Olive Oil Lemon Cake

Recipes, Sweet Treats


They say a picture is worth a thousand words. I don’t know exactly who “they” are and I certainly don’t have a thousand words to say about this picture.

What the pictures in this post do say is that a) olive oil lemon cake isย a highly underrated cake and b) I had a difficult time removing this cake from it springform pan. Don’t judge.

Normally when I see the words “springform pan” in a recipe I assume it’s a complicated one.

I’m not sure why I infer that – maybe because growing up, the only thing I knew that you could make in a springform pan was my grandmother’s cheesecake recipe, which has about nine pounds of cream cheese in it and takes several days to make.

No, I never exaggerate, why do you ask?

Ever since Iย posted about pantry basics, I’ve been thinking about making this cake.

I actually had it saved on my bookmarks bar and attempted to make it on three different occasions.

On one of those occasions I was in the kitchen lining up my ingredients when I realized I was out of lemons.

I have hard, hard life.

What I’m getting at here, in a very round-about way, is that this cake is quite easy.

The most difficult thing you’ll have to do is separate the egg yolks from the egg whites – just line two bowls up next to each other.

You’ll use all five of the yolks but only four of the whites. I would recommend saving one of the egg whites to use in chicken Parmigiana – or make an egg white omelet.

Olive Oil Lemon Cake
Recipe type: Sweet Treats
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 10-12 servings
  • ¾ cup olive oil (extra-virgin if desired), plus additional for greasing pan
  • 1 large lemon
  • 1 cup cake flour (not self-rising)*
  • 5 large eggs, separated (you only need four whites so reserve one for another use)
  • ¾ cup plus 1½ tablespoons sugar
  1. Put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 350ยฐF. Grease springform pan with some oil, then line bottom with a round of parchment paper. Oil parchment.
  2. Finely grate enough lemon zest to measure 1½ teaspoons and whisk together with flour. Halve lemon, then squeeze and reserve 1½ tablespoons fresh lemon juice.
  3. Beat together yolks and ½ cup sugar in a large bowl with an electric mixer at high speed until thick and pale, about 3 minutes. Reduce speed to medium and add olive oil (3/4 cup) and reserved lemon juice, beating until just combined (mixture may appear separated). Using a wooden spoon, stir in flour mixture (do not beat) until just combined.
  4. Beat egg whites (from 4 eggs) with ½ teaspoon salt in another large bowl with cleaned beaters at medium-high speed until foamy, then add ¼ cup sugar a little at a time, beating, and continue to beat until egg whites just hold soft peaks, about 3 minutes.
  5. Gently fold one third of whites into yolk mixture to lighten, then fold in remaining whites gently but thoroughly.
  6. Transfer batter to springform pan and gently rap against work surface once or twice to release any air bubbles. Sprinkle top evenly with remaining 1½ tablespoons sugar. Bake until puffed and golden and a wooden pick or skewer inserted in center of cake comes out clean, about 45 minutes. Cool cake in pan on a rack 10 minutes, then run a thin knife around edge of pan and remove side of pan. Cool cake to room temperature, about 1¼ hours. Remove bottom of pan and peel off parchment, then transfer cake to a serving plate.

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  • Reply
    May 12, 2011 at 3:05 pm

    ooh, this sounds just lovely. especially since i have a bottle of olive oil i brought back from italy… might be a fabulous way to let it shine ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Reply
    Feast on the Cheap
    May 11, 2011 at 4:34 pm

    I’m in love with Lemon Olive Oil Cakes – we do ours with a Rosemary-Lemon Glaze and it’s ah-mazing. One of my favorite spring treats!

  • Reply
    Mary @ Delightful Bitefuls
    May 11, 2011 at 3:36 pm

    I love lemon in my desserts! This is such a simple yet perfect dessert.

    New to your blog; happy I found you!

    Mary xo
    Delightful Bitefuls

  • Reply
    May 9, 2011 at 10:28 pm

    Hi Maris, wow….what a fantastic looking recipe! I’ve bookmarked and tucked it away for future cake reference! Have a great week!!!

