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The Ultimate Olive Oil Cake Recipe Guide

Posted by Olive Oil Lovers on

If you've been looking for just the right olive oil cake recipe, you've found your destination! We've put together a collection of the most delicious olive oil cake recipes out there, with lots of unique and mouth-watering variations. Of course there are lots of flavoring choices, like citrus cakes packed with zest, aromatic vanilla and almond cakes, rich chocolate cakes, and classic carrot cakes.

Olive oil cakes have some of the simplest, most foolproof recipes, you'll never want to go back to mashing hard chunks of cold butter! Most of these recipes can be completed in just an hour. Unlike traditional cakes, olive oil cakes can stay moist for days. But let's be honest, it probably won't last that long!

Why make cakes with olive oil?

When baking, substituting extra virgin olive oil for butter is a healthy option that can be surprisingly delicious. All extra virgin olive oils have a range of intensity from mild to robust, so while some versatile varieties work wonderfully with any bake, other oils might be too overpowering. When baking treats like cakes and cookies we always start by recommending mild options like a buttery Arbequina from Andalusia or fruity Koroneiki from Crete. Baking with a more intense olive oil can add delightful complimentary herbal notes to a lemon olive oil cake or a zesty orange olive oil cake.

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What is olive oil cake?

Olive oil cake is a cake made with flour, sweetener and a variety of other ingredients, depending on preferences, and using extra virgin olive oil as the primary fat instead of butter, margarine, or a vegetable oil (aka chemically-processed seed oil). When you replace butter with extra virgin olive oil you get a more moist cake and a treat with noted health benefits.

What does olive oil cake taste like?

An olive oil cake tastes like whatever flavor you make your cake! If you make a lemon olive oil cake or a chocolate olive oil cake, chances are no one will know it was made with olive oil. But your cake will be so moist and delicious, guests will be asking for the recipe!

Most olive oil cakes don't taste like olive oil unless you choose an intense or especially fruity extra virgin olive oil. In this case, you might notice some pleasant herbal or floral notes that compliment your primary flavoring and give your cake a more complex flavor profile.

If you want the benefits of an olive oil cake but don't want any noticeable flavor added from the olive oil, use olive oils that have a mild intensity like a Spanish Arbequina or Greek Koroneiki.  

What does olive oil do to a cake?

When you replace the butter in your cakes with extra virgin olive oil, you get a lighter and more moist cake that doesn't dry out quickly. In fact, some bakers notice their cakes taste even better the next day!

Is olive oil cake healthier than regular cake?

Extra virgin olive oil is the healthiest of all fats. So simply by replacing the butter in your cake recipe with extra virgin olive oil, you will be making a healthier choice. The monounsaturated fat in olive oil can improve heart health, while the natural polyphenols found in extra virgin olive oil provide many proven health benefits.

Can you bake with flavored olive oils?

Another great option for extra flavoring is to use a flavored extra virgin olive oil. Many flavored olive oils are produced by crushing the olives simultaneously with fruits or herbs  Flavored olive oil adds a unique flavor element that can be a fun choice no matter what you're baking. Try substituting Olio Guglielmi Crushed Lemon for the oil in your next batch of pancakes for a citrusy breakfast sensation!

Click here for our butter to olive oil conversion chart.

Look through the slideshow below to find your recipe!

Olive Oil Cake with Lemon

Olive Oil Cake with Lemon

Olive Oil Cake with Lemon

This simple and yummy olive oil cake recipe comes from Yumna Jawad of Feel Good Foodie, who calls the cake "moist and wonderfully light." The goal at Feel Good Foodie is to offer recipes that "make healthy, family-friendly cooking easy." Replacing the butter with olive oil is a great start, because you don't have to worry about mashing hard butter or waiting for the butter to soften - the olive oil is ready to mix! Yumna does a great job of suggesting alternative ingredients if you have any special dietary restrictions. Because this recipe also includes Greek yogurt, we suggest using Entelia, one of our favorite Greek EVOOs. 

See the full recipe on Feel Good Foodie.

