHICH KIND IS BEST FOR BAKING?
Get an extra-virgin kind that’s fruity or mild.
Do not use the strong, robust-flavored ones, although I have to admit I love those too. But certainly not for baking a cake.
Getting Ready: Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and preheat to 350°F (180°C). Line an 8- by 3-inch anodized aluminum cake pan with parchment (see our explanation and tutorial on how to cut a parchment round) and grease lightly with pan spray.
For the Cake: Whisk sugar, baking soda, baking powder, and salt together in a medium bowl for about 1 minute. This dry mixture will look homogeneous well before it truly is, so use patience at this stage, and whisk longer than may seem necessary. Under-mixing at this stage can produce dark spots or an uneven texture in the cake.
Add lemon zest, olive oil, buttermilk, egg, and orange flower water and whisk vigorously until batter looks smooth and well emulsified. Sift in cake flour and whisk just until well combined. Scrape into prepared pan. Bake until cake is firm but your finger can still leave an impression in the puffy crust, about 33 minutes. (A toothpick inserted into the center should come away with a few crumbs still attached.)
Cool cake directly in pan about 10 minutes, then run a butter knife around the edges to loosen. Invert onto a wire rack, peel off parchment, and place cake right side up on a serving platter or cake stand. Serve warm or at room temperature, with a sprinkling of powdered sugar or with fresh fruit, nuts, and other accompaniments as desired.
Olive Oil Cake
The addition of olive oil creates a moist, rich cake that is delicious served for dessert with fresh fruit, or at breakfast with a cup of coffee. It isn’t too sweet, but has a dense texture that stores well. La Cucina Italiana magazine reports that extra virgin olive oil is the most digestible of all the edible fats. It also helps to assimilate vitamins A, D and K, helps bile, liver and intestinal functions, as well as helping to assimilate vitamins A, D and K.
The characteristics of specific olive oils are determined by many factors, including the variety of olive, climate, growing conditions, harvesting methods as well as the method used for pressing. Olive oil differs from other cooking oils in that it is the only oil that has a limitless variety of flavors to choose from. They run the gamut from light and fruity, to robust and full-flavored, to buttery and delicate. It is said you should choose your olive much like you would choose your wine. Choose a light fruity olive oil for this cake recipe.
Called liquid gold by many throughout history, olive oil has played an important part in the lives of the Mediterranean people. Today, olive oil is the basis for much of Italian cooking used in sauces, sauteing, grilling and even as a condiment drizzled over dishes at the table. Well respected for their full, fruity flavors, Italian extra virgin olive oils are considered to be the best in the world, particularly those from Tuscany and Abruzzi.
Deborah Mele 2011
A Sweet Mediterranean-Inspired Dessert
Rich, golden, fruity olive oil is a staple in my kitchen, and probably the oil that I reach for the most in my cooking.
I go through quite a lot of extra virgin olive oil on a weekly basis, and use it in everything from my homemade salad dressings, to my soups and entrees, to simply drizzling it over toast in place of mayo or cream cheese.
I love the flavor of good olive oil, and deeply appreciate the wonderful health benefits that it brings, seeing it as a bit of an “elixir” with a lovely, almost magical essence.
And while many of us use olive oil in savory dishes, it is actually a common ingredient used in sweet treats in Italy and the Mediterranean region in general, where much of the world’s olive oil is produced and flows plentifully.
Olive oil cake is a fairly recent recipe “discovery” for me, as far as preparing it in my own kitchen is concerned, though I've been super curious about the flavor and texture of this lovely delicacy for quite some time.
With these sunnier months now at hand, the notion of enjoying a fruity, light, moist, and fragrant cake, which speaks of the natural sweetness of the season, just sounded so incredibly inviting to me.
So I got to work on developing an olive oil cake recipe that hits all the flavor notes that I was looking for.
The result is an incredibly aromatic cake, one that deliciously beckons with its sweet scent from across the kitchen as it sits in its serving plate, with a texture that is at once dense yet somehow incredibly light, utterly melting away on the tongue.
This olive oil cake has become one of our favorite cakes, as we found ourselves unable to eat just one slice…
So be forewarned, this cake is truly that good.
Absolutely magical with a strong cup of coffee or an Italian espresso, a slice of this olive oil cake is heaven-on-a-plate, and the perfect afternoon pick-me-up or dessert course for a special dinner—so simple, yet utterly elegant!
