This past week I did zero baking. Over the weekend I felt the pressure to spend some free afternoon hours in my kitchen, but I talked myself out of it. It was my birthday weekend after all, and truth be told, I was on a little sugar overload from all of the cupcakes.

So my kitchen stood empty and I enjoyed the break. I really enjoyed it, actually. I think lately I’ve lost sight of the whole purpose behind this blog. It’s not about the number of posts, it’s not how many visitors or comments I have. It’s not about money or a quest for fame.

It’s about doing something that I love.

I love to bake. It’s fun, relaxing (except when it isn’t), and you just can’t beat a yummy baked treat.

I love to share my baking with you. Taking pictures in my kitchen is fun, as is all of the yoga positions I put myself into to get the perfect shot. Writing down my thoughts about life and food, can be difficult sometimes, but when I get them down just right, it feels good.

Most importantly, I love interacting with you, my readers and my friends. Few things make me happier than reading a kind comment from one of you. And when you give one of my recipes a try and write me to tell me how much you loved it? That totally makes my day.

You want to know something else I love? This lemon olive oil cake. I’ve made it so many times now and I just can’t get enough. It’s got a brightness of flavor and lightness of texture that makes it really hard for me to stop after one, or even two, slices. If you were to sample a little of the batter before baking, you would taste a strong presence of olive oil, and you might wonder if it’s all going to work out. Don’t worry, it will.

The olive oil produces a cake that is very moist and light, and compliments the fruitiness of the lemon, but it does so without drawing attention to fact that you’re eating a cake made with the stuff. In fact, if you didn’t know olive oil was part of the recipe, it’s likely you wouldn’t even know it was there.

Like I said, I’ve made this cake several times. I’ve baked it in a cake pan and baked it in a loaf pan. I’ve served it with sweetened whipped cream, and also with a lemon glaze. All variations are fantastic. It doesn’t need the glaze, but I like how it adds an extra punch of lemony sweetness. The key is to not over bake the cake, as it will go from a super moist cake to a dry one very quickly.

This cake is not the most beautiful, and it isn’t super fancy. It’s just a simple cake, one you can put together quickly and enjoy without breaking a sweat. I’m in love.

Lemon Olive Oil Cake
Adapted from Epicurious
Makes 1 loaf cake or 8 inch cake

3/4 cup olive oil*
1 large lemon
1 cup all-purpose flour
5 egg yolks
4 egg whites
3/4 cup plus 1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
1 cup powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease an 8 inch springform, or 9 x 5 inch loaf pan with olive oil and line with parchment paper. Grease the parchment paper and then dust with flour.

Grate the lemon zest from the lemon and mix together with the flour in a medium bowl. Juice the lemon.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, beat together the egg yolks and 1/2 cup sugar at high speed until thick and pale, about 3 minutes. Reduce the speed to medium and slowly add the olive oil and 1 1/2 tablespoons of lemon juice (mixture may appear separated). Add the flour mixture and fold in gently with a wooden spoon or spatula.

Spoon the batter into a large bowl and wash and dry the bowl and whisk attachment for the stand mixer. Add the 4 egg whites to the bowl of the stand mixer and beat on high speed with the whisk attachment until foamy. Continue to beat on high, slowly adding 1/4 cup of sugar. Beat just to soft peaks. Fold the egg whites into the cake batter until just combined. Pour into the prepared baking pan and sprinkle with the remaining sugar.

Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 45 minutes. Cool for 10 minutes in the pan, then remove to a wire rack to cool completely.

Prepare the glaze by whisking together the powdered sugar 1 tablespoon of the fresh lemon juice. Add more lemon juice if necessary to get the desired consistency. Pour over the cooled cake.

*I’ve exclusively used extra-virgin olive oil in this cake, but from a very standard grocery store brand, nothing expensive or fancy. Epicurious indicates that both extra-virgin and regular olive oil produce great results.

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58 Responses to Lemon Olive Oil Cake

  1. Holly says:

    This looks deeevine!! I'm printing and trying ASAP!!:) Thanks!

  2. Trish Ponder says:

    You make such beautiful food…Everyday posts aren't necessary, everything I've baked from your blog has turned out delicious. Thanks for the great recipes!

  3. Priya says:

    Woww wat a beautiful and gorgeous cake,sooo marvellous..

  4. Galexi Cupcakes says:

    Wow, this is just perfect. I'm putting it on my list of "TO BAKE ASAP". Thanks for sharing.

  5. Anonymous says:

    There are so many varieties of olive oil–what kind do you use?

  6. Annalise says:

    Good question! I can't believe I forgot to mention that. I've now made a note in the recipe. Thanks for bringing it to my attention!

  7. Roxan says:

    Annalise, this cake looks delicious. I've been planning on making an olive oil cake also… The lemon is a lovely touch.

  8. ayshesultan says:

    i really like simple cakes!!!i will bake it soonnnnnnn

  9. Becky at VintageMixer says:

    looks beautiful. I love how crisp the edges got!

