Lemon Olive Oil Cake

by beth on October 5, 2011

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I have been dream­ing of all things lemon since the begin­ning of time. Dur­ing my last preg­nancy I was lemon obsessed, which isn’t unusual for me given the fact I have been dream­ing about lemons since before Adam was sim­ply mere dirt wait­ing to be formed. But it got to the point where Mike was all like “REALLY, you need MORE lemon?! You are going to turn into a lemon!” And my response was “What­ever, your just jeelus because you think I love lemons more than you.” And he was all “Why don’t you just marry a lemon then.” And I was all “Maybe I will! BAM!! I win.” Because we are all totally mature like that. In fact, this is how all our con­ver­sa­tions go or at least how I choose to remem­ber them.

Any­way as part of my quest for all things lemon I had to make a lemon olive oil cake.  Because both lemons and olive oil are gifts from God and while it sounds like an odd com­bi­na­tion for a cake the olive oil takes place of but­ter cre­at­ing a vel­vety tex­ture to the cake and lemon pro­vides a bright, light punch.  I also pre­fer extra vir­gin olive oil because it pro­vides a delec­table fruiti­ness (is that a word? well it is now!) to the cake. Although one could use reg­u­lar olive oil if need be.

Again you may think it sounds crazy but really this cake is amaz­ing. Absolutely Amazing.

It is also the pre­fect addi­tion to a feast day. We had this lemon olive oil cake last night in honor of St. Fran­cis of Assisi.  It is right dessert to have at the table when you want a bright and fresh end to an Ital­ian din­ner or who am I kid­ding when you want it for any reason!

What You Need:


2 Table­spoons of Fresh Lemon Juice

Zest of 1 Medium-Large Lemon (1–2 Teaspoons)

1 Cup of All Pur­pose Flour

5 Egg yolks

4 Egg Whites

3/4 Cup of Extra Vir­gin Olive Oil

3/4 Cup of Sugar

1/2 Tea­spoon of Salt

Lemon Icing Glaze:

3–4 Table­spoons of fresh Lemon Juice

1 Cup Pow­dered Sugar

Olive Oil or But­ter to coat pan & light dust­ing of Flour (makes it not stick)

Cook 350 degrees, in mid­dle of oven, for 40–45 minutes

How To Put It Together:

In a small bowl add the olive oil & 2 table­spoons of lemon juice, mix it together and set aside. You will add it into the cake bat­ter in just a minute.

In a mix­ing bowl beat the yolks together with 1/2 cup of sugar at high speed.  Beat it for 2–3 min­utes until the mix becomes thick and pale.  Reduce the speed to a medium and add the olive oil & lemon juice mix.

On a slow speed add in the flour & lemon zest.  Incor­po­rate only do not over mix. (orig­i­nal recipe calls for fold­ing in with a wooden spoon, I did fine with the mixer but had to do it on a very slow speed & just to incorporate).

Now in a small bowl beat your egg whites (4) with the 1/2 tea­spoon of salt.  Beat these together until you have a foamy mix­ture, use a medium to high speed for this.  As you are beat­ing them slowly add in the rest of the sugar (1/4 cup) so you can cre­ate soft peaks in the egg white-sugar com­bi­na­tion.  If you mess this up don’t worry, you will still have a bang­ing cake but it might be a slightly denser texture.

After this fold in the soft peaky-egg whites mix­ture to the pre­vi­ous egg yolk-flour bat­ter.  For this don’t use the mixer, I found it was much eas­ier to use a wooden spoon or spat­ula to fold these in and will keep the cake from get­ting tool dense.

Pour the com­pleted bat­ter into the lightly oiled/buttered & floured cake pan above.  You can use a bread loaf pan, reg­u­lar 9 inch round cake pan or a spring­form pan.  After you have the bat­ter in the pan, tap the bot­tom of the pan on a counter/table top to remove air bub­bled. Then pop in the oven.