My Recipe for Olive Oil Cake with Rich, Fruity Flavors
The basic components of an olive oil cake are quite similar to that of many other cakes, but instead of using butter or traditional vegetable oil as the fat component, rich, fruity, and flavorful extra virgin olive oil is used.
Olive oil innately adds a fantastic and unique flavor, and offers this lovely cake a deep yellow hue—so pretty!
In doing a bit of research, I found myself drawn to versions of this cake that were sweetly “perfumed” with citrus notes, so I added both orange and lemon zest, as well as their juice, to my recipe.
I also like the idea of a touch of citrus liqueur for a slightly sophisticated note, and opted for a splash of orange liqueur (Grande Garonne) to deepen those sweet, citrusy notes.
Here's a sneak peek at my olive oil cake recipe: (or just jump to the full recipe. )
- To get started I whisk together my dry ingredients and set those aside to have ready.
- In a large bowl, using a hand mixer, I mix together the sugar and eggs until pale and thick, then drizzle in my olive oil and continue to mix until well blended. Then, I add in my zests and juices, plus my orange liqueur, and mix those in to combine.
- Next, I add my dry ingredients into my wet and mix to blend, followed by some milk, and mix to incorporate until the batter is completely smooth.
- I bake my olive oil cake in either a 9” spring form cake pan or a regular 10” cake pan (greased and lined with parchment) for roughly 45 to 50 minutes.
- Once cooled, I simply dust the top of the olive oil cake with powdered sugar, and serve on its own, or with a dollop of whipped cream on the side.
Olive Oil Cake from America's Test Kitchen (recipe)
Here's a much-requested cake recipe from America's Test Kitchen that uses olive oil rather than butter. Paired with fresh fruit, it can be a lighter follow to a robust winter meal.
Olive Oil Cake
13/4 cups (83/4 ounces) all-purpose flour
11/4 cups (83/4 ounces) plus 2 tablespoons sugar
1/4 teaspoon grated lemon zest
3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Why This Recipe Works: We wanted our olive oil cake to have a light, fine-textured, and plush crumb, with a subtle but noticeable olive oil flavor. Whipping the sugar with the whole eggs, rather than just the whites, produced a fine texture that was airy but sturdy enough to support the olive oil-rich batter. To emphasize the defining flavor, we opted for a good-quality extra-virgin olive oil and supplemented its fruitiness with a tiny bit of lemon zest. A crackly sugar topping added a touch of sweetness and sophistication.
For the best flavor, use a fresh, high-quality extra-virgin olive oil. Our favorite supermarket option is California Olive Ranch Everyday Extra Virgin Olive Oil. If your springform pan is prone to leaking, place a rimmed baking sheet on the oven floor to catch any drips. Leftover cake can be wrapped in plastic wrap and stored at room temperature for up to three days.
Preliminaries: Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease 9-inch springform pan. Whisk flour, baking powder, and salt together in bowl.
Make batter: Using stand mixer fitted with whisk attachment, whip eggs on medium speed until foamy, about 1 minute. Add 11/4 cups sugar and lemon zest, increase speed to high, and whip until mixture is fluffy and pale yellow, about 3 minutes. Reduce speed to medium and, with mixer running, slowly pour in oil. Mix until oil is fully incorporated, about 1 minute. Add half of flour mixture and mix on low speed until incorporated, about 1 minute, scraping down bowl as needed. Add milk and mix until combined, about 30 seconds. Add remaining flour mixture and mix until just incorporated, about 1 minute, scraping down bowl as needed.
Bake: Transfer batter to prepared pan sprinkle remaining 2 tablespoons sugar over entire surface. Bake until cake is deep golden brown and toothpick inserted in center comes out with few crumbs attached, 40-45 minutes. Transfer pan to wire rack and let cool for 15 minutes. Remove side of pan and let cake cool completely, about 11/2 hours. Cut into wedges and serve.
Traditional Italian Olive Oil Cake:
There are hundreds of recipes for olive oil cake online and most are very similar. Extremely similar in fact. My theory is, why mess with perfection? Olive oil cake is made with the usual cake ingredients but also includes olive oil and plenty of orange and lemon zest .
Before baking, the batter is topped with almond slices so the cake has a crispy, nutty top.
You can serve as is, or top the cake with assorted berries, peaches, grapes, whatever is in season!
A light dusting of powdered sugar makes this cake look delicate and ethereal!
Just beautiful! The flavors of sweet fruit and rich olive oil are an exquisite pair!
