Breakfast and Brunch, Cakes, Pies & Tarts, Dessert

Citrus Olive Oil Cake

Nicoletta May 26, 2018

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Citrus Olive Oil Cake, rich and aromatic, so moist it lasts for days, with a beautiful crust housing the most delicious flavors of olive oil, Meyer lemon and orange.

Song of the day: Something got me started, by Simply Red.

Citrus Olive Oil Cake

Citrus fruits and extra virgin olive oil must be two of the most common items to find in our kitchen. We make sure never to run out of either one, in fact, we have always good supplies of both.



As for citrus fruits, our fridge crisper holds lemons, limes, oranges of all kinds, mandarines, clementines, grapefruits, according to season availability. You hardly see me eating an orange as a fruit, what I like to do is to squeeze them to make a “spremuta d’arancia” (freshly squeezed orange juice). I was never one to like any kind of store bought fruit juices, I grew up on spremuta and that was the only “juice” you would have at our house, kindly prepared by my father, with a vintage orange juicer. The kind that you have to press the orange half into a spinning cone, sending the machine into obnoxious waling.

When I make my “spremuta”, sometimes I like to add mandarins and/or lemons to oranges to build a more fragrant flavor. Other than freshly squeezed, the lemon/lime/orange zest is something you find very frequently in our recipes, both in baking and cooking.

I had already made a Cherry, Almond, and Olive Oil Cake, and a Fig, Almond, and Olive Oil Cake, both adapted from a recipe found on Food52, and both with a beautiful texture and an incredible flavor. What I missed was a Citrus Olive Oil Cake and when I saw that Food 52 had a version called “Maialino’s Olive Oil Cake” I was enthralled. The recipe is from Maialino Restaurant in New York City, where they serve it at breakfast in muffin form or turn it into a birthday cake, layered with mascarpone buttercream. I was more than ready to give it a try and although I did some changes swapping some all purpose flour with whole wheat flour, and the Grand Marnier liqueur with an Orangello liqueur we bought at Eataly in Rome, I decided to keep the amount of olive oil intact, even if I ‘gasped’ a little when I first read that I would need 1 and 1/3 cups, 285 g, of olive oil. Holy moly. I would suggest to cut back the oil a little bit, so I put 1 cup in the recipe and that would still preserve that olive flavor and moist texture.

Citrus Olive Oil CakeCitrus Olive Oil Cake

There are so many liquids in this recipe other than the e.v.o. oil, the orange juice, the Orangello liqueur, the milk, so the batter is very liquidy, but do not worry, it still rises beautifully, the top crackles which is a good sign, and when you cut into it, it holds perfectly.

Citrus Olive Oil Cake

This Citrus Olive Oil Cake is also pretty easy and fast to make. I would suggest having all the ingredients ready, then, it’s more the wait for it to bake than the actual preparation. It needs about 1 hour in the oven, but since all ovens seem to bake at their own time and temperature, I would check it with a skewer at about 50 minutes or so, to make sure it doesn’t overbake and burn.

Citrus Olive Oil Cake

Citrus Olive Oil Cake is a beautiful cake that would make your house smell amazing of grass and citrus. If you close your eyes you could feel you are laying on a freshly mown grassy field under an orange blossom tree in some Mediterranean country.

The addition of the whole wheat flour and raw cane sugar makes for a darker cake in color, but also provides a lovely nutty/caramelized undertone. Our only concern, when biting into it, was the amount of olive oil. It seemed to drench the cake a bit while leaving your fingers very oily. The bonus point is that its moistness lasted for days in the glass-domed stand.

Citrus Olive Oil Cake

I love the way the crust holds this crispness and has that wonderful caramelized flavor. As we venture into the interior we are pleasantly enticed by the density and flavors. The olive oil holds the moisture in this cake giving it richness and the Meyer lemon and orange have just enough acidity balancing this bundt cake to no ends. This cake does not have frosting or layers of decorative design but I will say in its own right is simply elegant!

Song of the day: Something got me started, by Simply Red.

Citrus Olive Oil Cake

Citrus Olive Oil Cake

  • Author: Nicoletta
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 1 hour
  • Total Time: 1 hour 20 minutes
  • Yield: 10 servings 1x
  • Category: Breakfast/Dessert
  • Method: Baking


The recipe is adapted from “Maialino’s Olive Oil Cake” on Food52


  • 200 g all-purpose flour
  • 50 g whole wheat flour
  • 330 g raw cane sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 250 g (1 cup) extra-virgin olive oil
  • 305 g whole milk
  • large eggs, organic, free-range
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp grated orange and Meyer lemon zest
  • 70 g freshly squeezed orange juice
  • 55 g Orangello (or Limoncello, or Grand Marnier)


Preheat the oven to 350° F (180° C). Oil, butter, or spray a 9-inch bundt cake pan.

  1. In a bowl, whisk the flour, sugar, salt, baking soda and baking powder.
  2. In another bowl, whisk the olive oil, milk, eggs, orange and lemon zest, orange juice and orange liquor.
  3. Add the dry ingredients to the wet, and whisk until just combined.
  4. Pour the batter (which will be fairly liquid) into the prepared pan and bake for 1 hour, or until the top is golden, cracked, and a cake tester comes out clean.
  5. Transfer the cake to a rack and let cool for 30 minutes.
  6. Run a plastic knife around the edge of the pan, invert the cake onto the rack and let cool completely about 2 hours.
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Citrus Olive Oil Cake

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  • Avatar
    Reply Diego Lopes June 4, 2018 at 6:57 am

    Honestly I never would have thought to blend citrus with olive oil, but now I’m glad I know that it’s a possibility.