  10. the chirpy bird says:

    I have a similar recipe that I absolutely ADORE! I just love cakes like this. They remind me of sitting with my mum of an afternoon with a piping hot cuppa tea!
    thanks for the reminder
    xxx t

  11. Vanessa says:

    Thanks, just printed it! I will be making this tomorrow, I've got a few Meyer lemons to use up! Sounds perfect!

  12. Sara says:

    Gorgeous! This looks so yummy…I love lemon and olive oil together.

  13. Out of the Kitchen says:

    Can't wait to try out this recipe!

  14. Anonymous says:

    hmm to be honest I'm not that much for the olive oil… Do you think I can cut that out?

  15. Annalise says:

    I promise, you won't even be able to detect the olive oil in the cake. Give it a try! I would imagine you would be able to swap out the olive oil for vegetable oil, but since I have not tried it myself, I couldn't say for sure.

  16. Erika Beth, the Messy Chef says:

    This looks delicious and makes me want to eat some right now! I too like to take pictures of my work in my kitchen…too bad there are no windows and bad lighting. :(

  17. Mary says:

    Oh my! Now that is one beautiful looking cake! Fabulous photos!!

    Great blog; happy I found you!

    Mary xx
    Delightful Bitefuls

  18. hej says:

    I know it's comepletly ridicoulus but it's more the calories in the oil… I got a problem with food and calories but that cake just looks way too delish not to make

  19. NicoleD says:

    I have been wanted to try an olive oil cake for a while and this looks so wonderful, crackly exterior and all :) I've been meaning to tell you that I tried your clementine scones and they are fantastic! I've made them so many times with different citrus and they are always great. Thanks for sharing the recipe!

  20. Erika says:

    Exactly my kind of cake – simple and sweet. Can't wait to try it.

  21. Sprinzette @ Ginger and Almonds says:

    This is exactly what I need to eat, right now. When I'm back in my kitchen I am definitely going to try this out. Thanks for the inspiration!

  22. Nell says:

    This sounds so fresh and looks simply lovely.

  23. Christine says:

    This looks fantastic! I can't wait to try it out. Quick question – where do you find a 9×5 loaf pan? I have 2 loaf pans from Williams Sonoma – one is just under 9×5 (8.5×4.5) and one is just over(10×5 I think). Most recipes I see call for a 9×5 loaf pan but I can't seem to ever find one to buy. Any thoughts?

  24. Anonymous says:

    could I use gluten free flour in this? will the measure stay the same?

  25. Annalise says:

    I have actually never baked with gluten free flour so I can't give you any advice on substituting it here. If you try it, let me know how it goes!

  26. C.R. says:

    Going to make it today for my husband´s birthday!
    Congratulations on your blog, it´s quite interesting. I live in Spain so we always use Virgen Olive oil for everything, never butter or other kinds of fat.
    We even make our toasts with olive oil, tomato and a slice of "jamón serrano", this is salted ham (you can find it in Italian stores in America, they call it "prochuto" but it´s the same thing). I love the taste of olive oil, sometimes we just pour some over boiled pasta with a little garlic; delicious!!
    I´m sure this cake will be great. I´ll let you know.
    Another thing: love your photographs!!!

  27. Axiomia CIAO says:

    I just shared this recipe on Facebook from our page. Thanks! This cake really showcases the lemon taste and great texture when the olive oil is made from Picual olives. Picual and lemon are a heavenly combo.

  28. Anonymous says:

    It looks delicious! How long do you think it would last? Do you think I could take it camping?

  29. Annalise says:

    Well honestly we always eat it too quickly to know if it keeps well! But it has lasted a few days on the counter, covered, just fine. And I'd say, sure, take it camping! It's not super sturdy but if it's packed well it should hold up. And crumbly cake is still delicious too.

  30. Anonymous says:

    Really excellent! Light, pretty lemony yellow, no olive taste to speak of. And quick to boot! Wondering why you use all-purpose flour; did you like the results better than cake flour?

  31. Kel says:

    This is exactly what I was looking for! thank you. This is my type of blog so I have added you to mine! Awesomeness!!

  32. Anonymous says:

    Can I used aluminum foil to line the pan instead of parchment paper

  33. Annalise says:

    Yes, just make sure you grease and flour it well.

  34. Anonymous says:

    this cake is soooo delicious! I made it last week and brought it into the office and it was a huge hit!

  35. Laurie {Simply Scratch} says:

    You had me at lemon. <3

  36. [...] View post: Lemon Olive Oil Cake | Completely Delicious [...]

  37. [...] to try, which I decided I would use to bake a lemon loaf cake. Good choice. I found this recipe on Completely Delicious and substituted the lemons and extra virgin olive oil for my nifty little tin of [...]

  38. Annie says:

    I just made this cake, and it’s absolutely delicious! Super moist, sweet and subtle flavor of lemon, great tangy addition with the glaze…. I will totaly bake this again sometime (soon!), and next time I think I’ll skip the « sprinkle with sugar » part. It added a little something too sugary for my taste, so I’ll simply use the lemon glaze. Now it’s sitting on my counter top, screaming my name for me to have a… third piece. Try to resist. Not easy.

