Citrus Olive Oil Cake

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Meet our new favorite snacking cake made with fresh citrus, organic extra-virgin olive oil and sweet sherry. Top with powdered sugar or get a little fancy with candied citrus and pistachios!

This post is written in partnership with Filippo Berio.

On first glance out of the oven, this Citrus Olive Oil Cake looks quite simple. Humble, even.

But this is a cake that makes the house smell so sweet and fragrant, a cake you truly can’t stop eating. You’ll want to sneak a slice at the end of a long day with a glass of wine. And then you’ll be tempted to have a slice in the morning with your coffee.

The heavenly aroma and texture of the olive oil, the punch of oranges and lemons, and a tame amount of sugar that doesn’t overwhelm makes this a cake you’ll want to keep on a regular rotation.

Video! How to Make Citrus Olive Oil Cake

Why Olive Oil?

If you’ve haven’t baked a cake with olive oil, you are in for a very pleasant surprise. The texture is tender and moist, outlasting butter cakes by several days – although good luck if you can keep it around that long!

The flavor of an olive oil cake is earthy and floral, especially when you incorporate the rich flavor of Filippo Berio Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil.

Sweet sherry bolsters and deepens the full-bodied flavor of the oil, and candied orange slices, if you choose to make them, knock this cake out of the park. Dusting the pan with sugar before you add the batter imparts a subtle crunch. All of these elements add up to a winner.

How to Make a Citrus Olive Oil Cake?

For the most part, this is an incredibly simple cake, mixing dry and wet ingredients together and baking for 35 minutes or so. One trick we’ve got up our sleeve here to take the flavor up a level: rub the citrus zest into the sugar before incorporating to make it super fragrant and flavorful.

To finish the cake, you can simply sprinkle it with confectioner’s sugar (especially if you’ll be having it for breakfast) or if you want to get a little fancy and make an impression, decorate the top with candied orange slices and pistachios.

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Citrus Olive Oil Cake Recipe

Ingredients

For the cake

  • Olive oil (for the pan)
  • 1 cup sugar, plus 2-3 tablespoons for the pan
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons finely grated orange zest
  • 1 tablespoon finely grated lemon zest
  • 3 large eggs
  • 2/3 cup Filippo Berio Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1/2 cup sweet sherry or other sweet wine such as Moscato or Beaumes de Venise
  • Powdered sugar (optional topping)

For the candied orange topping

  • 1 medium orange such as navel, cut into 1/8-inch thick rounds
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2/3 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon chopped pistachios

Method

1 Preheat the oven to 350ºF.  Set a rack in the middle position of the oven. Brush the bottom and sides of a 9x2 inch cake pan with olive oil. 

Line the bottom of the pan with a circle of parchment paper. Brush the parchment with oil.

Generously sprinkle the pan with 2 to 3 tablespoons of sugar, tilting it to coat the bottom and sides, and tap out the excess.

 2 Assemble the dry ingredients: In a bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt together to combine.

 3 Mix the batter: In a separate large bowl, rub the orange and lemon zest into the remaining 1 cup of sugar with your fingers until the sugar is permeated with the zest.

 Add the eggs and whisk for about 45 seconds, or until the mixture lightens in color. Stir in the olive oil and sherry, and whisk until smooth.  

Add the dry ingredients to the batter and whisk just until smooth. 

4 Prepare to bake: Set the cake pan on a baking sheet and pour the batter into the pan.

 5 Bake the cake: Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, or until the top is golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.

Place the pan on a rack to cool for 15 minutes. 

Run a knife around the edge of the pan, and remove the sides and bottom (or invert the cake onto a plate if using a layer cake pan and then turn right side up). Remove the parchment and let the cake rest on the rack until it is cool.

6 Make the candied orange slices (optional): In a 9- or 10-inch deep skillet or saucepan over medium-high heat, bring the sugar, water, and lemon juice to a boil. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the sugar dissolves. 

Add the orange slices and adjust the heat to a simmer. Simmer, turning the oranges with tongs in the syrup occasionally, for 15 to 18 minutes, or until they are translucent. (If the syrup reduces to a sticky thickness, add more water, a few tablespoons at a time.) Leave the oranges in the syrup until lukewarm.

7 Decorate the cake: Brush the top of the cake with some of the orange syrup. Place the candied slices on top and sprinkle with pistachios.

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One Comment

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Did you make it? Rate it!

  1. Linda Grimes

    I made this for friends last night and we all enjoyed it. It’s not a light cake, but somewhat dense. Very distinct citrus flavor, which we loved. Definitely make the candied oranges for garnishing the top. They really make it. I have been nibbling on it all day!

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Citrus Olive Oil Cake