Olive Oil Cake

Tested & Perfected Recipes

Don’t let the simplicity fool you — this lemon-scented olive oil cake is exceptionally good.

Don’t let the simplicity and plain-looking appearance of this lemon-scented olive oil cake fool you — it is deceptively delicious. The olive oil perfumes the cake with a rich fruitiness and also keeps the cake moist for days on end. In addition, cutting the flour with a bit of cornmeal enriches the flavor and lends a pleasant texture. The cake is perfect on its own, especially slightly warm from the oven, but it’s even better dressed up with macerated strawberries (instructions below) or a citrusy fruit salad. Since the flavor of the olive oil is prominent, be sure to use a good one (two good supermarket brands are Lucini and Colavita).

What You’ll Need To Make Olive Oil Cake

olive oil cake ingredients

Step-by-Step Instructions

To begin, add the flour, cornmeal, baking powder, and salt to a medium bowl.

dry ingredients for olive oil cake

Whisk together.

whisked dry ingredients

Add the eggs and sugar to the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment (or beaters).

eggs and sugar in mixer

Beat on high speed for 30 seconds.

beaten eggs and sugar

Continue beating on high and add the oil in a slow, steady stream.

beating in olive oil

Reduce the speed to low and gradually pour in the milk. Add the vanilla and lemon zest and mix on low until combined.

adding lemon zest and vanilla

Add the dry ingredients to the batter.

adding dry ingredients

Beat on medium-low speed until evenly combined, scraping down the sides and bottom of the bowl as necessary. Do not overmix.

olive oil cake batter

Pour the batter into the prepared pan.

batter in the pan

Bake for about 35 minutes, until the top is golden brown and domed, and a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean. Let the cake cool in the pan on a rack for about 15 minutes.

olive oil cake resting on rack (in pan)

Remove the cake from the pan and let cool on the rack until ready to serve.

olive oil cake cooling on rack

Serve slightly warm or at room temperature.

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Olive Oil Cake

Don’t let the simplicity fool you — this lemon-scented olive oil cake is exceptionally good.

Servings: 1 (8-inch) cake
Prep Time: 15 Minutes
Cook Time: 35 Minutes
Total Time: 50 Minutes

Ingredients

  • 1-1/4 cups all-purpose flour, spooned into measuring cup and leveled-off
  • 1/4 cup yellow cornmeal
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2/3 cup good-quality extra-virgin olive oil, such as Lucini or Colavita
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons packed lemon zest, from 2 lemons
  • Macerated strawberries, for serving (optional; see note)

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F and set an oven rack in the middle position. Spray an 8-inch cake pan with nonstick cooking spray with flour. Line the bottom of the pan with a round of parchment paper (no need to spray the paper with cooking spray).
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cornmeal, baking powder, and salt.
  3. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment (or beaters), beat the eggs and sugar at high speed for 30 seconds. Continue beating on high and add the oil in a slow, steady stream. Reduce the speed to low and gradually pour in the milk. Add the vanilla and lemon zest and mix on low until combined.
  4. Add the dry ingredients to the batter and beat on medium-low speed until evenly combined, scraping down the sides and bottom of the bowl as necessary. Do not overmix.
  5. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for about 35 minutes, until the top is golden brown and domed, and a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean. Let the cake cool in the pan on a rack for about 15 minutes, then remove the cake from the pan and let cool on the rack until ready to serve. The cake can be served slightly warm or at room temperature. Serve with macerated strawberries, if desired. The cake will keep well for up to 4 days, under a cake dome or covered with foil at room temperature.
  6. Note: To make macerated strawberries, combine one pound of strawberries (halved or quartered, depending on their size) with 2 tablespoons of sugar. Toss until the strawberries are evenly coated with the sugar. Let sit for about 30 minutes at room temperature, tossing occasionally, until the strawberry juices are released.
  7. Note: The nutritional information does not include the optional macerated strawberries.