Bake on a rack in the mid­dle of the oven at 350 degrees for 40–45 min­utes.  Use the old tooth­pick in the cen­ter of the cake to see if it is cooked through. If you stick the tooth­pick in the cen­ter of the cake it should come out clean when the cake is fully cooked.

Once done cool for 10 min­utes in the pan, then remove from pan, place on serv­ing plate & top with the lemon icing glaze.  You can make the lemon icing glaze while your cake cools by mix­ing pow­dered sugar & lemon juice in a small bowl.

Serve to hun­gry crowd.

A few caveats: You could also put a piece of parch­ment paper on the bot­tom of the cake pan before adding in your cake bat­ter. If you do this make sure the parch­ment paper is well oiled/buttered & that you remove the parch­ment paper before adding the glaze.  I haven’t ever both­ered with this, it hasn’t caused any prob­lems so far at least in my per­spec­tive.  Also, I used all pur­pose flour because that is what I had on hand, the orig­i­nal recipe calls for cake flour (not self-rising) it worked fine.

You could also go with a non-lemon glaze, a good dose of pow­dered sugar or home­made whipped cream on top with fresh fruit.

Adapted from Gourmet Mag­a­zine April 2006

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{ 13 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Lora October 5, 2011 at 8:08 pm

I am totally with you on the lemon. Working in a patisserie in france after five months of pastry training has me a bit spoiled. I’m over all the fancy new desserts. Sure they’re beautiful and different but really all I want is something good and classic, and when it comes to my top five of classic flavors, lemon is at the top. Anything citrus and tart really. Because no matter how much butter or lard or whatever you put into it, the lemon or citrus fruit of your choice makes it taste light and easy and healthy. I can eat an entire pig and if I end my meal with a good lemon tart I feel like I held back and took an easy night. It’s just such a nice and naturally fresh way to end a meal and so I feel that it lends itself so well to pastry. So yes, turn into a lemon because then I would cherise you completely because lemons are f***king delicious.


2 beth October 12, 2011 at 11:11 am

I like the way you think! I also like using lemon desserts (or other citrus desserts) as a way to feel like one has held back for the night.


3 Anna October 5, 2011 at 10:10 pm

This is some combination I don’t stumble upon in the net often. Mostly, the use of lemon with olive oil would almost always be a salad dressing, rarely a cake. This is what caught me interested in your post. Will definitely try!


4 beth October 12, 2011 at 11:13 am

This combination is also a good one for muffins or cookies. Seems like it shouldn’t work, but it does & is so good!


5 Ali October 6, 2011 at 7:33 am

Wow!! what a cake, i agree with Anna, this is one cake you don’t bump into in the internet very often. looks really delicious.


6 beth October 12, 2011 at 11:14 am

I am hoping this combination becomes more popular here in the States. It really opens up so many possibilities & is delicious.


7 argone October 6, 2011 at 9:51 am

Seems to be a great lemon recipe :-) ) Love your pictures !


8 beth October 12, 2011 at 11:15 am

Thanks! It is a great recipe too!


9 Russell at Chasing Delicious October 6, 2011 at 3:03 pm

Oh my gosh this recipe looks scrumptious! I love the combination of lemon with an olive oil cake.


10 beth October 12, 2011 at 11:16 am

It really is a perfect combination in a cake. I cannot begin to rave enough about it.


11 Dana @ Bungalow'56 October 11, 2011 at 1:53 pm

This does look delicious. It’s being pinned under fun food right away. The photos are lovely too. I love lemon, and just happen to have Olive oil. Can’t wait to try it.


12 beth October 12, 2011 at 11:17 am

Dana, it is really fun food & I hope you love it!


13 Brie October 25, 2011 at 4:20 pm

I’ve made this cake a couple times now and absolutely love it! I used about half of the lemon icing glaze… I don’t like things too sweet. I made 4 small cakes from this recipe (I used 5″ springform pans and cooked them for about 30 min.) They are so cute!

The recipe doesn’t need any adjustments for high altitude cooking (at least in Denver). Thanks for sharing!


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