Olive Oil Cake

Olive Oil Cake

Makes one 9-inch cake; serves 10 to 12

Rich and aromatic olive oil cake is a classic and there are many versions of it. The cake is a snap to make and there is no need to use a mixer or food processor. It’s simply a blend of flour, sugar, and other dry ingredients whisked together with eggs and olive oil. It can be made with regular or extra-virgin olive oil and flavored with orange and lemon. This recipe, made with orange juice, orange zest, and Grand Marnier, is adapted from Maialino, the lovely restaurant on Gramercy Park in New York. Plan to make it ahead of time—because it tastes great and a little boozy after two or three days.

  • 1 1⁄4 cups olive oil, plus oil for the pan
  • 2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 3⁄4 cups sugar
  • 1 1⁄2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1⁄2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1⁄2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 1⁄4 cups whole milk
  • 3 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons grated orange zest
  1. Position an oven rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 350°F. Oil a 9-inch round cake pan that is at least 2 inches deep and line the bottom with parchment paper.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk the flour, sugar, salt, baking soda, and baking powder together. In a large mixing bowl, whisk the olive oil, milk, eggs, orange zest, orange juice, and Grand Marnier together. Add the flour mixture and whisk until just combined. The batter will be a bit thin.
  3. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 55 minutes to 1 hour, or until the top is golden and a toothpick or cake tester inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean. Transfer the cake to a wire rack and let cool for 30 minutes.
  4. Run a sharp thin knife around the edges of the pan, invert the cake onto the rack, peel off the paper, and let cool completely.

Reprinted with permission from Cake by Maira Kalman (Penguin Press, 2018).