Orange Olive Oil Cake

By |2018-08-04T23:24:20+00:00January 14th, 2015|Breakfast, Breakfast Cakes, Cakes, Desserts|55 Comments
Orange Olive Oil CakeOrange Olive Oil Cake

Orange Olive Oil Cake

Orange Olive Oil Cake…O.M.Y.  (Oh My Yum!)


A good friend generously coined this phrase after viewing one of my recent posts.  It might be too casual a term to describe what I think is just a slightly sophisticated cake, but I’m going to use it because it’s exactly what I thought after taking my first bite.

The first time I had an olive oil cake, I was with my sister.  We were in Santa Monica having lunch at True Food Kitchen.  We had just discovered it on the last day of a trip; I loved the concept, the menu and the whole restaurant vibe.

They had lots of healthy and interesting food choices whether you were vegan, vegetarian, gluten free or a carnivore.  We wanted to try everything but since that wasn’t feasible, we ordered a few different things to share between us.


And since lunch was so healthy…we ordered dessert (of course,) an olive oil cake (because that’s a healthy choice :)   I thought it would be kind of herby and olive-y tasting, but no, it was a moist, delicious cake with just the slightest hint of olive oil flavor.

It was a perfect ending to a perfect meal.  If we weren’t leaving the next day, we would have gone back to try more of the menu.


I have had an olive oil cake on my radar to make ever since.  And last week, I made it happen with this Orange Olive Oil Cake.  It’s been freezing here the past couple of weeks and I was in the mood for something that would conjure up images of a warm sunny place.

The hibiscus trees that we brought in for the winter are blooming like crazy, making my foyer feel a bit tropical even though it’s the middle of January.  I thought this cake would be a perfect choice to brighten up a wintry day, and wow! Did it deliver!

The cake is full of orange flavor, super moist, a bit like a pound cake, but lighter and fluffier. When I was shooting it, the aroma of fresh cut oranges was intoxicating and a nice contrast to my snowy back yard visible just outside the frame of these shots.

It doesn’t need anything but a sprinkle of powdered sugar and a fork.  Or not.  It’s certainly sturdy enough to just pick up and take a bite.


So there you have it, a citrusy olive oil cake that’s as wonderful for dessert as it is for a snack or even a fun breakfast treat.  Fresh squeezed orange juice, orange zest and a pinch of cardamom are such sunny, citrusy, flowery flavors.

I think it’s the perfect remedy for these arctic winter days.  And in case you needed just one more reason to love olive oil…This cake?


definitely a good one.


4 from 2 votes

Orange Olive Oil Cake


  • zest from 1 1/2 oranges
  • 3 or 4 oranges or enough to squeeze 3/4 cup juice
  • 1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cardamom optional
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 1/4 cups sugar
  • 3/4 cups mild olive oil
  • Confectioner's sugar for sprinkling


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a 9 inch springform pan with cooking spray. I also placed a round of parchment in the bottom and sprayed that as well to insure an easy release. Wrap the outside of the pan bottom in heavy duty foil to catch any possible leaks.
  2. Zest 1 and 1/2 oranges, then squeeze as many oranges as you need to yield 3/4 cups juice. This took exactly three oranges for me. Set aside.
  3. Whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt and cardamom (if using)
  4. Beat eggs on medium high until broken up and combined, about 1 minute.
  5. Slowly add the sugar and continue beating until light and pale yellow, about 3 minutes.
  6. On low speed, alternate adding your flour mixture and oil to the egg/sugar mixture, beginning and ending with the flour mixture. (1/3 flour, 1/2 oil, 1/3 flour, 1/2 oil, 1/3 flour) mixing until mostly combined after each addition.
  7. Add the orange juice and zest and mix carefully to incorporate as this mixture will splash. I usually pulse my stand mixer a few times (by turning to my lowest speed briefly a few times) to incorporate it then turn it to low to finish mixing.
  8. Pour batter into prepared pan.
  9. Bake for 50-60 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out with just a few moist crumbs. I covered my cake with foil, just lightly laying a piece on top of the pan, for the last 15 minutes as the top was getting brown and I didn't want it to brown further. My pan was deep enough so that the foil did not touch the top of the cake. If you think that it might be an issue, tent the foil to keep it away from the cake surface.
  10. Allow to cool for 5-10 minutes in pan, then remove ring around springform pan and allow to cool completely on a rack.
  11. Cover cake and let sit overnight. (See notes below)
  12. Sprinkle with powdered sugar and serve.