Easy Olive Oil Cake Recipe

Easy Olive Oil Cake Recipe

Easy Olive Oil Cake Recipe

This recipe was created by Stella Parks for Serious Eats. It's a great recipe to start your olive oil cake adventure, as Parks calls it "fast and foolproof," and a great choice for both the professional and amateur baker. For the best results, make sure you use high quality ingredients. This will help ensure you get a fragrant and moist olive oil cake. What we love about this recipe is that it spotlights the most important ingredient: the olive oil! The author suggests oil with some character, for example, an oil with floral, grassy, or peppery notes. We suggest trying this recipe with Oro Bailen Picual, a robust oil with hints of green grass and almond.

See the full recipe on Serious Eats. Photo by Vicky Wasik.

Olive Oil Cake with Lemon & Amaretto

Olive Oil Cake with Lemon & Amaretto

Olive Oil Cake with Lemon & Amaretto

This popular recipe from Bon Appetit and created by Claire Saffitz benefits from the excellent moisture olive oil contributes to the cake. The recipe skips the butter entirely, but you won't miss it. It calls for over a cup of quality extra virgin olive oil, and also swaps some of the cake flour for almond flour. In addition to the lemon zest we find in most olive oil cake recipes, this recipe also uses some of the juice. The acid in the juice reacts with the baking powder to help get a delightful rise that makes this a perfectly light and moist cake. For this cake try using a milder extra virgin olive oil like Oleoestepa Arbequina.

See the full recipe on Bon Appetit. Photo by Alex Lau.

Ciambellone, an Italian Tea Cake

Ciambellone, an Italian Tea Cake

Ciambellone, an Italian Tea Cake

This recipe from Deb Perelman of Smitten Kitchen is for the Italian tea cake known as Ciambellone. The name in Italian means doughnut because what makes this lemon olive oil cake a ciambellone is that it should be baked in a bundt or ring shaped pan. This recipe comes out of the oven with with a nice crust, and once glazed does actually look like a giant doughnut. We liked this Italian take on the lemon olive oil cake even though the recipe doesn't actually specify using olive oil. Of course we suggest you go extra virgin! A fruity unfiltered Sicilian olive oil from Basirico would be a great choice for this cake. 

See the full recipe on Smitten Kitchen.

Maialino's Olive Oil Cake

Maialino's Olive Oil Cake

Maialino's Olive Oil Cake

This recipe found on the food and lifestyle website Food52 is inspired by the cake found at Maialino Restaurant, a Roman-inspired Italian restaurant near Gramercy Park in New York City. The quality olive oil used for this cake helps make it so decadently moist that its interior has a texture almost like pudding or custard. For this cake use an olive oil you want to taste, perhaps one with nice fruit to complement the orange and Grand Marnier, like a nice Nocellara from Sicily. Or contrast those citrusy notes with a slightly more robust and peppery Hojiblanca from Andalusia. This recipe creates such a moist and rich cake, it might even be better the next day!

See the full recipe at Food52. Photo by James Ransom.

Soft & Fluffy Chocolate Olive Oil Cake

Soft & Fluffy Chocolate Olive Oil Cake

Soft & Fluffy Chocolate Olive Oil Cake

This gluten and dairy-free olive oil cake recipe comes from Lindsay Grimes Freedman of The Toasted Pinenut. The recipe replaces wheat flour with almond flour, uses coconut sugar as the sweetener, and adds lots of cocoa and extra virgin olive oil for a fluffy cake with rich and decadent flavor. Plus it's a one-bowl recipe, so just mix your wet ingredients, whisk in your dry ingredients, pour into your dish and pop into your oven. Moist and delicious has never been so easy! The recipe recommends using a good quality extra virgin olive oil like the Puglian blend Io Voglio from Sabino Leone.

See the full recipe on The Toasted Pinenut.

Pistachio Olive Oil Cake

Pistachio Olive Oil Cake

Pistachio Olive Oil Cake

Joy Cho had a mission to craft a not-too-oily olive oil cake recipe, and delivered this sensationally nutty and moist cake with the perfect crumb. This recipe does ease back on the olive oil and instead incorporates sour cream and honey for added moisture. It also features finely ground pistachios for a one-of-a-kind flavor and texture. Unlike many other olive oil cake recipes, this one has no lemon juice or citrus zest in the cake. However, the author instead provides a recipe for an indulgent lemony whipped cream to dollop on top when ready to serve. Try this recipe with a mild, sweet olive oil from Sicily like Mandranova Biancolilla.

