Olive Oil Cake

Olive oil in a cake? Yuck.

Don’t get me wrong. I love olive oil. I regularly drive to Los Alamitos’ Antica Olive Oil store to buy the best olive oils I can find. There, I enthusiastically swirl, sniff, sip and swallow  the various offerings freshly poured from the fusti, searching for the olive oil with the most grassy flavor and the most peppery bite–all the better if it is chock-full of polyphenol antioxidants.

I’m hooked.

But putting three-fourths of a cup of the pungent stuff in a cake? I dunno. Seems wrong to me.

On the other hand, the olive oil cake in this month’s Cook’s Illustrated Magazine had me intrigued. True, I’ve been seeing olive oil cakes in a number of publications in recent years, but up until now I’ve simply registered the idea as an engaging one and quietly slid the copied recipe to the bottom of what is my burgeoning stack of “to try” recipes. But, if Cook’s Illustrated touts a recipe, my cooking instincts told me, it must be good.

Too, I let my heart get away from me at last week’s farmers’ market. I bought six baskets of exquisite organic strawberries. However you cut it them, that is a whole lot of strawberries for one lady and a small sweet dog to consume. So, I was looking for something interesting to serve as a strawberry shortcake. Olive oil cake? Why not?

It turns out that the distinct taste of a fruity olive oil complements the slightly sweet flavor of the cake.

Here is the link to the Cook’s Illustrated article about olive oil cakes: https://www.cooksillustrated.com/articles/462-olive-oil-cake

Yields 8 Servings

Olive Oil Cake

20 minPrep Time

40 minCook Time

1 hrTotal Time

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  • 1 3/4 C. (8 3/4 ounces) all-purpose flour
  • 1 t. baking powder
  • 3/4 t. salt
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 1/4 C. (8 3/4 ounces) plus 2 T. sugar
  • 2/4 t. grated lemon zest
  • 3/4 C. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3/4 C. milk


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Grease a 9-inch springform pan.
  3. Whisk flour, baking powder and salt until ingredients are well-distributed. Set aside.
  4. Using the whisk attachment of your stand mixer, whisk eggs until they are foamy, about one minute with mixer set on medium speed. Add 1 1/4 C. sugar and the lemon zest to the egg mixture. Continue to whisk the mixture until it is pale yellow (about three minutesI). With mixer set on medium speed, slowly drizzle the oil into the egg mixture until the oil is completely combined with the eggs (about one minute).
  5. Turn mixer speed down to low speed, and mix in one half of the flour mixture. Mix for about one minute until the flour is completely incorporated. You will need to use a spatula to scrape down the sides of the mixer bowl as you mix in the flour. Add the milk and mix for about thirty seconds. Mix in the remaining flour just until it is incorporated (about one minute).
  6. Scrape down the sides of the mixer bowl and scoop the batter into prepared springform pan.
  7. Sprinkle two T. sugar over the surface of the batter.
  8. Bake cake at 350 degrees F. for approximately 40-45 minutes on the middle rack in your oven. You want the top of the cake to be a pretty golden brown when the cake is finished.
  9. When a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out with only a few crumbs, remove cake from the oven and cool on a wire rack for 15 minutes. The top of the cake is going to crack, so don't worry when that happens. Then, release the sides of the springform pan and leave cake on your counter to cool completely (1 1/2 hours).
Cuisine: American | Recipe Type: Dessert

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