Lemon olive oil cake is a simple, elegant cake that’s incredibly moist with a delicious lemon flavor. It’s perfect for dessert, afternoon tea or brunch and stays moist and tender for days.
This lemon olive oil cake is the type of back pocket recipe that you can make whenever. It has a beautiful lemon flavor without being too sweet or too rich, and the cake crumb is extremely tender without being too heavy or dense. It’s quick and easy to make with simple, everyday ingredients. Best of all, it stays moist on your counter for days – so I’ll often slice myself a piece for breakfast days after making this recipe.
9-inch round cake pan with high sides (at least 2 inches)*
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 3 large eggs room temperature
- 1 ½ cups granulated sugar
- 2 tablespoons lemon zest*
- ¾ cup extra-virgin olive oil* I don’t recommend choosing anything labeled “Robust” or “Strong” in flavor
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ¼ cup lemon juice freshly squeezed
- 1 cup whole milk
Preheat the oven to 350F (180C) degrees.
Grease and flour the bottom and sides of a 9-inch round (23 cm) cake pan. Ensure the cake has sides that are at least 2 inches (5 cm) high. I typically use a springform pan.*
In a medium bowl whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
In a separate large bowl beat the eggs, sugar and lemon zest for about 5 minutes. It should look white in color and be about triple in volume when you’re done.
With the mixer on low speed beat in the oil, vanilla extract and lemon juice.
Mix in about ½ of the flour mixture, followed by about ½ of the milk. Repeat the process until everything is mixed in.
Pour the batter into the prepared pan.
Bake in the preheated oven on the middle rack for 45-50 minutes, or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.
Gently trace around the edges of the cake with a thin, sharp knife. Let the cake cool in the pan for at least 20 minutes. If using a regular cake tin, gently invert the pan and let the cake cool on a wire rack. If using a springform pan, unclamp the outer ring of the pan.
When the cake is fully cooled, optionally sift ½ teaspoon of powdered sugar on top of the cake and/or top with whipped cream and berries.
- Make sure your pan has high sides – at least 2 inches (5 cm). I typically use a springform pan. If your pan does not have high sides (such as many sandwich tins) bake the cake in 2 sandwich tins for about 30 minutes, or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.
- You’ll need 2-3 lemons in total to get 2 tablespoons of lemon zest and ¼ cup lemon juice. Always zest your lemons first, then squeeze the juice. Do not use lemon juice from a bottle, as it can be too bitter.
- I found most people preferred the flavor of this cake using a light flavored olive oil. The cake batter will taste far more of olive oil than the baked cake. I do not recommend using anything labeled robust or strong.
- Store cake in an airtight container at room temperature for 4-5 days, or in the fridge for up to 1 week.
- Nutrition information is an estimate only and based on 1 piece of cake, assuming the cake is sliced into 12 equal pieces.
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