lemon olive oil cake (rich and moist!)

5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star

5 from 1 review

This lemon olive oil cake is bursting with the fragrance of grassy olive oil, lemon and fresh orange. It has a luscious, velvety crumb and is so simple to make!

  • Author: Indi Hampton
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 1 hour
  • Total Time: 1 hour 20 minutes
  • Yield: 1 9-inch cake (about 12 slices)
  • Category: Cake
  • Method: Oven
  • Cuisine: American


candied lemon zest

  • 2 lemons
  • 1 1/4 cups sugar, divided
  • 3/4 cup water

lemon olive oil cake

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 lemon
  • Half an orange
  • 1 3/4 cups sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 1/3 cups olive oil
  • 1 1/4 cups whole milk
  • 3 large eggs
  • whipped cream, for serving
  • candied lemon zest, for garnish


candied lemon zest

  1. Use a vegetable peeler to remove thick strips of zest from the lemons. Slice into thin matchsticks with a chef’s knife and set aside.
  2. Bring 3/4 cup sugar and 3/4 cup water to a gentle simmer in a small pot, stirring to help sugar dissolve. Add zest slivers and simmer until zest deepens in color and turns somewhat translucent, about 15 minutes.
  3. Use a fork or slotted spoon to transfer to a plate to drain, then quickly transfer to a bowl of remaining 1/2 cup sugar. Toss to fully coat the zest strands. Transfer to a baking sheet and spread out to dry, at least 30 minutes.

lemon olive oil cake

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. Butter one deep 9-inch cake pan (at least 2 1/2 inches deep) or two standard 9-inch cake pans. Line the bottom with a parchment paper round and grease edges of the pan.
  3. Whisk together flour, baking powder and baking soda in a medium bowl and set aside.
  4. Cut off and discard ends of lemon and orange half, then cut into quarters and roughly chop. Remove and discard any large seeds. Place in a high-powered blender with 2 tablespoons water and process until smooth, 3- 5 minutes. Transfer to a coarse mesh sieve and use a rubber spatula to stir and smash the puree against the side and bottom of the sieve. Remove as much juice as possible, scraping bottom of sieve as needed.
  5. Measure out 1/2 cup citrus puree and scrape into a large bowl.Add sugar, salt, olive oil, milk and eggs and whisk until smooth. Add dry ingredients and whisk until just combined. Pour batter into prepared pan and smooth the top.
  6. Bake until golden on top and firm and springy to the touch, about 1 hour. Let cool 30 minutes in the pan, then run a knife around the edge, invert to a plate and transfer to a cake stand. Top with whipped cream and candied lemon zest, for garnish.


Cake will keep, tightly wrapped, for up to 3 days at room temperature or 5 days in the refrigerator.

Zest will keep in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 weeks.

Nutritional information is only an estimate. The accuracy of the nutritional information for any recipe on this site is not guaranteed.