Lemon Olive Oil Cake

If you love a flavorful, moist cake that is super easy to make, you will definitely want this Lemon Olive Oil Cake recipe! It’s a one-bowl dessert recipe and you’ll love the strong lemon flavor in every single bite. The only equipment you need is a whisk and a bowl. Plus, the cake gets even better as it sits for a few days so it is perfect for taking a slice every night after dinner. Go grab that mixing bowl and let’s get baking!

Lemon Olive Oil Cake

Why I Love This Recipe

If you’ve been a reader here at MKE long enough, you know there isn’t much that comes between me and a great dessert. And when it comes to cake, don’t you dare try to pass off a dry, crumbly cake as something that is worth my time on the treadmill. It needs to be dense, moist, and packed with flavor. Something like my favorite zucchini layer cake. Or, when I’m in the mood for chocolate, it doesn’t get any better than this easy chocolate lava cake served warm with vanilla ice cream.

I think what I love most about this Lemon Olive Oil cake though is the flavor. A great lemon dessert is always a hit for me and this is hands down the best-tasting lemon cake I’ve ever made. It isn’t tip-toeing around the lemon. It is right there at the front of your pallet with just a hint of that olive oil at the end. Next time I make it, I am going to give extra virgin olive oil a try to see if I like an even strong olive oil flavor.

What is Olive Oil Cake?

As the name suggests, olive oil cake is made using olive oil as the source of fat instead of the standard vegetable oil or butter in most cake recipes. It is a classic Mediterranean recipe that dates back to when olive oil was the most abundant fat source in that region of the world and was significantly less expensive than butter.

Lemon Olive Oil Cake

Lemon Olive Oil Cake Ingredients & Tools

  • Large eggs
  • Granulated sugar
  • Regular olive oil, or extra virgin olive oil if you want the flavor to stand out
  • Lemon zest
  • Fresh lemon juice
  • Vanilla extract
  • Baking soda
  • Baking powder
  • Kosher salt
  • All-purpose flour
  • Powdered sugar, optional
  • 10-inch springform pan
  • Large mixing bowl

How to Make Lemon Olive Oil Cake

The amount of time listed below is mainly baking time so don’t let that deter you. The active time to mix this all together is literally 5 minutes.

Time needed: 1 hour

How to Make Lemon Olive Oil Cake

  1. Properly prepare the springform pan

    If you are going through the effort of making a lemon olive oil cake, you don’t want it to stick. Be sure to grease the inside of the pan well and use a parchment paper round on the bottom of the pan for extra insurance against it sticking. You can wrap the outside of the pan with foil if you are worried about it dripping out of the seam, but that will keep the bottom of the cake from properly browning. Instead, place a cookie sheet under the cake pan if you are worried.

  2. Prepare the batter using the proper technique and order for the best texture

    There are definitely benefits to understanding the food science in the steps of creating a cake. The importance of whisking the sugar into the eggs, emulsifying the oil, and alternating the wet and dry ingredients as you gently mix are all important to the density, texture, and crumb of the baked cake.

  3. Don’t rush the cooling of the finished cake

    If you try to remove the cake from the springform pan as soon as it comes out of the oven, it will only fall apart because it is too hot. Letting the cake cool for 10 minutes before removing the sides and bottom gives the cake enough time to set up.

Lemon Olive Oil Cake

Recipe FAQs

What is special about olive oil cake?

Olive oil cake is known for being super moist, nicely dense, and not overly sweet. It is often flavored with lemon or orange. Depending on the type of olive oil used in the recipe, it doesn’t necessarily have the taste of the olive oil, unless extra virgin oil is used.

Is olive oil cake healthier than regular cake?

The answer to this question depends on how you define healthy. Olive oil cake does not have few calories, carbs, or overall fat than regular cake. But when compared to a cake made with butter, olive oil cake has about 50% less saturated fat than butter. Olive oil also has monounsaturated fats and antioxidants that are good for your heart.

Lemon Olive Oil Cake

Does lemon olive oil cake taste like olive oil?

It depends on the type of olive oil you use in the recipe. Extra virgin olive oil is made from the first pressing of the olives and has the strongest olive flavor. A regular or light oil is made from later pressings so it has less olive flavor. This lemon olive oil cake recipe has regular olive oil and does not taste like olives. If you want the flavor of olives in the cake, use extra virgin olive oil.

