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Last Updated on September 8, 2020 by Chenée Lewis
Last week, I went to a small, laid-back dinner at a friend’s place. My friend, who is originally from Italy, was making pizza, so I wanted to bring a dessert with some Italian origins. I’ve recently been watching old episodes of Great British Bake-Off on Netflix, and I remembered seeing an olive oil cake challenge that looked so delicious. So I picked up some brightly flavored olive oil, and brightened up the cake with some orange zest and a little rosemary. The flavors worked perfectly!
If you haven’t had an olive oil cake, you’re missing out! The olive oil balances sweetness perfectly. And in this version, the orange and rosemary flavors complement the olive oil so well. So you end up with a less decadent dessert, but one that is so satisfying, especially after a delicious Italian meal! Plus, olive oil keeps the cake moist for days and gives it a distinctive flavor that is amazing!
- orange zest – the main source of the orange flavor in this olive oil cake! It brightens up the cake so much — I love how much flavor it adds.
- eggs – your eggs should be room temperature to ensure a light and fluffy cake.
- white sugar – adds a little sweetness.
- extra-virgin olive oil – I used this one, but you can use whatever full-flavored EVOO you prefer! Just make sure you enjoy the flavor, since it’s a major part of the flavor of this olive oil cake.
- whole milk – helps to add a little moisture, while keeping the texture nice and light.
- pure vanilla extract – the flavor of vanilla balances so well with the orange in this cake!
- orange extract – this is optional, if you want to boost the orange flavor. If you don’t have orange extract, you can also just bump up the amount of orange zest!
- all-purpose flour – measured using the spoon-and-level method, or even better — measured by weight using a food scale: it measures out to 188 grams.
- baking powder
- kosher salt
- optional toppings including more olive oil to bump up that EVOO flavor, powdered sugar, and a rosemary sprig for garnish.
This orange olive oil cake is so easy, you won’t need any special equipment! All you’ll need is a cake pan, a whisk, a bowl, and (ideally) a food scale to measure your flour.
Step by Step
The best part about this orange rosemary olive oil cake is how easy it is. I’ve been baking a lot of cakes recently, and this cake was a welcome break. This recipe calls for NO stand mixer, NO handheld mixer, NO softening of butter, and NO layering/assembling. It all comes together with a quick whisk (just try to set out your eggs to come to room temp).
- It takes about 5 minutes to get the batter together, basically as long as it took for the oven to preheat. You’ll just whisk together all of the ingredients in order in one bowl and then add it to your cake pan!
- You’ll bake it for about 35 minutes and let it cool.
- You can brush on some olive oil on the warm cake to bump up the olive oil flavor, or dust it with powdered sugar. I like to garnish with a sprig of rosemary just to keep it cute. I wanted to keep this recipe simple, but you could definitely trade out the powdered sugar topping for a citrus icing or glaze, or even a cream cheese frosting. This olive oil cake is pretty much foolproof, so I would definitely feel free to customize! Let me know what changes you make in the comments!
This is such a versatile olive oil cake recipe, perfect for any occasion! But if you’re looking for other options, you might like my Lavender Earl Grey Cake with Honey-Lemon Glaze. It’s full of amazing flavors of Earl Grey tea, honey, buttermilk, lavender, and lemon! And it’s so easy to make!
Or for another olive oil cake recipe that you’ll love, try my Vegan Lemon-Pistachio Olive Oil Cake. In addition to olive oil, it’s got toasted pistachio oil, lemon zest, and chopped pistachios. You’ll love it for your next gathering!
Equipment you may need
- 2 tbsp finely grated orange zest – from about 1 1/2 oranges
- 1 ½ tbsp finely chopped rosemary leaves – (7g)
- 3 large eggs – room temperature
- 1 cup granulated sugar – (200g)
- ¾ cup extra-virgin olive oil – (162g)
- ⅔ cup whole milk – (160g)
- ½ tsp pure vanilla extract – (2g)
- ½ tsp orange extract – (2g) optional
- 1½ cups all-purpose flour – (188g)
- 1½ tsp baking powder – (7g)
- ½ tsp kosher salt – (2g)
- Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C). Spray an 8-inch round cake pan with baking spray with flour; line bottom of pan with parchment paper.
- In a large mixing bowl, whisk flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt together in a bowl until well combined.
- Add in orange zest and rosemary and mix well.
- Add olive oil, milk, and eggs, and extracts, mixing gently between each addition. Batter will be very liquidy.
- Scrape batter into prepared pan and bake until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean, approximately 35 minutes. .
- Let cool in pan for 10 minutes. Remove from pan, brush with additional olive oil, and let cool completely on a wire rack.
- Store at room temperature wrapped loosely in foil or plastic wrap. Dust with powdered sugar just before serving, and garnish with a rosemary sprig.
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