Nutrition Information

Powered by Edamam

  • Per serving (8 servings)
  • Calories: 359
  • Fat: 21 g
  • Saturated fat: 3 g
  • Carbohydrates: 39 g
  • Sugar: 20 g
  • Fiber: 1 g
  • Protein: 5 g
  • Sodium: 225 mg
  • Cholesterol: 71 mg

This website is written and produced for informational purposes only. I am not a certified nutritionist and the nutritional data on this site has not been evaluated or approved by a nutritionist or the Food and Drug Administration. Nutritional information is offered as a courtesy and should not be construed as a guarantee. The data is calculated through an online nutritional calculator, Edamam.com. Although I do my best to provide accurate nutritional information, these figures should be considered estimates only. Varying factors such as product types or brands purchased, natural fluctuations in fresh produce, and the way ingredients are processed change the effective nutritional information in any given recipe. Furthermore, different online calculators provide different results depending on their own nutrition fact sources and algorithms. To obtain the most accurate nutritional information in a given recipe, you should calculate the nutritional information with the actual ingredients used in your recipe, using your preferred nutrition calculator.

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Reviews & Comments

  • This cake is so easy to make and is so tasty with the macerated strawberries. Thank you for an amazing recipe!
    I was wondering if it would be as good if blueberries are used instead of strawberries?

    • — May on September 4, 2021
    • Reply
    • I think blueberries would be geat too (and glad you enjoyed the cake)!

      • — Jenn on September 6, 2021
      • Reply
  • Delicious but it didn’t turn out to be the color of your cake, more pale yellow!

    • — James on September 4, 2021
    • Reply
  • Hi Jenn

    Can I use classic olive oil instead of extra virgin oil for this recipe?
    Thanks

    Sindy

    • — Sindy Ang on September 4, 2021
    • Reply
    • Sure, Sindy, that should be fine. Enjoy!

      • — Jenn on September 6, 2021
      • Reply
  • What brand of all purpose flour do you recommend?
    I made this cake and it was fabulous!!

    • — Rena Shenkarow on August 15, 2021
    • Reply
    • So glad you enjoyed it! My favorite brand of all-purpose flour is King Arthur.

      • — Jenn on August 16, 2021
      • Reply
  • Hi Jen- can I use buttermilk here instead of milk? I am a huge fan of buttermilk:)

    • — Beverley on August 12, 2021
    • Reply
    • Hi Beverley, I’d recommend sticking with regular milk here — sorry!

      • — Jenn on August 12, 2021
      • Reply
    • Hi Jen

      Can I use classic olive oil for the olive oil cake recipe?

      • — Sindy Ang on September 1, 2021
      • Reply
      • Sure, that should work. Hope you enjoy!

        • — Jenn on September 5, 2021
        • Reply
  • Wonderful cake!

    • — Elsa on August 10, 2021
    • Reply
  • My cake is not what I expected. It tasted more like cornbread (tasty cornbread)…not sure what to think.

    • — Irene M on August 9, 2021
    • Reply
    • Hi Irene, it’s designed to have a bit of a cornbread taste but if you don’t like it, next time you can replace the cornmeal with more flour.

      • — Jenn on August 10, 2021
      • Reply
  • Yes. Now that you mention it. I did.

    • — Irene on August 9, 2021
    • Reply
    • Hi Irene, that explains it. You’ll get a taller cake if you use an 8-inch cake pan.

      • — Jenn on August 9, 2021
      • Reply
  • Did you double the ingredients in the cake you took a picture of. While wonderful mine did not rise as much

    • — Irene on August 5, 2021
    • Reply
    • Hi Irene, I didn’t double the ingredients – is it possible you used a 9-inch cake pan instead of an 8-inch?

      • — Jenn on August 6, 2021
      • Reply
  • The best Olive Oil Cake I’ve ever had! The lemon is a fabulous addition. Not goin’ lie – I had to go back for a second serving of this dessert!

    • — Terri F on August 4, 2021
    • Reply
  • Can I use a 9-inch cake pan?