Can I make olive oil cake with regular oil?

Yes, you can make this recipe using canola or vegetable oil. The flavor will be slightly different but it would still be a delicious cake.

How to make lemon olive oil cake in a loaf pan

If you want to make this lemon olive oil cake in a loaf pan instead of a springform pan, you can keep the recipe as is and bake it in two loaf pans, or cut the recipe in half and use a single loaf pan. Bake it at the same oven temperature and start checking for doneness at 35 minutes.

Looking for More Delicious Lemon Recipes?

I know this Lemon Olive Oil Cake will be hard to beat, but if you love lemon desserts as much as I do, be sure to check out these other amazing options!

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Lemon Olive Oil Cake

Lemon Olive Oil Cake

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The perfectly moist and dense lemon cake you will ever try!

  • Total Time: 1 hour
  • Yield: 12 servings 1x

Ingredients

Scale

3 large eggs, room temperature

1 1/2 cups granulated sugar

1 cup regular olive oil

Zest of three lemons

1/2 cup fresh lemon juice, about 2 lemons

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon kosher salt

2 cups all purpose flour

2 cup milk

Instructions

  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Prepare a 10″ springform pan by greasing the interior and lining the bottom with a parchment paper cake round.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, use a large whisk to beat together the eggs. Keep whisking while slowly adding the sugar. You want the sugar to begin to dissolve into the eggs. 
  3. Continue whisking while you drizzle in the olive oil. 
  4. Add the lemon zest, lemon juice, and vanilla. Mix well.
  5. Use a small mesh strainer to sift the baking soda, baking powder, kosher salt, and flour onto a sheet of parchment paper. 
  6. Gently mix in half the dry ingredients, then half of the milk. Do not over-mix. You want lumps and streaks of flour. Repeat with the remaining dry and wet ingredients, again leaving lumps and streaks of flour. Over-mixing will create a tough cake.
  7. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake on the center rack of your oven for 50-60 minutes, or until the cake is done.
  8. Test for doneness with a cake tester or toothpick inserted in the center of the cake. The cake is perfect when moist crumbs stick to the tester. Wet batter means the cake needs more time. If the tester is dry, the cake is over-baked. Check the top of the cake at 40 minutes into the total bake time. If it is getting too dark, lay a sheet of foil loosely over the top, shiny side facing up. This will slow the browning of the top of the cake.
  9. Let the cake cool for 10 minutes in the pan before gently removing the side of the pan. Place a cooling rack on top of the cake, flip the cake over, and remove both the bottom piece of the pan as well as the sheet of parchment. 
  10. Leave the cake upside down until it is fully cooled, then flip onto your cake platter and dust with powdered sugar if desired. 

Notes

For a more pronounced olive oil flavor, use extra virgin oil instead of regular.

To make this recipe in a loaf pan, this recipe as written will make two loaves, or you can cut the recipe in half for a single loaf. Bake as directed but start checking for doneness after 35 minutes of baking.. 

  • Author: Carole Jones
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 50 minutes
  • Category: Dessert
  • Method: Baked
  • Cuisine: Mediterranean

Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 1/12
  • Calories: 369 kcal
  • Sugar: 27 g
  • Sodium: 248 mg
  • Fat: 20 g
  • Saturated Fat: 14 g
  • Unsaturated Fat: 3 g
  • Trans Fat: 1 g
  • Carbohydrates: 43 g
  • Fiber: 1 g
  • Protein: 5 g
  • Cholesterol: 50 mg

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Carole Jones

Carole Jones is an Arizona-based cookbook author & food blogger. She's authored The 30 Minute Cooking From Frozen Cookbook and the self-published Take 5: Chicken e-cookbook. For the past 15 years, Carole has shared her culinary adventures cooking and baking for her six brutally honest children here on My Kitchen Escapades. Hot, crusty bread is Carole's love language, but her two adorable grandchildren are a close second. Yes, second. Don't judge.

2 comments

Barb
1 year ago

Would a 9 x 9 square pan work for the recipe?

Carole Jones
1 year ago

Hi Barb! Yes, you can use a square pan. Not sure about the baking time so just keep checking for doneness as described in the recipe.

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