Orange olive oil cake is an outstanding dessert that's loaded with bright citrus flavor from the orange, and super moist from the olive oil. This cake is easy to make and can be served with a sprinkle of powdered sugar, or a simple orange glaze.
Orange olive oil cake may just be one of my favorite desserts for a few reasons.
It pairs beautifully with a coffee or espresso, doesn't require a mixer or any complicated kitchen tools, and tastes fantastic.
I also happen to adore citrus-flavored desserts, like lemon ricotta cookies, and this olive oil cake is so full of bright orange flavor!
I love to serve this cake with an orange glaze (recipe below), but it's just as good with a simple sprinkle of powdered sugar, or by itself!
And much like our Pastiera Napoletana, this orange olive oil cake is actually pretty good for breakfast. No judgment here!
How to make it
Each number corresponds to the numbered written steps below.
- Preheat the oven to 350f and set the rack to the middle level. Line an oiled 9-inch by 2-inch deep round cake pan with parchment paper. Using a zester, remove the zest from two oranges. This should equal roughly 3 tablespoons of zest. Juice the oranges and reserve ¼ cup of juice for use in the cake, and for the glaze if using.
- In a medium-sized bowl, combine 2 cups of all-purpose flour, 1 ½ cups of granulated sugar, 1 teaspoon of kosher salt, ½ teaspoon of baking powder, and ½ teaspoon of baking soda, and stir until combined.
- In a large bowl, combine 3 large eggs, 1 ¼ cups of whole milk, 1 ⅓ cups of extra virgin olive oil, the orange zest, ¼ cup orange juice, ¼ cup Gran Gala (or other orange liqueur), and 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract and whisk until combined.
- Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and stir until just combined taking care to not overmix. The batter should be on the thinner side and easy to pour.
- Pour the batter into the prepared cake pan.
- Give the cake pan a tap on a flat surface to allow any air to rise to the top.
- Place the cake pan in the oven and cook for approximately 55 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
- Allow the cake to cool completely then serve with powdered sugar, or the optional glaze. To make the glaze simply whisk 1 cup of confectioner's sugar with 2 tablespoons of orange juice, ¼ teaspoon of vanilla extract, ½ teaspoon of orange blossom water, and a pinch of kosher salt. Once combined, pour and spread the glaze over the top of the cake allowing the glaze to drizzle down the sides. Allow the glaze to firm up at room temperature or by placing it in the refrigerator for about an hour. Serve the orange olive oil cake by itself or with fresh berries. Enjoy!
Top tips for amazing orange olive oil cake
- The olive oil! There is a lot of olive oil in this cake so it's important to pick one that works well. I suggest using mildly flavored, good quality extra virgin olive oil. You can also opt for olive oil that's been infused with flavor, like orange or lemon, or make you're own infused olive oil.
- The citrus. I used orange zest and orange juice from regular navel oranges. If you're able to find blood oranges, that would be a great option. Lemon zest would also be a nice addition.
- Baking. In my conventional oven, it takes about 55 minutes for the orange olive oil cake to be fully cooked. I usually use a toothpick inserted in the center to make sure it's done. Since everyone's oven is a little different, I recommend checking on your cake at the 50-minute mark. If you have a convection oven you'll need to account for that by reducing the temperature by 25 degrees and 25% less time.
- The glaze. If you opt to make the glaze, you will need to wait until the cake is fully cooled before topping with the glaze. If you'd like your glaze to be on the thicker side, you can add a little more powdered sugar to achieve the perfect consistency.
More sweet treats
Here are a few of our favorite desserts. We hope you enjoy them!
- Flourless chocolate cake - almond flour, bittersweet chocolate, eggs, sugar and butter.
- Cannoli - the classic Italian pastry.
- Apple crostata - apples and a flaky pasta frolla crust.