  39. Verena says:

    Loved the cake so much I made one yesterday and one today. Considering am a huge bakophobic….. did not bother with the glaze the first time round, still thinking about glazing today’s effort.
    Thank you for that brilliant recipe xxx

  40. I have some fresh Meyer Lemons begging for a recipe. I think they just found their match. Looove that crust.

  41. Adam says:

    Made this for a friend’s birthday. She can’t eat dairy. It was absolutely perfect. Thank you!x

  42. Amanda says:

    Oh my, this looks delicious! I just “found” your blog today and have spent quite a lot of time drooling over your recipes (and pictures!). I was resolved to making the brown butter chocolate chips because that sounds a-mazing but discovered I was all out of chocolate chips- who does that?! Anywho, this looks equally delicious and I am now off to make it!

    Thank you for taking the time to share your wonderful creations!

  43. Premshree says:

    I made this cake the other day, and it turned out delicious. I want to make it again, but I was wondering if I could use a liqueur like Grand Marnier in the cake. If so, how much and where should I add it?

  44. Melissa says:

    I’m making this cake for a special occasion, even though I have made it several times before and know it is a simpler kind of thing–because all of the food at the baby shower will be mediterranean and I wanted to push that. It has to serve 50, so I’ve made two big layers (4x the recipe). The cake is perfect… but it is supposed to have frosting of some kind. Classic buttercream just doesn’t seem right. Any advice?

    • Annalise says:

      This would be perfect for a Mediterranean food themed shower! And it’s one of my favorites. Are you going to make the layers into a layer cake? I’m not sure how it would hold up as a layer cake since it is so delicate, you’ll have to let me know. Maybe you could frost it with an Italian meringue buttercream? It’s light and elegant. I have a how-to here.

      • Melissa says:

        thanks for your response, annalise. the recipe you offer is what i always think of as “true buttercream,” and i have also used it to ice wedding cakes–it is perfect, and every baker should master it. your photos of the process are beautiful.
        for the olive oil cakes, i couldn’t convince myself to use a buttery icing, and i didn’t want to make supports to layer it (which, as you would guess, it would absolutely have needed, because of how light a cake it is). i laid the three large layers out on a long, rustic board and dusted them each with powdered sugar. before serving, i covered the top of two with mascerated strawberries (some people are allergic to strawberries, but they should still get to eat the cake!).

      • Annalise says:

        Sounds like a fantastic presentation, I bet everyone loved it!

  45. John says:

    Bula Annalise, I’m John from Fiji all the way from the South Pacific! I discovered your recipe and wanted to give it a try! I guess it ain’t hard for guys to try it out! I’ve just put my cake into the oven hoping it turns out! Have yet to taste it! Thanks for the easy to do recipe!


  46. Mirjam Jensen says:

    Thanks for the great recipe! I love that it uses olive oil rather than a more unhealthy oil choice. It’s baking right now, can’t wait to try it!

    * Just as a side note: I always add 1 Tbsp. cold water per egg white when I beat egg whites, it helps to stiffen the egg whites much quicker.

  47. Katerina says:

    Hi! I stumbled upon your yummy-looking cake while searching for an olive oil cake. Quick question: can I add baking powder or will it be a disaster when I try to pour the glaze?
    Thanks in advance!

    • Annalise says:

      I haven’t tried the recipe with baking powder, so I can’t testify as to the results. However, baking powder is not needed to make this cake rise. It gets its rise from the whipped eggs.

  48. Katerina says:

    Hi again,
    Have to say; you destroyed me! I baked three of these in the past few days and gained 2 pounds :) I added baking powder in one of them and there was no difference really, so you were right. I loved the texture from the whipped eggs. Genius recipe, thank you!

  49. Mandy says:


    I your article looking for olive oil cakes and thought you might be interested in a couple that I found. Nigella lawson has done a fantastic chocolate olive oil cake and I found this one I haven’t tried yet, but plan to make it my next cake once I have eaten my chocolate one…

    • Mandy says:

      The chocolate cake was amazing, but the apple and pear one was a bit disappointing, mainly because I’m not that keen on cinnamon.

      The idea is good, sandwiching fruit between two layers of cake, so I’m going to experiment with different flavours for the cake and see if all those raising agents are necessary.

  50. [...] Lemon Olive Oil Cake from Annalise of Completely Delicious [...]

  51. Angelique Gertig says:

    looks scrumptious! but the picture that posts when I share on facebook looks more like a bread and does not look like any of the above pictures of this cake! so sad, cuz the one that posts is NOT as appealing to look at!

  52. Chin Joo says:

    Hello from Malaysia!
    Thank you for this wonderful recipe! It was easy to make, the cake was LOVELY! Smooth texture, fragrant and delish!

  53. jordan says:

    hello, this cake came out beautifully! only thing i would say is its a little dense in the middle at the very bottom, but it doesn’t notice when you eat it; it’s so delicious! thank you x

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