    • Nicoletta
      Reply Nicoletta June 4, 2018 at 7:49 am

      Yes, it is, and a pretty tasty one 😉 . Thank you for stopping by!

  • Avatar
    Reply Gloria June 5, 2018 at 8:32 am

    OMG….I made a polenta cake….and it had olive oil. What a wonderful, rich, delicious cake it was. This looks like one I will have to try too. I love the simple things in life…..and this certainly is one of those tasty gems.

    • Nicoletta
      Reply Nicoletta June 5, 2018 at 5:48 pm

      Thank you, Gloria, it is simple bu so tasty. Your polenta cake must have been wonderful!

  • Avatar
    Reply Jenni June 8, 2018 at 10:13 am

    This is such a pretty cake to serve for brunch. I would love this with a cup of tea and a piece of fruit. It’s also a great excuse for me to dig out my much-neglected bundt pan.

    • Nicoletta
      Reply Nicoletta June 8, 2018 at 10:37 am

      I love bundt pans and bundt cakes 🙂 . This cake would be perfect with a cup of tea and accompanied by some fruit!

  • Avatar
    Reply Marisa Franca @ All Our Way June 8, 2018 at 2:32 pm

    Every time you post one of your olive oil cakes I swear I’m going to make it! Well, since it’s just Honey and me we try to stay away from sweets unless we have a family get-together. Well, good news for us and our kids — we’re moving closer to them and they’re licking their lips in anticipation of all the goodies we’ll share. This cake will certainly be one of the goodies.

    • Nicoletta
      Reply Nicoletta June 9, 2018 at 7:14 am

      I know what you’re saying, we share with neighbours and coworkers when family is not around 🙂 . Thank you so much!!

  • Avatar
    Reply Leslie June 9, 2018 at 5:43 am

    I’m embarrassed to say I’ve never made an olive oil cake before. Your description sounds amazing. My mouth is watering thinking of the crisp, caramelized outside and the tender citrusy inside.

    • Nicoletta
      Reply Nicoletta June 9, 2018 at 7:18 am

      Exactly! So tender, moist and citrusy on the inside 😉 Hope you try it. Thank you for your comment!

  • Avatar
    Reply lauren June 10, 2018 at 7:01 am

    This looks so tasty. I would have never thought to use a citrus like grapefruit in a cake but I absolutely can’t wait to try. Plus I am totally down for any recipe that involves limoncello OR grand mariner (or both haha.)

    • Nicoletta
      Reply Nicoletta June 10, 2018 at 9:45 am

      Ah, ah, yes! Hope you try it and love it 🙂 . Thank you!

  • Avatar
    Reply Leslie Haasch June 10, 2018 at 9:45 am

    I would have gawked at that amount of oil in the recipe, too – but I like the tweaks you made, this sounds delicious!

    • Nicoletta
      Reply Nicoletta June 10, 2018 at 9:47 am

      It is really delicious and so moist and flavorful. Thank you!

  • Avatar
    Reply Julie June 10, 2018 at 10:14 am

    I really love the earthy flavor that olive oil cakes take on. I’ve always made mine in a cake pan, though – I’ve never tried them in bundt cake form. Bundt cakes are so pretty!

    • Nicoletta
      Reply Nicoletta June 10, 2018 at 10:23 am

      They are! I just love bundt cakes so much 😉 . Thanks!!

  • Avatar
    Reply Shelley @ Two Healthy Kitchens June 10, 2018 at 12:17 pm

    So many things that are just great about this recipe! Like, that it’s so moist it lasts beautifully for days. And that it’s versatile enough that Maialino not only serves it as a breakfast muffin, but also transforms it into a birthday cake … that’s some REAL versatility! And that you subbed in some whole wheat flour (yay, whole grains)! Oh, plus how I just want to jab my fork through the screen to nab some … gorgeous!

    • Nicoletta
      Reply Nicoletta June 10, 2018 at 4:09 pm

      Thank you! It is a really great recipe to have.

  • Avatar
    Reply Rachel June 10, 2018 at 3:20 pm

    This looks so tasty! The cake looks so moist and I bet the citrus and olive oil compliment each other so well. I could eat this for dessert or for breakfast!

    • Nicoletta
      Reply Nicoletta June 10, 2018 at 4:08 pm

      Thanks! That’s how we had it, breakfast and dessert 🙂 .

  • Avatar
    Reply Claire | The Simple, Sweet Life June 10, 2018 at 11:23 pm

    Lemon and orange are some of my favorite flavors! I’ve never tried an olive oil cake, but this one looks so stunning I think I’ll have to give it a try!

    • Nicoletta
      Reply Nicoletta June 11, 2018 at 8:35 am

      Mine too! Try it and you won’t be disappointed. Thank you for your comment!

  • Avatar
    Reply Michele June 11, 2018 at 4:29 am

    I am ALL about the citrus in my desserts! You can see how moist this cake is in your beautiful photos. It’s simply gorgeous and sounds even more delicious.

    • Nicoletta
      Reply Nicoletta June 11, 2018 at 8:35 am

      Love citrus flavor in my desserts. It was super moist and delicious, thank you!

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