Lemon Olive Oil Cake

This post may contain affiliate links. Read the full disclosure here.

My Lemon Olive Oil Cake is full of bright lemon flavor with a tender, moist crumb and a crunchy sugar topping.

Overhead view of olive oil cake.

This lemon cake with olive oil is packed with fresh lemon flavor. The olive oil creates a moist crumb that is light and spongy. This is one easy cake that you will want to make over and over again.

I used my orange olive oil cake as a base for this recipe and because it is already so perfect, I didn’t change anything about it. I only swapped out the citrus and added a sugar topping for a little extra sweetness.

The best thing about olive oil cakes (ciambellone) is they stay moist for days! They are probably one of my favorite cakes to make because they taste amazing and are just so darn easy.

Next, try adding cocoa powder for a delicate chocolate olive oil cake!


Why This Recipe Works

  • Olive oil adds a subtle fruity flavor as well as plenty of moisture.
  • The combination of lemon and olive oil makes for a simple but complexly flavored cake.
  • The addition of yogurt makes the cake supremely soft, tender, and exceedingly moist without being too heavy or dense.
  • A little sugar sprinkled over the batter before baking creates a crackly top on the baked cake.

What You Need

This Italian olive oil lemon cake only needs a few standard ingredients to make.

Ingredients for lemon olive oi cake.

Ingredients

  • Olive oil: I use high-quality extra virgin olive oil. If you want less olive oil flavor, you can opt for “pure” or “regular” olive oil.
  • Flour: All-purpose flour is what you need.
  • Salt: To balance the flavors.
  • Leavening: Baking powder and baking soda help give the cake rise.
  • Sugar: Regular granulated sugar works best.
  • Eggs: 3 large eggs is needed and make sure they are at room temperature.
  • Lemons: I used about 2 lemons. Be sure to zest the lemons before you juice them.
  • Yogurt: Whole milk plain yogurt is required. Allow the yogurt to come to room temperature before using.

Recommended Tools

Overhead view of lemon olive oil cake with a slice cut out.

How to Make Lemon Olive Oil Cake

This recipe for lemon olive oil cake is very simple. Here’s how it comes together:

Be sure to check out the full recipe and ingredient list below

  1. Combine sugar and eggs. Whisk the sugar and eggs together in a large bowl until the sugar is mostly dissolved.
  2. Add the olive oil. Whisk in the lemon zest, lemon juice, and olive oil.
  3. Mix in the dry ingredients. Combine the flour, salt, baking powder, and baking soda then add it to the olive oil mixture. Whisk until no dry streaks remain.
  1. Bake. Pour the batter into a greased and floured cake pan. Sprinkle the top with granulated sugar and bake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
  2. Cool. Allow the cake to cool in the pan for 10 minutes then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Tips For Success

  • Grease the pan well! I will often use my special homemade cake release and line the bottom with a parchment round.
  • When zesting the lemons, avoid going all the way down to the pith. You only want the thin yellow skin.
  • The batter will develop air bubbles when mixing. Once the batter is in the pan, tap the pan on the countertop to release some of those bubbles.
  • Don’t open the oven during baking. The sudden drop in temperature will cause the cake to fall in the center.
Side view of slice of lemon olive oil cake on plate.

Storage & Freezing

This cake will keep for up to 4 days. Place in an airtight container and keep at room temperature.
The cake can be frozen for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator then bring to room temperature before serving.

Recipe FAQ’s

Does the cake taste like olive oil?

That’s going to depend on the kind of olive oil you use, but generally speaking, this recipe won’t produce a cake that tastes strongly of olive oil.

What olive oil is best for the cake?

Extra virgin olive is unrefined and has a bold olive flavor. Pure or regular olive oil will be milder in flavor. I use extra virgin when I make an olive oil cake and when paired with citrus, the olive flavor is barely noticeable. Whichever you choose, be sure to select a high-quality brand.

Lemon Olive Oil Cake

5 from 1 vote
Overhead view of olive oil cake.
My Lemon Olive Oil Cake is full of bright lemon flavor with a tender, moist crumb and a crunchy sugar topping.
Jen Sobjack
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Total Time 1 hour
Serving Size 10

Ingredients

  • 1 cup (240 ml) extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for the pan
  • 2 cups (260 g) all-purpose flour, plus more for the pan
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 ½ cups (300 g) granulated sugar, plus 2 tablespoons for sprinkling
  • 3 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest, from about 1 lemon
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice, from about 2 lemons
  • 1 cup (227 g) plain whole-milk yogurt, at room temperature

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 350°F.
  • Grease a 9-inch round cake pan using extra-virgin olive oil and line the bottom with parchment paper. Oil the parchment and flour the pan; tap out any excess flour.
  • Whisk the flour, salt, baking powder, and baking soda together in a medium bowl.
  • Whisk the sugar and eggs in a large bowl until the sugar is mostly dissolved and the mixture is pale and frothy, about 1 minute. Whisk in the lemon zest and juice.
  • Whisk in the olive oil and yogurt until well combined.
  • Whisk in the flour mixture until no dry streaks remain.
  • Pour the batter into the prepared baking pan and smooth the top with a rubber spatula. Sprinkle the remaining 2 tablespoons of sugar over the top.
  • Bake for 40-45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Let cool in the pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Invert the cake onto a rack and remove the pan. Allow the cake to cool completely.

Notes

  • Olive oil: Be sure to select a good quality olive oil.
  • Orange zest: Avoid the pith when zesting the lemon. That’s the white part under the skin. It can make the cake taste bitter.
Make ahead tip
  1. This cake will keep for up to 4 days. Place in an airtight container and keep at room temperature.
  2. The cake can be frozen for up to 3 months.

Nutrition

Serving: 1slice | Calories: 433kcal | Carbohydrates: 51g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 24g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g | Monounsaturated Fat: 16g | Trans Fat: 0.01g | Cholesterol: 52mg | Sodium: 292mg | Potassium: 128mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 31g | Vitamin A: 96IU | Vitamin C: 2mg | Calcium: 60mg | Iron: 2mg

The nutrition information provided is for convenience and as a courtesy only. It is not guaranteed to be accurate because nutrition information can vary for a variety of reasons. For precise nutritional data use your preferred nutrition calculator and input the exact ingredients and brands you used in the recipe.

Course: Dessert
Cuisine: Italian

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating




One Comment

  1. Pamela MacKay says:

    5 stars
    This little cake is perfection! It’s lemony, moist and has a good texture. I made some substitutions because I couldn’t wait to make it, and used what I had on hand: Whole Foods non-fat Greek yogurt and King Arthur’s cake flour. I may keep making it this way, because I don’t know how it could be any better. The sugar topping makes a really yummy crackle topping, too. One way or another, this recipe will be on repeat because everyone loved it. Thank you!