Olive Oil Cake
You’ll love this simple olive oil cake, infused with lemon, almond, and a hint of sherry. So moist, flavorful, and easy to make!
*Original publish date: July 12, 2018.*
Today I am sharing a recipe that is totally different from anything else on this site: olive oil cake!
On this site, you’ll mostly find cake recipes that are made with butter and lots of flavors, frostings, and garnishes. This Banana Pudding Cake is a great example, and so is this Black Forest Cake and this Pumpkin Bundt Cake.
But today we have an olive oil cake recipe that is simple, delicious, and so elegant.
Table of Contents
- What is olive oil cake?
- What’s great about this recipe
- What does olive oil cake taste like?
- Special equipment
- How to make olive oil cake
- How to serve
- Frequently asked questions
- A few more of my favorite cake recipes
What is olive oil cake?
Olive oil cake is an oil-based cake that’s made with olive oil (as I’m sure you probably suspected!).
It’s moist and light, and very easy to make.
It’s a really nice way to end a meal and a great afternoon pick-me-up.
What’s great about this recipe
- Easy to make: This recipe comes together in a snap!
- Few ingredients: You’ll only need a few pantry staples to make it.
- Out of the ordinary: It’s not every day you find a cake quite like this!
- Healthier for your heart: Olive oil has less saturated fat so it’s considered one of the heart-healthiest fats.
What does olive oil cake taste like?
This olive oil cake is moist and very tender, subtly sweet, with a pronounced olive oil flavor and a hint of lemon and almond. It honors its Spanish roots with a splash of sherry, but if you prefer to bake without alcohol, you can leave it out.
Different kinds of olive oils will yield different flavors. Because it’s the star ingredient of this dish, you want to be sure to choose one that you really love.
Extra virgin olive oils will range in flavor from fruity to pungent to bitter, and everywhere in between!
For what you see here, I chose to use an Arbequina olive oil from Spain. It was light, fruity and buttery-tasting, and it complimented the citrus, almond, and sherry in the cake beautifully.
Almond: A splash of almond extract for its sweet, aromatic flavor, plus almond meal (aka: almond flour) to give the cake nuttiness and added structure. Almond meal is just finely ground almonds. You can buy it in the gluten-free section of the grocery store. Or if you like, you can make your own in the food processor. Just grind the almonds as finely as possible.
Sugar: Sugar adds sweetness (obvs!) but it also aids in browning and keeps things moist, since it’s hydrophilic (this means it loves water, in other words, it draws moisture in). Regular white sugar is fine, or sub for another type of sweetener if you like. As long as it swaps 1:1 for granulated sugar it should work.
Lemon: The zest of one lemon lifts the flavors and adds a lovely citrusy zing. Just run a microplane grater over the outside of the lemon, taking only the outermost yellow part (the white pith can be bitter).
Baking powder: This olive oil cake recipe utilizes baking powder to leaven (or “lift”) it. This is a double-acting leavener, so it starts the batter rising both when liquid is added to it, as well as when it hits the hot oven. Baking soda will not work in this recipe because there isn’t anything acidic to activate it. Baking powder has a little bit of that acid built in.
Salt: Salt carries the flavors and intensifies them. The end result won’t taste salty, but it will make everything so much more flavorful! I like kosher salt best because it doesn’t have any additives (table salt usually contains iodine which can leave a bitter taste), so the flavor is pure. It’s also inexpensive and easy to find in a regular grocery store.
Olive oil: Choose an olive oil that you like the taste of. The flavor will really come through!
Milk: Whatever kind you keep on hand. Even a plant-based milk will work. This ingredient helps to make the cake nice and moist.
Eggs: Eggs lend richness and provide structure to the cake. Use large chicken eggs or a plant-based product that subs 1:1. It’s best if they’re at room temperature, but I don’t find this to be critical.
I also like to add a splash of sherry, but this is completely optional!
See the recipe card at the bottom of this post for exact measurements.
- Cake pan(s): I’ve used a 5-cup capacity mini bundt pan, but you could also use a loaf pan if you like.
- Non-stick spray: So the cakes slip out of the pan easily.
- Measuring cups and spoons: For measuring ingredients accurately. Follow this guide: How to Measure Ingredients for Baking.
- Mixing bowls: One large and one smaller, for the liquid ingredients.
- Whisk: To create a smooth batter.
- Silicone spatula: Helps to get every drop of batter out of the bowl.
- Wire rack: On which to cool the cake(s).
How to make olive oil cake
This is one of the easiest cakes you’ll ever bake! You’ll love how simple it is to make.
Step 1: Combine the dry ingredients
Start by gathering all your ingredients. You’ll need flour, almond meal/flour (which is just finely ground almonds), sugar, baking powder, lemon zest, and salt. Those are your dry ingredients!
Whisk them up in a large mixing bowl, just to get them combined.
Step 2: Combine the liquid ingredients
For liquid ingredients, we are using olive oil (of course!), milk, egg, sherry (optional), and almond extract.
Whisk these together in the smaller bowl, until smooth.
Step 3: Add liquid to dry
Pour the liquid ingredients into the larger bowl with the dry mix, and whisk everything together.
The batter will be smooth and a little on the thin side.
Step 4: Bake
Just pour the batter into your greased pan and bake!
You’ll know your olive oil cake is done when it feels springy in the center. A toothpick inserted in the thickest part should come out clean or with a few moist crumbs.
How to serve
This olive oil cake is delicious on its own, with just a little powdered sugar for garnish.
But I like it even better with a few fresh berries alongside!
For the pics you see here, I tossed blackberries with a little sugar and a tablespoon of sherry and garnished with a sprig of fresh rosemary. The woodsy flavors balance the richness of the cake in the most wonderful way!
Frequently asked questions
I love my mini-bundt pan, but if you don’t have one, or if you prefer a more traditional presentation, this olive oil cake can also be baked in a 5-cup loaf pan, or in a 9-inch diameter x 2-inch deep cake pan.
Or you can double the recipe and bake a 2-layer cake, a 3-layer 6-inch diameter cake, a 9×13 sheet cake, or 24 cupcakes.
Just bear in mind that whenever you bake in a different sized pan, the bake time will need to be adjusted. You’ll know your cake is done when it feels springy and a toothpick inserted in the thickest part comes out clean.
You can keep these cakes (once cool) at room temperature for 2 to 3 days. You can slip them into a zip-top bag or wrap them with plastic wrap to keep them from getting stale.
If they hang around any longer than that, they should go into the fridge or freezer. They can last in the fridge for at least a week, and in the freezer for around a month.
This recipe makes 5 mini bundt cakes. Each one is 1 serving.
The nutritional info in the recipe card below is for 1/5th the whole batch.
A few more of my favorite cake recipes
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Olive Oil Cake
For the olive oil cake
To make the olive oil cake:
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and mist a 5-cup mini-bundt pan with non-stick spray.
- Place the flour, almond meal, sugar, lemon zest, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl and whisk to combine.
- Place the olive oil, milk, egg, sherry (if using), and almond extract in a smaller bowl, and whisk to combine.
- Pour the batter into the prepared cake pan and bake for 18 to 22 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the thickest part of a cake comes out clean.
- Cool in the pan for 20 minutes, then turn the cakes out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
For the garnish:
- Toss the blackberries, sugar, and sherry together in a small bowl to coat.
- Serve alongside the cakes, with a sprig of fresh rosemary.
- Dust with powdered sugar.