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For the cake
- 2 cups (250g) all-purpose flour
- 1 ½ cups (300g) granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- 1 ⅓ cups (285g) extra virgin olive oil
- 1 ¼ cups (305g) whole milk
- 3 large eggs
- 3 tablespoons orange zest
- ¼ cup (60g) orange juice freshly squeezed
- ¼ cup (55g) Gran Gala orange liqueur
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
For the glaze
- 1 cup (130g) confectioner's sugar
- 2 tablespoons orange juice freshly squeezed
- ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
- ½ teaspoon orange blossom water optional
- 1 pinch kosher salt
For the cake
- Preheat the oven to 350f and set the rack to the middle level. Line an oiled 9-inch by 2 inch deep round cake pan with parchment paper.
- In a medium-sized bowl, combine the flour, sugar, salt, baking powder, and baking soda and stir until combined. Set aside.
- In a large bowl combine the eggs, milk, olive oil, orange juice, Gran Gala, vanilla extract, and orange zest and whisk until combined.
- Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and stir until just combined. The batter should be on the thinner side and easy to pour.
- Pour the batter into the prepared cake pan and give the cake pan a tap to allow any air to rise to the top.
- Place the cake pan in the oven and cook for 55 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
- Allow the cake to cool before adding the glaze, or serving. If you're not using the glaze, serve plain, or top with powdered sugar. Enjoy!
For the glaze
- In a mixing bowl combine the confectioner's sugar, salt, orange juice, vanilla extract, and orange blossom water and whisk until well combined.
- Once the cake has cooled, pour the glaze on top of the cake and allow the glaze to harden at room temperature, or you may place in the refrigerator to speed this up.
- Since ovens vary, begin checking the cake at the 50-minute mark.
- This recipe was written for a conventional oven. For convection ovens, reduce the temperature by 25 degrees and begin checking for doneness at the 75% mark.
I am going to try substituting lemons instead of orange. I have lemon cello and I think I will use this app I hope it works this recipe sounds delicious
Hi Joanna, we actually tested a similar recipe using limoncello and lemon juice. We still included orange zest in addition to the lemon zest. It came out great and we'll actually have a recipe specific for this up in the future. Hope you enjoy it!
My Italian mother use to make this cake but when it came out of the oven, she would poke holes in the top of the cake a toothpick. Then she would pour the glaze over the hot cake. It was soo good 😊
I made another version of this cake last month. It was dry and not at all
What I expected of an orange oil cake. I tried this re pie tonight…. Fabulous!
Hi Jack, so happy you enjoyed the cake! Thanks for the comment!
Would this cake work with Bob’s Red Mills 1:1 gluten free flour or another gluten free flour?
Hi Gisele, I haven't tested this recipe with gluten-free flour but if you happen to try it, let us know how it works out!
What can I use instead of orange blossom water?
Hi Corina, you can completely omit the orange blossom water if you want. It will still have plenty of orange flavor from the zest.
Looks delicious! If I don’t have orange liqueur, do you think doubling the orange juice will work?
Hi Lucille, yes you can sub extra orange juice for the orange liqueur. Hope you enjoy!
We’ve tried numerous recipes from Jim, and this recipe, like all of Jim’s recipes so far, was simply amazing! Thanks Jim for all the hard work, and selflessness sharing your family recipes!
Hi Con, thanks for the comment and I'm so happy you're enjoying the recipes!
Amazing! Made with Bob’s 1 to 1 GF flour (sifted and weighed) and it turned out incredible. Great rise, super moist, and so flavorful! I used a blood orange infused olive oil from a local olive oil shop, blood orange liqueur (Amara), and then topped it with candied orange slices after the glaze. It was beautiful and delicious! Thanks for the great recipe!!
Hi Amie, thanks for the comment, and really appreciate you sharing your GF substitution. This will really help others who are looking to make a GF version. Love the idea of adding candied orange slices!
So, your recommendation for those of us who choose not to use alcohol products is simply substitute the liqueur amount for more fruit juice instead?
Hi there, yes, you can add the equivalent amount of orange juice.