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Lemon Olive Oil Cake

  • Author: Lauren Grant
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 1 hour
  • Total Time: 1 ⅓ hours + cooling time
  • Yield: 1 (9-inch cake); 8–10 servings 1x
  • Category: Dessert
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: Italian/Mediterranean


The ultimate Lemon Olive Oil Cake! It's tender, moist, and bursting with flavor from fruity olive oil and lemon zest. This cake is made with good olive oil, whole-wheat flour, and features a crusty, sugary top.


  • 1 ¾ cups (8 ounces) white whole-wheat flour
  • 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
  • ¾ teaspoon table salt
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 cup sugar + more for top
  • 2 tablespoons minced lemon zest
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste
  • ¾ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • ¾ cup whole milk

Toppings, optional:


Heat oven to 350ºF with rack set in middle position. Grease 9-inch springform pan (if your springform pan is prone to leaking, wrap the base in a piece of foil).

Whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt in bowl; set aside.

Using stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whip eggs on medium speed until foamy, about 1 minute. With mixer running, add sugar, lemon zest, and vanilla. Increase speed to high, and whip until mixture is fluffy and pale yellow, about 3 minutes.

Reduce speed to medium and, with mixer running, slowly stream in oil; mix 1 minute. Reduce speed to low and add half of the flour; mix until incorporated, about 1 minute, scraping down side of bowl as needed. Add milk and mix until combined, about 30 seconds. Add remaining flour mixture and mix just until incorporated, about 1 minute, scraping down side of bowl as needed.

Transfer batter to prepared pan; evenly sprinkle top with about 2 tablespoons sugar. Bake cake until top is deep golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with few crumbs attached, 48–55 minutes.

Transfer pan to wire rack and let cool for 20 minutes. Loosen and remove side of pan; let cake cool completely, about 1½ hours. Loosen cake from the pan base, transfer to a serving plate, and cut into wedges; serve. 

Optional, top servings with whipped cream, candied lemon wedges, and a drizzle of good-quality olive oil.


Under-bake by 3 minutes or so if you like it dense and moist. Bake it the full amount of time if you like it more cake-like (still moist!).

Recipe adapted from America’s Test Kitchen

Keywords: olive oil cake, lemon olive oil cake, healthy cake

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