  • Reply
    May 10, 2011 at 1:10 am

    I love lemony desserts and healthy fats, and this recipe fits the bill for both! Yum!

  • Reply
    May 10, 2011 at 12:30 am

    yuuuum!!!!!! we looove lemon-flavored baked goods!!!! what a cool way to use olive oil!

  • Reply
    May 9, 2011 at 10:52 pm

    I have found olive oil cakes to be wonderfully moist and this one with lemon sounds delicious to me.

  • Reply
    Jessica Tholmer
    May 9, 2011 at 8:00 pm

    Springform pans freak me out. This cake looks worth the attempt, though. ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Reply
    May 9, 2011 at 7:59 pm

    Wow, you cake sounds and looks delicious…love the lemon and the simplicity of it. Have a wonderful week ahead Maris ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Reply
    Cookin' Canuck
    May 9, 2011 at 7:07 pm

    Five ingredients and one springform pan to get a simple, tasty cake? Yep, that’s my kind of dessert. Lovely, Maris!

  • Reply
    Georgia @ The Comfort of Cooking
    May 9, 2011 at 7:04 pm

    I have yet to try and bake with olive oil, but this cake is definitely inspiring me! It looks absolutely delicious, and I love the lemon flavor you used! Perfect for spring or summer. Thanks for sharing, Maris! ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Reply
    5 Star foodie
    May 9, 2011 at 1:09 pm

    this lemon olive oil cake sounds just delightful, perfect with a cup of coffee!

  • Reply
    Blond Duck
    May 9, 2011 at 6:04 pm

    It looks superb to me!

  • Reply
    Nami @ Just One Cookbook
    May 9, 2011 at 5:57 pm

    What a wonderful simple cake! I’m not a baker, but this sounds like I can give it a try… I didn’t know that you can make cake flour with all-purpose flour! See, I’m very beginner in baking… Thank you for sharing the recipe!

  • Reply
    May 9, 2011 at 5:22 pm

    I just realized that I wasn’t getting your posts in my reader anymore and haven’t for a few months. I guess I have some catching up to do. I love lemon and have been wanting to give an olive oil cake a try- this one sounds lovely.

  • Reply
    May 9, 2011 at 5:02 pm

    I’ve always wanted to make an olive oil cake. This almost too easy not to try!

  • Reply
    emily (a nutritionist eats)
    May 9, 2011 at 4:38 pm

    This cake sounds wonderful and not overly-sweet like so many cakes!
    (Oh, easy too!)

  • Reply
    May 9, 2011 at 3:37 pm

    The cake sounds delicious. I imagine it is really moist and that dose of lemon moves it into my court. I hope you have a great day. Blessings…Mary

  • Reply
    May 9, 2011 at 3:30 pm

    Yum. I remember hearing about a similar cake quite awhile ago and always thinking it sounded fantastic. Thanks for bringing it back to the front of my memory again.

  • Reply
    May 9, 2011 at 2:54 pm

    Haha! Your posts crack me up. I hate attempting to make something and then realizing that you are missing the one key ingredient. This looks oh so simple and tasty!

  • Reply
    May 9, 2011 at 2:35 pm

    I have made this cake and LOVE IT! It’s a must try.

  • Reply
    Autumn @ Good Eats Girl
    May 9, 2011 at 1:18 pm

    Oh, yum! Springform pans scare me a little bit, too! This cake looks awesome!

  • Reply
    May 9, 2011 at 1:14 pm

    A delightful cake! Perfect with a strawberry salad.



  • Reply
    May 9, 2011 at 1:01 pm

    Hmmm… lemony lovely cake! I like to bake with a lite flavorful olive oil; it usually surprised most people! This will be a perfect cake for spring/summer dessert; easy to prepare with minimal ingredients – I like!!

  • Reply
    May 9, 2011 at 12:14 pm

    this sounds incredible and I am with you on the spring-form pan. It brings memories of slaving in the kitchen all day for a cheesecake or something. Who know you could make an olive oil cake with it! genius! lOl! Love the addition of lemons. brings a sweet but tart flavor to it. I can’t wait to try it

  • Reply
    alyssa - fashion fitness foodie
    May 9, 2011 at 12:13 pm

    olive oil cake!? sounds so light and fresh!

