Quick, Super-Easy, Yet Complex(?!) Olive Oil Cake.

olive oil cake

I love watching cooking shows: Top Chef, Iron Chef, Hell’s Kitchen, Barefoot Contessa, Martha, Cake Wars, or anything else that happens to be on when I’m putzing around the house doing chores. If they are talking about great ways to use squid ink, or how to make a fragranced steam to cook your gluten-free dumpling batter, then I just tune it out. But, every once and a while, my ears will perk up when I hear a chef talking about something that interests me. Olive Oil Cake came to me this way and it was definitely something that interested me.

Bobby Flay was competing in an American Iron Chef rerun. As one of his desserts, Iron Chef Flay had an Olive Oil Cake with a topping of blackberries macerated in olive oil. I, immediately, wrote “OLIVE OIL CAKE” on my to-do list. I found three Pinterest recipes that interested me and then I promptly forgot about it for several months.

This past Saturday, a friend of mine was coming over for lunch before going craft-errand-ing. We were having a great lunch of fresh salad and leftover Southwestern Beef Stew and Mac ‘n Cheese Casserole. I wanted to make something light and sweet for us to take with us, in the hopes of having it with coffee later. After scrambling around in my pantry looking for something I could throw together, Olive Oil Cake resurfaced in my brain with the thinking that surely ingredients for olive oil cake would be pretty basic.  I was correct.

I found the pin on my Pinterest board and it lead me to a website, which linked to another website, which listed the origin of this recipe as coming from Manhattan’s Abraco Coffee Shop, and having been printed in Bon Appetit. I cannot express to you enough how easy this was to make. I bet you probably have every ingredient in this recipe and could walk to your kitchen and make it right now.

Olive Oil Cake

  • 1 1/2 cups unbleached white flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup whole milk
  • 1/2 cup mild-flavored olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons finely grated orange peel

Preheat oven to 325F. Oil and flour 9x5x3-inch metal loaf pan. Whisk first 5 ingredients in large bowl. Whisk eggs, milk, olive oil, and orange peel in medium bowl to blend. Gradually, whisk egg mixture into dry ingredients. Transfer to prepared pan.

Bake cake until tester inserted into center comes out clean, 50-60 minutes. Cool in pan on rack 20 minutes.

Is it super glamorous? No. It’s a loaf cake. But the taste? Oh, the taste?  Unbelievable- especially considering the amount of time and energy I had to spend on it. I would recommend this with coffee or tea and am surprised that Starbucks isn’t carrying this right now. But, despite it’s visual simplicity, I thought this cake was deceptively complex. The taste is unexpected, yet immediately familiar… it’s olive oil… just in a different, marvelously-moist context. I did not have any fresh oranges, so I wasn’t able to add the zest, though I can only imagine it would be amazing. I, also, found more attractive variations of the cake that included lemon or rosemary…  Either, or both, would be a home run so I am looking forward to the next time I make this. And there will be next times. Additionally, I started thinking about the possibilities and variations that could be had from different flavored olive oils.

You need to be trying this, like, yesterday! Guys, I think this might be my new, go-to, quick/easy, super-impressive, emergency dessert. You’re lucky I like you so much… otherwise, I would never share this! Let me know! Have you ever tried it/heard about it/made it before? Is this a common thing that I’ve just missed? Or is this as special as I think it is?



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  1. Okay, I first heard of this on the most recent finale of Top Chef. The one where they did the 5 course cook-off in front of an audience. Kristen said that her final course (dessert) would be an olive oil cake. I was like, wth?? Anyway, she won in round 4 and never made the damn olive oil cake and of course I forgot to look into it any further. Thanks for doing that. I must try it soon!!

  2. Olive oil cake is in the oven! Ill let y’all know the results in, oh, 40 minutes. But who’s counting? I am! The batter tastes delish.

    • Uh yeah Kim! We wanna know how it turns out! So glad you’re testing one of our recipes! -Coralie

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