Recipe Notes

*The original recipe states to let cake sit covered overnight for best flavor. I did this so I haven't experienced the difference between that and eating it right away. I suspect it's quite good the first day and simply gets better the next day much like brownies and banana bread.

*I used a simple mild olive oil, but you can experiment with other fruity or buttery olive oils. I would avoid any strong or peppery olive oils as this will affect the delicate flavors of this cake.

Adapted from Portugese Orange Olive Oil Cake

The Merchant Baker © 2015

By |2018-08-04T23:24:20+00:00January 14th, 2015|Breakfast, Breakfast Cakes, Cakes, Desserts|55 Comments


  1. Joe B January 14, 2015 at 8:34 pm - Reply

    Wonderful looking cake. I’m making this. Nice photos!

    • Ramona January 14, 2015 at 9:00 pm - Reply

      Thanks, Joe! It tastes even better than it looks…:)

  2. Heather January 15, 2015 at 2:57 pm - Reply

    Oh, this looks like the perfect winter cake! I love how you can see the zest in the the sliced cake!

    • Ramona January 15, 2015 at 3:28 pm - Reply

      Oh yay! I tried to get some close enough shots so you could see the zest! So, excited that you noticed them! Lots of delicious orange flavor in there!

  3. Jen @ My Kitchen Addiction January 15, 2015 at 3:35 pm - Reply

    This cake looks divine… I love baking with olive oil, and it pairs so beautifully with citrus. I think this cake just begs for a cup of tea to go with it!

    • Ramona January 15, 2015 at 3:42 pm - Reply

      I’m a tea drinker and that’s exactly how I enjoyed my slice!

  4. Cheryl January 16, 2015 at 9:29 am - Reply

    I had a slice of this delicious cake when Ramona made it!!! When I say delicious I mean DELICIOUS!!!!! It was light and fluffy and the flavor…. it’s making me drool just thinking about it. This is a recipe you have to try. I just thank my lucky stars everyday that Ramona is my friend and I don’t have to try to make these delicious creations I just wait to see what she’s going to create next!!!

    • Ramona January 16, 2015 at 10:35 am - Reply

      Thanks, Cheryl! Olive oil cake may sound strange to some, but your comment helps validate just how delicious this cake really is!

  5. Cyndi B February 9, 2015 at 11:38 am - Reply

    OMG!!! Just made this this morning and when I came in from shoveling(yet again)I could not resist a sliver. Let me tell you,this cake is fabulous! The crumb is actually fluffy. Perfect treat to go with my tea. Thank you for a great recipe.

    • Ramona February 9, 2015 at 12:24 pm - Reply

      Love snow, hate shoveling, but there’s nothing like a slice of this sunny cake as fair reward for all of your hard work. I’m so happy to hear that you like it!

  6. annie February 13, 2015 at 4:08 pm - Reply

    What beautiful pictures of a beautiful cake. Hope to make this soon!

    • Ramona February 13, 2015 at 5:30 pm - Reply

      Thanks, Annie! The cake is so delicious, I’ve already made it twice since this post!

  7. Shr May 20, 2015 at 5:37 pm - Reply


    I wanted to try this recipe tonight. Just wondering when and how to add the egg-sugar mixture to the batter.

  8. Shr May 20, 2015 at 6:21 pm - Reply

    Haha! I get it now. I read a few more times. I guess I was visualizing myself going through this recipe in my kitchen and I overlooked the simple instructions. The first third of flour mix goes into the egg-sugar mix (silly me :P)

    • Ramona May 20, 2015 at 6:41 pm - Reply

      I read it a couple of times myself to see if I missed something. I do think it could be more clear. I’ll go back and revise it. I hope you enjoy it. It’s really a delicious cake!

  9. Shr June 8, 2015 at 1:23 pm - Reply

    Ramona, I never got back to you.
    The cake was PERFECT. Slice of heaven.
    I am not much of a baker, but it still turned out flawless and it kept on improving day by day.

    Generally, whenever I bake, I look at a LOT of recipes, then mix a few, and only then go ahead. But this is the first time, a single recipe appealed so much to me, and the cake was oh-so-delicious.