See the full recipe on Eater. Photo by Dina Ávila.

Autumn Apple Olive Oil Cake

Autumn Apple Olive Oil Cake

Autumn Apple Olive Oil Cake

Be ready for apple picking season with this apple olive oil cake recipe by Adrianna Adarme for PBS Fresh Tastes. Described as a simple cake that "can live on your counter," this cake will remain moist and delicious… while it lasts. The kind of cake you like to have around, it's perfect for a quick morning snack or afternoon tea. In addition to fresh apples and olive oil the recipe calls for buttermilk and cinnamon. For this apple olive oil cake we recommend Henri Mor Family Reserve Bag in Box, a mild oil from Arbequina olives designed for versatile use in the kitchen.

See the full recipe at PBS Fresh Tastes.

Classic Olive Oil Cake

Classic Olive Oil Cake

Classic Olive Oil Cake

This classic olive oil cake recipe skips the fruit in favor of aromatic vanilla and almond extracts to create a moist and airy cake that suits any occasion. The recipe calls for whole milk, which adds extra fat to the mix for a delightful crumb. The cake also requires much less sugar than many other olive oil cake recipes, which helps to produce a light and springy texture. Because this cake is not too sweet, it's perfect to pair with some homemade jam and fresh whipped cream. Bake this classic olive oil cake with a mild and versatile olive oil like Amoris Every Day.

See the full recipe from Bake from Scratch.

Classic Olive Oil Bundt Cake

Classic Olive Oil Bundt Cake

Classic Olive Oil Bundt Cake

From King Arthur Flour comes this recipe for Olive Oil Bundt Cake. Created by Charlotte Rutledge, this is another recipe featuring classic almond and vanilla flavoring. Compared to the previous 'Classic' olive oil cake, this one does ask for more sugar, and also calls for a blend of cake flour and almond flour. The careful mix of ingredients from the experts at King Arthur results in a satisfyingly spongy texture that is sure to please family and friends.We suggest selecting Aria extra virgin olive oil, made from Koroneiki olives grown in Western Crete. 

See the full recipe from King Arthur Baking

Almond Citrus Olive Oil Cake

Almond Citrus Olive Oil Cake

Almond Citrus Olive Oil Cake

This version combines classic olive oil cake flavors into one dynamic cake you will love. From the kitchen of famed Italian-american chef and Food Network star, Giada De Laurentiis, this recipe features lots of zest - both lemon and orange - as well as roasted sliced almonds that are first crumbled then mixed into the batter right before baking. Giada also includes a recipe for citrus compote to serve alongside her decadently moist and aromatic olive oil cake. Because Giada De Laurentiis was born in Rome, for this cake we suggest an oil from Lucia Iannotta, who produces her extra virgin olive oils in the hills south of Rome.

See the full recipe from Giada de Laurentiis on Food Network.

Citrus Ricotta Olive Oil Cake

Citrus Ricotta Olive Oil Cake

Citrus Ricotta Olive Oil Cake

This citrus olive oil cake by Courtney Rich of Cake by Courtney is a real stand out due to the inclusion of ricotta cheese. While many olive oil cake recipes inlcude milk, buttermilk, or yogurt, the choice of ricotta here gives this cake a tender and almost creamy consistency in the crumb. The recipe does ask that you plan ahead, suggesting that you allow the eggs and ricotta to sit at room temperature for a few hours before you begin, as this will give your cake a better rise. Because ricotta has its origins in Italy, try making this cake with Delicato by Americo Quattrociocchi, whose family once farmed papal land near Rome. 

See the full recipe at Cake by Courtney.

Rosemary Orange Olive Oil Cake

Rosemary Orange Olive Oil Cake

Rosemary Orange Olive Oil Cake

This entry into the pantheon of citrusy olive oil cakes is by Elise Smith for Magnolia. The recipe call for blood orange zest as well as juice of an orange. Blood orange is used again for the icing that accompanies this cake. For all the olive oil lovers out there, the recipe does not disappoint, as it includes a full cup and half of our favorite ingredient. But the signature note for this olive oil cake recipe is the rosemary. The final result is so moist and aromatic, you might not want to share! For this recipe we suggest a mild French extra virgin olive oil blend from Chateau de Montfrin that will let the natural ingredients shine. 