CLASSIC OLIVE OIL CAKE
Olive oil cake is my favorite. Least time &ndash greatest pleasure. This is a universal tender cake using a large amount of olive oil. You will not like it only if you do not like the aroma of olive oil.
But I hasten to reassure you that the aroma is unobtrusive and goes well with the general sweetness. The aroma of almonds and vanilla sets the tone for your pastry.
What is olive oil cake?
To make such a pie, beat eggs with sugar, then add olive oil, whole milk, almond, and vanilla extracts. Then add flour, salt, and baking powder and knead a homogeneous batter. Bake until golden brown a little more than half an hour, grease with olive oil and serve!
HOW TO MAKE CLASSIC OLIVE OIL CAKE
- Step 1 . Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Prepare an 8-inch round cake pan, grease the bottom and walls with a thin layer of oil, or use a cooking spray. I bake such a cake in the culinary ring, from the bottom with the foil.
- Step 2. In a large bowl, combine three large eggs and 150 grams of sugar. Beat with a whisk at high speed from 30 seconds to 1 minute.
- Step 4. When the olive oil mixes well with the egg mixture, pour half a cup of milk. The mixer continues to operate at the smallest speed.
- Step 5. Add vanilla extract and almond extract to the mixture. I have these highly concentrated extracts, so 3 to 5 drops are enough for this amount of dough. Add these ingredients based on availability and guided by your taste.
- Step 6. In a separate bowl, mix flour, baking powder, and salt.
- Step 7. Sift the flour mixture through a sieve into a bowl with the batter. Mix at low speed until smooth. Stop the mixer, clean the bowl walls of the dough, and mix everything again.
- Step 8. Pour the dough into the prepared pan and place in the oven. The baking time is 30-40 minutes. After 30 minutes from the start of baking, check the cake for readiness with a toothpick or bamboo skewer. Pierce the cake in the center and remove the skewer. If it&rsquos wet, the cake isn&rsquot ready yet.
- Step 9. Allow the cake to completely cool, then remove it from the mold and place it on the dish. Grease with fresh olive oil on top, garnish as desired, and serve.
What does olive oil cake taste like?
This olive oil cake is very tender and moist. Slightly sweet and porous. The aroma of almonds and vanilla perfectly sets off the smell of olive oil.
What to serve with olive oil cake?
The taste of the cake is self-sufficient. But you can easily serve it with berry and citrus jams. Also, you can cut this cake lengthwise into 2 cakes. Spray some alcohol, such as liquor. Then grease with whipped cream or cream cheese. Or, you can add to the batter before baking:
- Chocolate chips,
- Zest of orange or lemon
- Dried fruits
- Pieces of fresh fruit (peaches / blueberries / raspberries / cherries)
- Nuts (almonds / pistachios)
- Poppy seeds.
Every time I experiment with serving. And this time I decorated the cake with microgreen seedlings.
BAKING TIPS FOR OLIVE OIL CAKE
- To get the cake easily out of the cake pan, go with the tip of the knife between the wall of the pan and the edge of the pie.
- Store this cake at room temperature in cling film or foil.
- If desired, you can cut the cake lengthwise into 2 cakes. Grease the bottom cake with a layer of cream and cover with a second.
How long does olive oil cake last?
At room temperature, this cake is stored for 2-3 days. Wrap it with cling film or foil to protect it from airing. If longer, store in the refrigerator.
How to store olive oil cake?
Such a cake is best stored at room temperature. Wrap the cake carefully in cling film or foil.
Baking with Olive Oil
If substituting olive oil for vegetable oil (or another cooking oil) in your baking recipe, you can use a 1 to 1 ratio. Because of olive oil&aposs distinct flavor, it might affect the flavor of the baked product. Any olive oil is fine, but try using one made with Aberquina olives ($8, Target) or a bottle labeled as "mild" olive oil for a lighter flavor. You can also try using half olive oil and half vegetable/canola oil if you&aposre just running low on one of the oils. Or, if you&aposre trying to keep in the healthier line of fats for cooking, avocado oil can also meet your baking needs.
Not convinced baking with olive oil is for you? We&aposve got some delicious cake recipes that actually call for olive oil. The strong flavor of olive oil actually pairs great with citrus. Try our lemon olive oil cake or grapefruit olive oil cake. Or if you&aposve got some zucchini left from your summer harvest, give this fancy layered olive oil cake a go.