    • — Ashley on August 3, 2021
    • Reply
    • Hi Ashley, You can but the cake will be pretty thin. Also, it may take less time in the oven so keep a close eye on it. Please LMK how it turns out if you make it!

      • — Jenn on August 3, 2021
      • Reply
  • Made this cake today. It was super easy and everyone agreed it was delicious. Reduced the sugar but otherwise made it exactly as written. Served it with strawberries and a scoop of vanilla ice cream. But the cake was wonderful even without the strawberries and ice cream.

    • — Irene on August 2, 2021
    • Reply
  • Divine!

    • — Maria on August 2, 2021
    • Reply
  • Oh my, this was so good!! I couldn’t stop eating it; it was slightly warm and so delicious. I didn’t put strawberries or anything on it and loved it just the way it was. Tomorrow I’ll probably add fruit. This was simple but really good.

    • — Lisa B on August 1, 2021
    • Reply
  • Any way I can modify this recipe to feed a crowd? I’d like to be able to use a sheet pan and cut it into small squares. If not this recipe, is there another you’d recommend for large batch baking?

    • — Adrienne on July 30, 2021
    • Reply
    • Hi Adrienne, you could double this and bake it in a 9 x 13-inch dish. The baking time may be slightly different so keep a close eye on it. Please LMK how it turns out!

      • — Jenn on August 3, 2021
      • Reply
  • Came out perfectly…nice lemon flavor. Think that the strawberries would take it to the next level, Jenn, I used my whip attachment. How is this better than the paddle?

    • — Carol Winkelman on July 30, 2021
    • Reply
    • Glad you enjoyed it, Carol! Using the whisk attachment helps incorporate more air into the batter, which gives the cake structure and volume.

      • — Jenn on July 30, 2021
      • Reply
  • Hello Jenn,
    Can I use instant polenta for this recipe?
    Franca

    • — Franca on July 29, 2021
    • Reply
    • Hi Franca, Yes that should work. Please LMK how it turns out!

      • — Jenn on July 30, 2021
      • Reply
  • Can you substitute almond flour? I got some because I was cooking something for someone who had to be gluten free and now I have a big bag of it. Thanks.

    • — Mary pyche on July 29, 2021
    • Reply
    • I don’t recommend it, Mary – sorry!

      • — Jenn on July 30, 2021
      • Reply
      • Can’t wait to make this. One reviewer said her cake collapsed, why would this happen?

        • — Pamela Harriman on July 30, 2021
        • Reply
        • Hi Pamela, I suspect it was a bit underbaked. Hope you enjoy and please LMK how it turns out!

          • — Jenn on July 31, 2021
          • Reply
          • Hi Jen,

            Can almond milk be used in lieu of reduced fat milk?

            Thanks,
            Janelle

            • — Janelle on August 6, 2021
          • Sure, Janelle – I think that will work. Please LMK how it turns out!

            • — Jenn on August 6, 2021
      • There’s a great gluten free cake recipe on King Arthur website – fyi for all those who need gluten free alternatives.

        • — Beverley on August 12, 2021
        • Reply
  • So just to update…I stuck this back in the oven. The bake time for me is much longer…almost an hour.

    • — Michelle on July 29, 2021
    • Reply
  • Just made this today. First time. Came out beautiful from the oven but then collapsed. Have not cut into it yet.

    • — Michelle on July 29, 2021
    • Reply
  • Any tips for making this GF? Or warnings not too? 🙂

    • — Jaimie on July 29, 2021
    • Reply
    • Hi Jamie, I haven’t made a gluten-free version of this, but I think it would work. I’d recommend a good all-purpose gluten-free flour like this one. Please LMK how it turns out if you try it!

      • — Jenn on July 29, 2021
      • Reply
  • Hey Jen, huge fan here! Can I substitute milk for almond milk? Thanks for all the great recipes and I can’t wait for the second cookbook!

    • — Mara on July 29, 2021
    • Reply
    • Sure, Mara – that should work. Please LMK how it turns out!

      • — Jenn on July 29, 2021
      • Reply

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