Light and tender yet beautifully moist, this Orange Olive Oil Cake recipe is the best one out there. Bursting with orange flavor, you can eat this cake as is. No toppings required. But if you’re feeling fancy, top it off with some gorgeous whipped cream and some candied citrus.
About this olive oil cake recipe
First and foremost, cake is cake. So it’s never going to be healthy. BUT, around here we’re all about healthyish, which means making smart ingredient swaps to easily up the nutrition factor without sacrificing on flavor.
This recipe for healthy-ish olive oil cake uses 100% whole-wheat flour and only olive oil—no butter. Heart-healthy fat and whole-grains!
Tips for making the best orange olive oil cake
- Use good quality olive oil: olive oil cake a majority of its flavor from, you guessed it, olive oil! Use high-quality extra-virgin olive oil. I prefer spanish olive oil here, or an olive oil labeled “robust.” If you don’t like the strong flavor of extra-virgin olive oil, go ahead and use an extra-virgin olive oil labeled “smooth” or “mild.”
- Whip the eggs: whipping whole eggs (not just whites) with sugar helps to create an olive oil cake that’s airy and fine textured while still being sturdy enough to hold a good amount of whipped cream and oranges.
Sturdy is important here since a batter made with olive oil is heavier than one made with whipped butter, whipping whole eggs helps with that.
- Add some crunch: just about any cake benefits from something crunchy. Right before baking, sprinkle a thin layer of sugar over the batter. As it bakes, the sugar will create a nice sugary crust. If you don’t want that added bit of sugar try sprinkling sliced almonds over top for a finish that’s both crunchy and stunning.
How to make olive oil cake
- Start by whipping the eggs in a stand mixer until foamy. Meanwhile, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt.
- Add the sugar, orange zest and vanilla and whip, on high speed, until thick, fluffy, and pale in color. It should be stunning!
- Slowly drizzle in the oil.
- Mix in half of the flour, followed by the milk and orange liqueur (enhances the orange flavor), and finally the remaining flour.
- Pour the batter into a greased springform pan, sprinkle with sugar, and bake until the top is deep golden brown.
How to Make Orange Olive Oil Cake (step-by-step photos)
Why use a springform pan?
Part of the appeal of this cake is its height. And since we work pretty hard for it—whipping the eggs and sugar—we want to make sure to maintain that lift. A springform pan, with its tall sides, is the ideal vehicle for baking this cake. It encourages height and ensures no overflow of batter.
Plus, with a springform pan you simply release the sides and lift away from the cake, keeping that crusty, sugary top intact!
If you’re really adamant about using a regular cake pan, there are some things to keep in mind. First, I would skip the sugary top (or be OK with it cracking and crumbling off when inverting). Second, consider placing a baking sheet on the rack right below the cake to catch any batter that may overflow. And third, in an attempt to avoid overflow, be sure to use a 9-inch cake pan with tall sides.
How to serve olive oil cake: topping ideas
- Orange segments
- Whipped cream
- Orange marmalade
- Orange curd
- Fresh rosemary
How to store olive oil cake & how long is lasts
- Up to 1 day: cover cake with foil and store at room temperature.
- 1–5 days: transfer to an airtight container and store in the refrigerator.
Variations on this Orange Olive Oil Cake
- Triple Citrus: use a combination of lemon, lime and orange zest instead of just orange zest.
- Orange & Rosemary: add some minced fresh rosemary to the batter for an herby note—one of my favorite flavor combinations!.
- Orange extract: use orange extract instead of the vanilla extract.
- Blood Oranges: use blood orange zest in the cake and top with blood oranges.
Make sure to tag me @ZESTFULKITCHEN ON INSTAGRAM or tag #zestfulkitchen on social media if you make a recipe. Don’t forget, if you make this Orange Olive Oil Cake, leave a comment and rating below!
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Light, tender and bursting with orange flavor, this olive oil cake makes the perfect healthyish dessert! Topped with pillowy whipped cream, a dash of cardamom and fresh orange segments for a stunning finish.
- 1 ¾ cups (8oz.; 226g) white whole-wheat flour
- 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
- ¾ teaspoon kosher salt
- 3 large eggs (5.3oz.;150g)
- ¾ cup sugar + more for top (5.2oz.; 147g)
- 4 oranges, zested and oranges reserved for serving
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- ¾ cup extra-virgin olive oil (5.7oz.; 161g)
- ¾ cup whole milk (6.2oz.; 175g)
- 3 tablespoons Grand Marnier, or other orange liqueur
- ¼ teaspoon ground cardamom
- ¾ cup heavy cream
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- Olive oil for drizzling
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 light foamy, about 1 minute.
With mixer running, add sugar, 2 tablespoons minced orange 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. Stream in milk and grand marnier 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. (and scraping zest from white tines)
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, 48–50 minutes. Transfer pan to wire rack and let cool for 20 minutes. Remove side of pan and let cake cool completely, about 1½ hours.
Meanwhile, peel and segment reserved zested oranges; squeezing juice from membrane over orange segments. Toss orange segments with cardamom.
Using a stand mixer or hand mixer, beat heavy cream in a chilled metal bowl until bubbly. With mixer running on medium speed, stream in 2 tablespoons sugar, increase speed to high and whip until stiff peaks form.
Spread whipped cream over cooled cake and top with oranges; cut into wedges and serve with additional olive oil.
Orange liqueur: orange liqueur such as Grand Marnier or Gran Gala add deep orange flavor without too much liquid. If you don’t have or would rather not use liqueur go ahead and use fresh orange juice instead, it just won’t add the same punch of flavor.
- Serving Size: 1/12 recipe
- Calories: 270
- Sugar: 13g
- Sodium: 171mg
- Fat: 16g
- Saturated Fat: 3g
- Carbohydrates: 28g
- Fiber: 3g
- Protein: 5g
- Cholesterol: 48mg
Keywords: orange olive oil cake, olive oil cake