Heavenly Olive Oil Cake Recipe

Simple and Delicious Moist Olive Oil Cake Recipe

Discover the magic of olive oil cake – a tender, moist, and fragrant dessert that’s both foolproof and fabulous. This rustic Italian-inspired treat has taken the culinary world by storm, appearing on trendy restaurant menus and in home kitchens alike.

What makes this cake truly special? Its simplicity. With quality ingredients and minimal effort, you’ll create a dessert that’s greater than the sum of its parts. The star of the show? A robust, flavorful extra-virgin olive oil that shines through in every bite.

Why Olive Oil is the Key to Cake Perfection

Forget what you know about baking with oils. In this recipe, olive oil isn’t just a fat – it’s the foundation of flavor. The gentle heat of baking preserves the oil’s nuanced taste, whether grassy and floral or peppery and bold. This means your choice of olive oil can transform the cake, making each bake a new adventure.

Not sure which olive oil to choose? Explore options from specialty retailers like La Tienda or Gustiamo, or check out our guide to selecting the perfect bottle. Remember, there’s no single “best” oil – the fun is in finding your favorite!

Elevating Your Olive Oil Cake

We’ve crafted this recipe to let the olive oil shine. A base of white sugar, tangy cultured buttermilk, and fine cake flour creates the perfect canvas. A hint of lemon zest and orange flower water adds depth without overpowering the olive oil’s character.

Pro tip: Your choice of cake flour matters! Bleached flour will give you a higher rise and delicate crumb, while unbleached produces a heartier, more rustic texture. Both are delicious – it’s all about your preference.

Mastering the Olive Oil Cake Technique

Creating this cake is surprisingly simple:

  1. Thoroughly whisk the dry ingredients to ensure even distribution.
  2. Add the wet ingredients and emulsify with a balloon whisk until smooth.
  3. Gently incorporate the sifted cake flour.
  4. Bake in a lined pan until golden and just set.

Unlike fussy layer cakes, this rustic beauty is forgiving. Don’t stress if your pan isn’t exactly 3 inches deep – just keep an eye on the baking time and trust your instincts.

The Finishing Touch: Serving Your Masterpiece

Once baked, let the cake cool just enough to handle. Invert it, peel off the parchment, and present it on your favorite serving plate. A dusting of powdered sugar adds elegance, or take it to the next level with seasonal fruit, a drizzle of your prized olive oil, or both!

Enjoy your olive oil cake warm or at room temperature. It’s perfect with tea, as an afternoon treat, or as the grand finale to an Italian-inspired meal.

Olive Oil Cake Recipe


  • 5 1/4 ounces white sugar (about 3/4 cup; 150g), plain or lightly toasted
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon (1g) Diamond Crystal kosher salt; for table salt, use about half as much by volume or the same weight
  • 2 teaspoons freshly grated lemon zest
  • 5 1/4 ounces best-quality extra-virgin olive oil (about 3/4 cup; 150g)
  • 4 ounces cultured low-fat buttermilk or kefir (about 1/2 cup; 110g)
  • 1 large egg (about 1 3/4 ounces; 50g), straight from the fridge
  • 1/2 teaspoon orange flower water
  • 5 3/4 ounces (about 1 1/4 cups, spooned; 165g) cake flour, any style (see notes)
  • Optional garnishes: powdered sugar, fresh fruit, or toasted nuts


  1. Prep Your Space: Position your oven rack in the lower-middle and preheat to 350°F (180°C). Line an 8- by 3-inch anodized aluminum cake pan with parchment and lightly grease with pan spray.
  2. Mix the Dry Ingredients: In a medium bowl, whisk sugar, baking soda, baking powder, and salt for a full minute. This step is crucial for even distribution and texture, so don’t rush it!
  3. Add lemon zest, olive oil, buttermilk, egg, and orange flower water. Whisk vigorously until your batter looks smooth and well-combined. Sift in the cake flour and whisk just until incorporated. Pour the batter into your prepared pan. Bake until the cake is firm but still slightly springy to the touch, about 33 minutes. A toothpick inserted into the center should come out with a few moist crumbs.
  4. Cool the cake in the pan for 10 minutes. Gently loosen the edges with a butter knife, then invert onto a wire rack. Remove the parchment and transfer to your serving plate. Enjoy warm or at room temperature, dusted with powdered sugar or adorned with your favorite toppings.


Experiment with both bleached and unbleached cake flour to find your ideal texture. Bleached flour creates a higher rise and more delicate crumb, while unbleached offers a rustic, heartier feel.

Make-Ahead and Storage

This olive oil cake stays fresh for 2-3 days when tightly wrapped and stored at cool room temperature.

Nutrition Facts (per serving)
332 Calories
20g Fat
37g Carbs
3g Protein
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 8
Amount per serving
Calories 332
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 20g 25%
Saturated Fat 3g 14%
Cholesterol 24mg 8%
Sodium 194mg 8%
Total Carbohydrate 37g 13%
Dietary Fiber 0g 1%
Total Sugars 20g
Protein 3g
Vitamin C 1mg 4%
Calcium 40mg 3%
Iron 2mg 10%
Potassium 53mg 1%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.

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