    Husband has promised his mother that I would bake this cake for her when she visits! This cake is really that good. The only negative thing – it finishes too fast :P

    Thank you!

    • Ramona June 8, 2015 at 3:06 pm - Reply

      Shr, Thanks so much for coming back to tell me how it all worked out. I’m so happy to hear that you (and your husband) enjoyed it! It’s such a delicious cake. We love it and now I wish I had a piece!

      If you’re up for trying another great cake that’s easy for infrequent bakers, you have to try my Cinnamon Apple Cake. It’s another easy cake that’s chock full of apple flavor and one you’ll want to make again and again.

  10. Sarah June 14, 2015 at 10:18 am - Reply

    I converted the measurements to metric, and baked this cake today. Reduced the amount of sugar. It turned out wonderful, except that the crumb seemed to be less fine than in your photo, and the middle was moist (but not in a bad way). It was good but it wasn’t as fluffy as I’d thought it would be. Is there something I could be doing differently? Anyway, still a great recipe. Thank you.

    • Ramona June 14, 2015 at 6:33 pm - Reply

      Sarah, glad you tried it and liked it. Here’s a couple of things that might help…I originally thought I would reduce the sugar to 1 cup because I thought it could be less sweet. I haven’t tried it like that, but I suspect that when you used less sugar, it changed the texture. As you may already know, sugar does a lot more than just add sweetness. It can affect tenderness, it keeps baked goods moist and it also leavens, or helps baked goods rise. Soooo, I would go back to the original amount of sugar. Then, make sure you add the sugar into the egg mixture SLOWLY and fully beat the sugar and eggs until truly pale yellow. Don’t skimp on time. This could take a good three minutes. Next…Don’t overmix after each addition of flour and oil. You want to incorporate it, but not whip it into a frenzy each time you add something. Use the same amount of caution when you add your orange juice. Fully incorporate it, but don’t beat it for an extended time.

      If you were careful with all of these steps, then the biggest culprit was probably the reduced sugar. I appreciate the feedback since I was going to try to reduce it as well. I’ll keep it as is.

      Finally, when I say fluffy, I don’t mean fluffy like a boxed yellow cake, I meant I was surprised that it was a little fluffier than I expected. I kind of thought it would be really dense like a super moist pound cake or banana bread. But, it was a bit loftier than I would have thought.

      If you decide to try it again, (and I hope you do) I would love to hear how it turns out for you. In any case, I’m glad you enjoyed the first one and it didn’t go to waste.

      • Sarah June 15, 2015 at 9:58 am - Reply

        Hi Ramona, thanks very much for your kind response and explanation. I appreciate it. I”ll try it out again with the original recipe some time soon (maybe not so soon as I don’t have anyone to help me eat it all, ha) and let you know it goes!

  11. Michelle September 21, 2015 at 3:17 pm - Reply

    Can you freeze the cake

    • Ramona September 21, 2015 at 5:02 pm - Reply

      I haven’t tried freezing it yet, but I do freeze all kinds of cakes regularly and this should be a great candidate for freezing. If I were freezing the whole cake, I would wrap tightly with plastic wrap, then wrap and seal well with heavy duty aluminum foil. If I were wrapping pieces, I would wrap each piece individually with waxed paper or plastic wrap, then put the pieces in a zip loc freezer bag. I don’t freeze for any longer than 3 months.

      You could then thaw in the refrigerator or at room temperature. If I’ve planned ahead, I’ll thaw first in the fridge then at room temperature. If you thaw only at room temperature, I would unwrap the cake to prevent condensation forming while it thaws.

  12. Whats For Dinner Mommy | » Lovely Feelings about Pomegranates and Citrus at today’s afternoon February 18, 2016 at 5:23 pm - Reply

    […] Freshly squeezed orange juice, orange zest and a pinch of cardamom are such sunny, citrusy flowery flavors. I think it’s the perfect remedy for these arctic winter days. And in case you needed just one more reason to love olive cake!!! I used the recipe from here  […]

  13. Lorraine April 8, 2016 at 6:24 pm - Reply

    Made this for work..awesome. Can’t imagine making pound cake any other way!

    • Ramona April 8, 2016 at 6:34 pm - Reply

      I know! So good, right? Lucky co-workers!

      • Lorraine April 9, 2016 at 11:57 am - Reply

        Lucky me BC I found this site!