  • Reply
    Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella
    May 9, 2011 at 7:18 am

    What a lovely tea cake Maris! Just perfect to have with a cup of tea or coffee with friends and the fact that the hardest part is separating the eggs is a real bonus ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Reply
    Simply Life
    May 9, 2011 at 12:10 am

    Yum! This looks incredible!

    Can I ask you another question – I LOVE the layout of your blog and have been having a hard time finding something I like (I’m in the process of switching to BlueHost). Any recommendations or advice would be greatly appreciated! Thanks!!! (simplylife1@gmail.com)

  • Reply
    Sophia @ Raven Waves
    May 9, 2011 at 3:24 am

    Ohhh olive oil in a cake? So cool!

  • Reply
    Betty @ scrambled hen fruit
    May 9, 2011 at 3:17 am

    I love baking with olive oil. This simple cake looks delicious and lemony! ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Reply
    May 9, 2011 at 2:46 am

    This sounds like a great recipe — so light and refreshing I bet.

  • Reply
    Maria @ Scandifoodie
    May 8, 2011 at 9:13 pm

    I adore lemon in desserts and I remember trying a similar recipe to this one once. I’ll give your recipe ago, it sounds just perfect!

  • Reply
    megan carroll
    May 8, 2011 at 11:36 pm

    Hi Maris…

    First that picture is worth a 1000 words… great photography, second great recipe, I love things that use more savoury ingredients for desserts… and third, I announced it on facebook! Congratulations… I will be emailing you with the details.

    • Reply
      megan carroll
      May 9, 2011 at 12:04 pm

      Sorry meant to say, you won the AkitschyKitchen.com giveaway…

  • Reply
    May 8, 2011 at 11:12 pm

    This cake looks great, and I love how few ingredients there are.

  • Reply
    May 8, 2011 at 11:05 pm

    I’ve been wanting to try an olive oil cake for so long – I don’t know why I haven’t made one yet!

    I love lemon cakes, especially during the spring. I bet this is delicious.

  • Reply
    May 8, 2011 at 10:54 pm

    Olive cakes are my ultimate favourite!!!

  • Reply
    Jamie | My Baking Addiction
    May 8, 2011 at 10:49 pm

    I have always been intrigued by olive oil cakes and muffins, but I’ve never made one. This post may just nudge me in the right direction!

  • Reply
    May 8, 2011 at 10:36 pm

    What a simple and beautiful looking cake! Yum!

  • Reply
    May 8, 2011 at 9:43 pm

    That looks so moist ! I m yet to try baking with olive oil.You knw I also see springfoam in a recipe, and I infer that it aint as simple as it looks.You did a fab job!

  • Reply
    May 8, 2011 at 9:11 pm

    I love lemon anything and appreciate the health benefits of olive oil so I will be making this cake

  • Reply
    Pudding Pie Lane
    May 8, 2011 at 9:00 pm

    Haha, guess this is a case when life doesn’t throw you lemons! Nice cake ๐Ÿ˜€

  • Reply
    May 8, 2011 at 8:54 pm

    I’ve been wanting to try an olive oil cake! What is a springform pan though?

    • Reply
      Maris Callahan
      May 8, 2011 at 8:56 pm

      Great question! And I will address this in a future post. A springform pan is a two-piece pan so that the sides can be detached from the bottom. Great for creamy cakes like cheesecake, flourless chocolate, etc. This cake gets very dense in the center which I imagine is why it’s needed. You could use a regular 8-9″ cake pan though, I would just line the bottom with parchment and grease it well.

  • Reply
    May 8, 2011 at 7:45 pm

    I’m not a huge lemon fan, but that actually sounds pretty good.

  • Reply
    May 8, 2011 at 7:13 pm

    There is a saying in Russian “its better to see it once than to hear about it a thousand times”

  • Reply
    May 8, 2011 at 6:54 pm

    mmmmmmmmmmm I love lemony desserts! And I agree- I’ve been baking a bit more with olive oil lately and it makes a huge difference in the taste of the finished product. Definitely more expensive baking, but worth it!

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