Authentic Lemon Olive Oil Cake

This delicious lemon olive oil cake has a rich flavor, subtly sweet, with a touch of citrus and a light and fluffy texture.

AUTHENTIC LEMON OLIVE OIL CAKE

Many Mediterranean countries have some form of an olive oil cake. For example, in Greece we make an olive oil cake with yogurt ( see it here in the form of a cupcake), we also have vegan olive oil cakes (coming soon). This particular cake is inspired by a traditional Italian olive oil cake. The result is a very light, tender and airy cake and so good! Tender on the inside with a golden crunchy outside layer, subtly sweet and so flavorful.

What is Olive Oil Cake?

Olive oil cakes go back to traditional Mediterranean cooking. The use of olive oil in baking in the Mediterranean is a baking tradition, because  olive oil was abundant and much cheaper than butter. Olive oil cake is a cake made from flour, sugar, olive oil and sometimes lemon or orange juice and zest. Sometimes it may include milk, yogurt or eggs or it may be a vegan version, particularly in Greek cuisine where traditionally they abstained from animal products due to religious practices almost half the year.

What does Olive Oil Cake taste like?

It can be a dense cake or a light and fluffy one, depending on how you prepare it. It  has rich flavor (not heavy) with some fruitiness to it. Olive oil makes the cake moist and basically takes on the flavorings you add (usually citrus or nuts like almonds).

Is Olive Oil Cake Healthy?

Yes, by using olive oil instead of butter you are eliminating a lot of the saturated fat that comes with butter, but you are also getting the good monounsaturated fats and some antioxidants in that cake. However, it is still a dessert and desserts were consumed and made for special occasions, they are not an everyday thing.

Authentic Lemon Olive Oil Cake

Lemon Olive Oil Cake Ingredients

I have noted most of the ingredients in weight and volume. Generally it is better to weigh your ingredients when baking.

  • Olive Oil: You want to use extra virgin olive oil. Make sure the olive oil is fresh. Do not use old or bad olive oil, it will ruin this cake (and any recipe actually). Also look for mild tasting olive oils for baking. For example, early harvest olive oils tend to have a more peppery taste as also certain olive varieties, you may want to avoid those when baking. And finally, do not use flavored or olive oils or olive oils with herbs in them.
  • Flour: For this recipe I used Italian 00 flour, it is a very fine flour that is also used for pizza, it has a bit less gluten in it as well. Having said that you can substitute for all-purpose flour (the cake may be slightly chewier). Please note for baking it is better to weigh the ingredients rather than measuring them out in a cup. Now I have to note that many readers are surprised to see white flour used in the Mediterranean diet and cooking. White flour was considered a luxury item (as well as sugar), and so since sweets were made for celebrations and holidays, it made sense that would use “special” ingredients such as white flour.
  • Eggs: I use whole eggs here
  • Milk: I used 2% milk, make sure it is at room temperature.
  • Lemon juice and zest: Make sure it is fresh lemon juice. You may also substitute for orange juice instead.
  • Sugar: White granulated sugar is used for the cake and you can sprinkle a bit of powdered sugar on top.
  • Baking powder: Make sure your baking powder is fresh. If you are not sure, just put some baking powder in mug and add boiling water, if it bubbles, it is ok.
Authentic Lemon Olive Oil Cake