        • Ramona April 9, 2016 at 4:03 pm - Reply


  14. Kristin April 28, 2016 at 11:11 pm - Reply

    Thank you for such a well-written recipe! Wonderful instructions and turned out beautifully. I live in Denver and used high altitude flour, but I made no other adjustments.

    • Ramona April 28, 2016 at 11:34 pm - Reply

      You are so welcome, Kristin! I like to be detailed about directions especially for those who don’t bake/cook often. Hopefully, the directions don’t leave too many questions unanswered. One of my sisters lives at a high altitude. I’m going to pass along your success with this recipe with just using high altitude flour. I appreciate the helpful feedback. Thanks!

  15. Neha Saxena February 16, 2017 at 2:03 pm - Reply

    Hi. I made this once and it was soooo yummylicious !!

    Will the cake taste equally good if the oranges are sour?

    • Ramona February 16, 2017 at 3:48 pm - Reply

      Neha, so happy to hear you loved this recipe! I’m not sure how to answer the sour orange question. I suppose if you like the taste of the oranges before you put them in the cake, then perhaps you will like them in the cake. In other words, the sourness would carry over. You can try to add sugar to balance the sourness but added sugar will change the texture. You’d have to experiment. I made a version of this cake with lemons, you can check those out here, and perhaps that will help you. It seems like it would be easy to just sub in a different juice, but you really have to experiment. Good luck!

  16. Orange Cinnamon Olive Oil Cake | One Missing Ingredient May 16, 2017 at 11:05 am - Reply

    […] as I have some left from this weekend and we are not actually orange juice drinkers. When I found this recipe on The Merchant Baker website, I knew it was the perfect recipe to use the cinnamon oil […]

  17. Jill June 15, 2017 at 8:44 am - Reply

    Can I make this in a bundt pan?

    • Ramona June 15, 2017 at 9:07 am - Reply

      The short answer is, “Yes.” The recipe I based this on was made in a bundt pan, but it was twice the amount of batter. My proportions are slightly different. I scaled it down for my size of pan and I used less sugar and a little more egg. Check out the original recipe here. If you want that size of cake, (they use a 12 cup bundt pan) I would use all of the measurements in that recipe and their tips for baking in a bundt pan. But for me, I would use double my sugar measurement, which would be 2 1/2 cups of sugar instead of their measurement of 3 cups. If you want a smaller amount of batter, you can use my recipe and end up with a shorter bundt cake.

  18. Ginger July 13, 2017 at 1:26 pm - Reply

    Holy Molly this cake is so good! I just made it. It is still warm from the oven and I ate a small piece, then had to go back for another LOL. I hate to alter a recipe first time trying, but I did not have orange juice on hand, and badly wanted to make it immediately, as I had just zested an orange and wanted to use it in something.. I had a can of pineapple, so I substituted pineapple juice for the orange juice. It turned out amazing, no pineapple flavor, has a delicious orange flavor. Also, I opted to make some orange glaze to put on top. This cake is so so good, I’m already forwarding the recipe to my friends. Thank you!

    • Ramona July 13, 2017 at 1:34 pm - Reply

      Ginger, I’m so happy you liked it! Pineapple juice was a great idea for a sub. Now you have me thinking that I want to develop a version that actually does taste like pineapple! :) (I’ve also made a lemon version in tea cake form.)

  19. Helen September 3, 2017 at 11:07 am - Reply

    I’ve just converted this to UK measurements but the mix is very wet as it went in the oven, is this correct or have I somehow gone wrong? Not holding out much hope….

    • Ramona September 3, 2017 at 11:53 am - Reply

      Helen, it’s been too long since I’ve made this delicious cake, so I can’t remember the exact texture of the batter. I do remember that it wasn’t a thick batter. I remember that because every time I’ve made it, adding in the orange juice was always a very splashy affair. That being said, I think the liquid measurement conversions are pretty straight forward. Sugar is also pretty standard. But, double check the flour measurement. People measure flour differently. I use the scoop and sweep method. For me, one cup measures 120 grams. For this recipe then, you would need 210 grams of flour. If that’s what you used, I think you should be okay. I know conversions can be tricky in baking. I hope this one works out for you!

  20. Helen September 4, 2017 at 7:53 am - Reply

    Thanks for coming back to me! That’s the exact measure of flour I used! It actually came out fine! Have you ever double layered it and iced it?