See the full recipe from Magnolia.

Healthy Olive Oil Carrot Cake

Healthy Olive Oil Carrot Cake

Healthy Olive Oil Carrot Cake

This unique take on the olive oil cake comes from Lauren Taylor of A Bright Moment. This serious 3-tier cake has all the yummy goodness you love about carrot cake, and then makes it even more moist and delicious with the addition of quality extra virgin olive oil and sweet blast of pineapple. Add in aromatic spices like cinnamon and cardamom and you have a new carrot cake recipe you'll return to over and over. The page also includes a recipe for cream chesse frosting to spread between each layer of your cake. The mild and fruity Oro Bailen Arbequina would be an ideal choice for this healthy carrot cake recipe. 

See the full recipe at A Bright Moment.

Basil Olive Oil Cake

Basil Olive Oil Cake

Basil Olive Oil Cake

For the first time in our survey of the best olive oil cakes, we have a recipe that adds a green ingredient - fresh basil! From the blog Keeping it Simple, this Italian-inspired recipe incorporates finely blitzed basil into the batter for a fresh and fragrant take on the olive oil cake. The result is moist and light and not overpowering, despite having both basil and extra virgin olive oil as primary ingredients. It's perfect for dessert after a yummy Italian dinner, especially when served with a dollop of whipped cream. Also a great way to use up extra basil. For this recipe we chose an organic olive oil from Tuscany, Franci Bio

See the full recipe at Keeping it Simple.

Walnut & Honey Olive Oil Cake

Walnut & Honey Olive Oil Cake

Walnut & Honey Olive Oil Cake

This simple snacking cake from Camille Styles is always satisfying, whether serving it for guests or pairing it with your morning coffee. Packed with walnuts, sweetened with honey, and finished with candied orange slices, this moist and delicious olive oil cake hits all the right notes. For this cake, the walnuts are toasted and then ground in a food processor and mixed with the flour. The recipe also includes greek yogurt, vanilla and orange zest. The result is a rich and nutty cake with a light, spongy texture. As most walnuts in the United States come from California, we suggest baking your cake with Calivirgin Premium EVOO.

See the full recipe from Camille Styles.

Olive Oil Pine Nut Bundt Cake

Olive Oil Pine Nut Bundt Cake

Olive Oil Pine Nut Bundt Cake

If you're looking for a nutty olive oil cake with a light citrus flavor, then look no further. Created by Katie Button for Magnolia, this recipe used olive oil and yogurt to deliver a cake with a moist and tender crumb and a perfectly crusty exterior. Packed with a cup of toasted pinenuts that have been gently crushed, the subtle aromas of lemon and pinenuts paired with a robust and fruity extra virgin olive oil make for a stunningly simple gourmet treat. You'll appreciate the author's specific directions for how to achieve a perfectly textured cake. Try making this cake with a fruity Arbequina from Oro del Desierto

See the full recipe from Magnolia.

Flourless Chocolate Olive Oil Cake

Flourless Chocolate Olive Oil Cake

Flourless Chocolate Olive Oil Cake

This unique recipe was created by Eva Kosmas Flores for Olive Oil Lovers. A delicious and rich dessert choice, this delightful cake combines olive oil, espresso and chocolate in a dense single layer. When sprinkled with a bit of sea salt and powdered sugar, it creates a delicious sweet & salty flavor combination that’s sure to satisfy both the savory and the sweet tooth. In the place of flour, this recipe actually uses whole oats mixed into a light and fluffy egg mixture. For this recipe we selected Entelia extra virgin olive oil from Crete, but any of our Greek olive oil selections would pair perfectly with this dessert. 

See the full recipe HERE.

Olive Oil Substitution Guide

Olive Oil Substitution Guide

Butter / MargarineExtra Virgin Olive Oil
1 teaspoon3/4 teaspoon
1 tablespoon2 1/4 teaspoon
2 tablespoons1 1/2 tablespoons
1/4 cup3 tablespoons
1/3 cup1/4 cup
1/2 cup1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons
2/3 cup1/2 cup
3/4 cup1/2 cup + 1 tablespoon
1 cup3/4 cup

Because ingredient measurements are critical when baking, this index will help you adjust your recipe appropriately.

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