Who woulda thunk that using olive oil in a cake, of all things, would work out so beautifully and deliciously?! Certainly not me! I’m a huge fan of olive oil. In savory dishes.
But…. this Lemon Olive Oil Cake changed everything I thought I knew about how and when and where to use olive oil.
Clearly olive oil is the perfect addition to a cake recipe, creating a light crumb with a distinctive but not overpowering olive oil taste.
Oh, and add a crunchy layer of sugar on top and lots of lemon flavor and you’ve got yourself one fine cake, my friends!
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Butter vs. Oil in Baking
Typically, cakes call for butter as one of their first ingredients. That’s because cakes, like most other baked goods, need fat to give the cake structure.
Butter also, as we know, adds richness, wonderful flavor, and moisture to cakes. You may have seen or made cake recipes that call for vegetable oil.
For sure, the boxed cake mixes use vegetable oil as their source of fat.
This makes it super easy to assemble a cake batter as there’s no creaming of butter and sugar needed and certainly no waiting for butter to come to room temperature before beginning.
One of the other really nice advantages to using oil in cakes instead of butter is that the baked cake will hold onto its moisture for longer.
Butter-based cakes tend to dry out the next day. Oil-based cakes, on the other hand, remain moist for up to 3 days after being baked.
If there happens to be, by any chance, any leftover cake, this is great news!
Why Olive Oil in a Cake Just Works
So, we know that oil can play a role in cake baking. But olive oil?! It’s got a distinct flavor and is typically used in savory dishes.
In this cake, however, the olive oil adds a layer of flavor you didn’t know you were missing before!
The right kind of olive oil (aka, a high-quality, extra-virgin variety) brings a fruity flavor to the cake. A
nd, believe it or not, the flavor of the olive oil can be detected in here, which is what we want, however, it’s definitely not overpowering.
And if you’ve learned anything about me from following along, you’ve learned at the very least that I am a huge lover of all things lemon!
Typically, olive oil cakes include some lemon to enrich the olive oil flavor, but not to provide lemon flavor, if that makes sense.
I, of course, want both! So, lots of lemon flavor is added here to make the olive oil flavor come through but also to have a lemony layer as well. That’s a win all around, if you ask me!
Tips for Making Lemon Olive Oil Cake
- Use a high quality extra-virgin olive oil for this cake. It’ll help intensify the flavor of the cake so the olive oil is noticeable, but not too overpowering. You’ll be surprised by the subtle fruity flavor produced by the olive oil plus the lemon. Per Cook’s Illustrated’s recommendation (one of my most trusted of cooking sites), I used California Olive Ranch Everyday Extra Virgin Olive Oil which can be found in most supermarkets or, of course, on amazon.com
- This recipe requires a Springform pan. If yours tends to leak, wrap the outside in foil, pressed tightly to the pan. Or, place a baking sheet on the oven floor, on the lower oven rack, or underneath the Springform to catch any drips
- The macerated berries and whipped mascarpone are totally optional. But, totally worthwhile. And, to be honest, they don’t require much effort, besides buying the ingredients if you don’t already have them. I know for me, I don’t typically have mascarpone sitting in my fridge on the regular… But, these additions are really nice finishers to this cake and elevate this dessert to new levels
Useful Kitchen Tools Used in this Recipe
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