    • Ramona September 4, 2017 at 10:29 am - Reply

      Helen, thanks for letting me know all worked out well. I have never double layered and iced it since I generally serve this cake as a plain cake. That being said, there’s nothing stopping you from doing that. Pick your favorite frosting and try it out. I personally would like something that is fluffy and not too sweet. My favorite frosting is Whipped Cream Cream Cheese Frosting, if you’re looking for ideas ;)

  21. Helen September 4, 2017 at 10:49 am - Reply

    Thanks Ramon! Cake number 2 also a success! :)

    Seeing as it’s orange I thought perhaps a dark chocolate buttercream might work!

    Will let you know how it turns out! :)

    • Ramona September 4, 2017 at 11:03 am - Reply

      LOVE that idea!

  22. Marta September 7, 2017 at 4:37 am - Reply

    I just made this cake and I am wondering how much it’s supposed rise?

    • Ramona September 7, 2017 at 8:05 am - Reply

      Hi Marta, I can’t give you an exact measurement, but the cake generally rises like a typical cake. You can see the size pan I used and the photos of how tall the cake is. You should see similar results with the same pan. I would say it’s about 2″ at the edge and closer to 3″ at the middle, but that’s just an estimate from memory. When you cut into it, is the texture similar to the post photos? Did you use the same size pan as in the recipe? Is your baking powder fresh? I can’t tell from your comment if your cake didn’t rise at all or if it didn’t rise as much as you thought it would.

  23. Sudha December 19, 2017 at 8:53 pm - Reply

    Hi I tried this recipe with AP Flour and it came out perfectly. But today I made it with superfine almond flour (same proportion) and I’m not so optimistic – it seems to have fallen in the middle, and looks uncooked every after 55 mins.

    Should I have used a different quantity of almond flour?

    • Ramona December 19, 2017 at 10:02 pm - Reply

      Sudha, baking is a science and any change you make to a recipe can yield different results in taste, texture, how a cake rises etc. The first issue is that you used all almond flour. You’d have to test quantities to see if you get the results that you want, but if you were trying to use it with this recipe, I would start with only substituting 25% of the AP flour for almond flour. There are recipes out there that use solely almond flour, but then the rest of the ingredients have been adjusted to insure proper texture, rise etc. I would either look for that type of recipe or keep testing different amount with this one to see if you can find a ratio you like.

      • Sudha Bala December 19, 2017 at 11:57 pm - Reply

        Thanks so much for the prompt reply! This was a clear and present fail:( was worse than fudge.

        I will go back to AP flour; it probably holds up the OJ and olive oil better than almond flour.

        It is a keeper if you stick to the original recipe posted by you!!

  24. Cynthia December 27, 2017 at 1:01 pm - Reply

    Lemons instead? We have a tree.

    • Ramona December 27, 2017 at 4:57 pm - Reply

      I made a lemon version. I went through a few trials to get it close to the orange version. You can’t just sub the lemon for the orange and the texture is a bit different, but I like how the cakelets turned out. And, as an aside, I’m completely jealous that you have a lemon tree :)

  25. Fredo February 20, 2018 at 4:06 pm - Reply

    Mediocre at best. Far better recipes out there..

    • Ramona February 20, 2018 at 4:33 pm - Reply

      Fredo, I’ve had so many people enjoy this cake. Clearly it wasn’t the recipe for you. I hope you find one you love.

  26. Erin April 6, 2018 at 2:15 am - Reply

    This looks so good! And you’re so great at describing everything! I’ve been looking for an olive oil cake recipe for a while and this one sounds wonderful and pretty simple. Can’t wait to try it! :)

    • Ramona April 6, 2018 at 9:02 am - Reply

      Erin, my sister, who isn’t much of a baker, has made this cake. It really is easy and has tons of orange flavor. I think you’ll like it!

  27. Alicia December 20, 2018 at 11:43 am - Reply

    This is my go-to cake recipe! I am obsessed. I’ve tried it with different kinds of oranges and mixing in coconut oil as well. It’s always a HUGE hit at parties.

    • Ramona December 21, 2018 at 5:43 pm - Reply

      Thanks, Alicia! I agree that it’s always a big hit. Love the coconut oil idea and now that you’ve mentioned it, I want to try mixing in some coconut as well…yum!

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