How to Make Lemon Olive Oil Cake

  1. Preheat oven. Start by preheating the oven to 350 F (180 C).
  2. Prepare the springform pan: Grease the pan (including sides) with olive oil. Sprinkle the base of the pan with granulated sugar (about ½ teaspoon). Set aside. Note: I used an 8 inch (20 cm pan) and made a nice taller cake. You can also use 9 inch (22 cm) pan, it will be slightly shorter cake and you reduce baking time by a few minutes.
  3. Mix Dry ingredients. In a medium sized bowl, add the flour, baking powder, and a pinch of salt. Mix and set aside.
  4. Whip the eggs. In a large bowl using a hand mixer whip the eggs for 3-4 minutes until thick, than add the sugar and mix for a another 2-3 minutes. The extra whipping gives it an airy texture.
  5. Mix wet ingredients. Add the olive oil, milk, and lemon juice and lemon zest and mix until everything is well incorporated.
  6. Add the dry ingredients gradually to the wet mixture mixing on low speed until all ingredients are incorporated.
  7. Empty the mixture in the prepared cake pan, smoothing the surface so that it is even. Sprinkle ½ tsp granulated sugar on the surface.
  8. Place the cake in the oven and lower the temperature to 340 F (170 C).
  9. Bake for 30-35 minutes. Check doneness with a toothpick. Insert a wooden toothpick near the center of the cake, toothpick should come out clean when cake is ready. Note: If you are using a wider pan, start checking for doneness at 25 minutes.
  10. Remove from oven and let it cool for 15 minutes.
  11. Remove ring from pan. Let it cool completely. Optionally you can sprinkle with a bit of powdered sugar.

Storing and Freezing Olive Oil Cake

Store olive oil cake wrapped tightly in plastic wrap for up to 4 days. To freeze, wrap in plastic wrap and then wrap in aluminum foil and freeze for up to 3 months.

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Authentic Lemon Olive Oil Cake

AUTHENTIC LEMON OLIVE OIL CAKE
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 35 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes
This delicious olive oil cake has a rich flavor,subtly sweet, with a touch of citrus and a light and fluffy texture.
Course: cake, Dessert
Cuisine: Italian, Mediterranean
Keyword: Cake, Olive Oil Cake
Servings: 6
Author: Elena Paravantes RDN
Print Recipe Pin Recipe

Ingredients

  • 300 g (10.5 oz or 1 ¾ cups + 2 tbsp) of flour 00
  • 3 tsp baking powder
  • a pinch of salt
  • 3 eggs
  • 180 g (¾ cup + 2 tbsp) of sugar
  • 100 ml (3.3 oz or 5 ½ tbsp) of olive oil
  • 100 ml (3.3 oz or 5 ½ tbsp) of milk
  • grated zest of 2 lemons
  • 3 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • Powdered Sugar for decoration(optional)

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven at 350 F (180 C).
  • Grease an 8-9 inch (see notes below) springform pan, including sides with olive oil. Sprinkle the base of the pan with granulated sugar (about ½ teaspoon). Set aside.
  • In a medium sized bowl, add the flour, baking powder, and a pinch of salt. Mix and set aside.
  • In a large bowl using a hand mixer whip the eggs for 3-4 minutes until thick, than add the sugar and mix for another 2-3 minutes.
  • Add the olive oil, milk, and lemon juice and lemon zest and mix until everything is well incorporated.
  • Add the dry ingredients gradually to the wet mixture mixing on low speed until all ingredients are incorporated. Do not overmix.
  • Empty the mixture in the prepared cake pan, smoothing the surface so that it is even. Sprinkle ½ tsp granulated sugar on the surface.
  • Place the cake in the oven and lower the temperature to 340 F (170 C).
  • Bake for 30-35 minutes. Check doneness with a toothpick. Insert a wooden toothpick near the center of the cake, toothpick should come out clean when cake is ready.
  • Remove from the oven and let it cool for 15 minutes.
  • Remove ring from pan. Let it cool completely. Optionally you can sprinkle with a bit of powdered sugar.

Notes

Cake Pan Size
I used an 8 inch (20 cm pan) and made a nice taller cake. You can also use 9 inch (22 cm) pan, it will be slightly shorter cake and you reduce baking time by a few minutes. If you are using a wider pan, start checking for doneness at 25 minutes.
Storing and Freezing Olive Oil Cake
Store olive oil cake wrapped tightly in plastic wrap for up to 4 days. To freeze, wrap in plastic wrap and then wrap in aluminum foil and freeze for up to 3 months.
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Photos by Elena Paravantes © All Rights Reserved

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