This amazing olive oil cake is simple to make and so delicious! The cake has a subtle hint of lemon and stays incredibly moist for days.

It took me years to finally try olive oil cake. Once I did, I finally understood the hype! The olive oil flavor is fragrant without overpowering. It is one of the most delicious cakes you’ll ever meet.

Triangle of olive oil cake on white cake server.

One-Bowl Cake Batter

This cake is a simple, one-bowl wonder.

Here are few simple tricks to make this easy cake extra delicious:

  1. Use fresh lemon zest and fresh lemon juice. The lemon flavor is subtle, but it’s important!
  2. Don’t skip or skimp on the step that whips the sugar, lemon zest and eggs until thick and creamy.
  3. Make sure eggs, sour cream and milk are at room temperature. Annoying, I know, but it will help the cake rise and bake properly.
  4. After adding the dry ingredients, mix, but don’t over mix.

Sidenote: to avoid small bubbles popping up on the surface or throughout the crumb of the cake, lightly tap the cake pan on the counter several times before baking. You can see from the pictures that the little bubbles don’t bother me. 🙃

The Right Olive Oil for Olive Oil Cake

Every day extra-virgin olive oil works great in olive oil cake. I use the Kirkland brand from Costco. It’s not refined, pure or organic, although you can play around with any of those varieties of olive oil.

If you’re worried about dumping in a healthy dose of olive oil (usually reserved for savory meat- and veggie-cooking…at least around here) to a cake, of all things, you aren’t alone.

This was one of my biggest reservations about ever making (or heaven forbid, falling in love with) olive oil cake. Silly me. That fear was completely unfounded and all it left me with was years without this magical cake in my life.

While the olive oil certainly lends a unique, light and fruity flavor to the cake, it isn’t over powering in a way that is off-putting or weird. It’s wonderful! And it is the key that allows this cake to stay moist for days.

How to Serve Olive Oil Cake

I rather like the simple round olive oil cake served on a platter with a light dusting of powdered sugar. It’s understated but elegant.

Serving the cake with fresh berries and/or whipped cream (sweetened or not), is also incredibly delicious.

The cake recipe could also easily be doubled to assemble and frost like a traditional layer cake, if you’d like. Although, I have to be honest, I think this cake is best served a bit more simply without frosting that has the potential to overwhelm the delicately flavored cake.

Triangle of olive oil cake dusted with powdered sugar cut out of whole cake.

If, for whatever reason, you have avoided making olive oil cake a part of your life, I highly encourage you to change your ways. Like, immediately.

This effortless cake is truly one of the most delicious cakes I’ve ever had. It is the perfect end cap to a tasty dinner, and it would be delightful served at a bridal or baby shower…or any number of parties!

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Triangle of olive oil cake with bite taken out with whipped cream and blueberries on white plate.

Amazing Olive Oil Cake

5 stars (13 ratings)

Ingredients

  • ¾ cup (160 g) granulated sugar
  • 2 large (100 g) eggs, room temperature
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon zest
  • cup (135 g) extra virgin olive oil (see note)
  • ½ cup (113 g) sour cream or plain Greek yogurt, room temperature
  • ¼ cup (62 g) milk (preferably not skim), room temperature
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 ⅓ cups (190 g) all-purpose flour
  • ¾ teaspoon baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • Powdered sugar, for dusting

Instructions 

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line the bottom of a 9-inch round cake pan with parchment. Lightly grease the bottom and sides. Set aside.
  • In a large bowl, add the sugar, eggs, and lemon zest and beat with an electric mixer (stand or handheld) until thick and lighter in color, 2 to 3 minutes (don't short this step).
  • Add olive oil, sour cream, milk and lemon juice. Mix until well-combined.
  • Add flour, baking powder and salt. Mix until the batter is combined and no dry streaks remain.
  • Spread the batter evenly in the prepared pan. If small air bubbles popping up on the surface or throughout the cake crumb will bother you, lightly tap the cake pan on the counter three or four times before baking.
  • Bake for 25 to 30 minutes until the top of the cake springs back lightly to the touch and a toothpick comes out clean.
  • Let the cake cool in the pan for 5 to 7 minutes before turning out onto a cooling rack or serving plate. Let cool completely.
  • Dust the top of the cake lightly with powdered sugar. Serve alone or with fresh berries and/or sweetened whipped cream.

Notes

Olive Oil: I use Kirkland Signature (Costco) brand extra virgin olive oil for this cake. You can experiment with different types of olive oil (might be labeled: light/refined/pure), but an every day, good-quality extra virgin olive oil will work great.
 
Serving: 1 piece of cake, Calories: 233kcal, Carbohydrates: 23g, Protein: 3g, Fat: 15g, Saturated Fat: 3g, Cholesterol: 37mg, Sodium: 84mg, Fiber: 0.4g, Sugar: 12g

Recipe Source: from Mel’s Kitchen Cafe