Olive Oil Orange Cake
I have very simple tastes when it comes to sweets I make myself at home. Perhaps it is because I do not often have the patience to spend hours putting together elaborate desserts, but when I am in the mood to bake something, it can usually be put together quickly and without too many fancy ingredients. I like desserts that can be enjoyed at breakfast as well as after dinner and probably most of all, I love a good fruit flavored olive oil cake. Heck, I think I just plain love olive oil and would put it in my morning coffee if I could get away with it, but that’s another story altogether. This is one of my favorite cakes to make as there are just a handful of ingredients and it has a lovely fresh, orange flavor.
I first tasted an amazing orange flavored olive oil cake when we dined in Panzano at Dario Cecchini’s butcher shop. When you order coffee after lunch, it comes with a square of moist orange flavored olive oil cake that is really delicious. I knew after the first taste of Dario’s cake that I would have to duplicate the recipe at home and started to look online for something similar. Most of the olive oil cake recipes I found used the zest from many oranges but didn’t use the pulp or juice which just didn’t make sense to me. I remember long ago making an orange flavored quick bread where I threw the entire orange into a food processor and used that mix of juice, pulp and skin to flavor the bread with so I decided to simply play around in the kitchen and see if I could get the flavor and texture I was looking for. I was very lucky that I came up with a winner on my first try, but this cake has everything I was looking for. It is sweetly flavored with orange without being too bitter which can happen if you use too much of the zest, the olive oil kept it very moist, and the 4 eggs I added helped to keep the cake light so it didn’t become too dense which can be a problem in some olive oil cake recipes. Just do not use extra virgin olive oil for this cake as the flavor of the oil can be too much for the orange flavoring. A basic, simple olive oil works best for this cake.
Deborah Mele 2013
Olive Oil Orange Cake Recipe
- 2 Small Seedless Oranges
1/3 Cup Olive Oil (Not Extra Virgin)
- 2 Cups All-purpose Flour
- 1 1/2 Teaspoon Baking Powder
- 1/2 Teaspoon Baking Soda
- Dash of Salt
- 4 Large Eggs
- 1 1/2 Cups Granulated Sugar
- Powdered Sugar
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. and lightly grease a 9 inch spring-form pan.
- Cut off a small slice of the thicker top and bottom parts of each orange, discard these pieces, and then cut the rest of the oranges (flesh and peel) into chunks.
- Place them in a food processor and puree until blended but with some texture left.
- Add the oil to the oranges and pulse until blended.
- Mix together the flour, baking powder and soda and salt in a large bowl.
- In a separate bowl beat the eggs until they are light and fluffy and then slowly add in the sugar.
- Begin to add the egg mixture in three parts alternating with the orange mixture just stirring until combined. (Be careful not to over mix which will deflate the eggs and create a dense cake.)
- Pour the cake batter into your prepared pan and bake for 50 to 60 minutes or just until a cake tester comes out clean.
- Cool before slicing.
This looks wonderful! Would be great to know the weight of the oranges or the measure (or weight) of the puree.
I made this with a Blood Orange infused Olive Oil from a shop in Winter Park, Florida called Ancient Olive – delicious!! Next I will try with their Lemon infused oil.
Deborah, I’ve been enjoying your IFF since 2008 and I’ve been making your Olive Oil Orange Cake several times a year since you published it a few years ago. I love the cake – it reminds me of something my grandmother used to make. Like you, I’m always tinkering with recipes and I make one addition to your cake now – rosemary… I add about a tablespoon of freshly chopped rosemary to the puree, and garnish the cake with a few fresh rosemary sprigs. Thanks for bringing Italy a little closer to those of us who don’t get to be there as often as we’d like!
Letha, I love adding rosemary to sweets as well. I’ll try it with this cake next time I bake it.
Are there any adjustments for high altitude ( 7000′) baking?
I am sorry, but I am not familiar with high altitude baking.
G’day! Looks very moist and lovely too!
Love the recipe and your presentation, true!
So sorry I missed you in Panzano. Hope I will be luckier next time.
Thanks for everything!
Kim, we were sorry we missed you as well. Hope to be back in Panzano soon though!
HOW MUCH INFUSED OLIVE OIL DID YOU USE ? DID YOU STILL USE ORANGES ..VISITING ANCIENT OLIVE TOMORROW AND THIS CAKE WILL FOLLOW SUNDAY DINNER ..THANK YOU
I’ve made this twice following the recipe. First time I followed the directions exactly. Second time I made it in a food processor. Tonight I’m making it with one orange and one lemon and subbing 1 c. white whole wheat flour and used the processor. It is smelling wonderful in the oven.
I have made this cake twice so far for my family and they love it. This will defiantly be one of my recipes that will be a family trend in the years to come…..Thank you forever
I try to bake cakes with ground almonds (almond meal) – instead of flour – could I use that in this recipe, or even 1/2 almond meal & 1/2 flour (try to use less Gluten) – or could I use all Gluten Free flour? love texture with almond meal. Would this affect the result?
Do you think I could do this with pink grapefruit instead? Thanks!
Rachelle, grapefruits are generally much larger than oranges so though it might work just fine, you would not need as much fruit.
I’ve read it a few times and I am just not sure if I cut off the ends of the orange and just chop them OR cut off the ends of the orange and chop the whole orange–
Hope you can get back to me soon! I can’t wait to make this recipe–
Miriam, cut off the ends and doscard these, the cut the remaining parts of the oranges (skin & flesh) into chunks.
I want something clarified .. when you say the skin and flesh of the orange, are you referring to the exterior peel? Is that included??
Yes, by skin I mean the peel.
I’ve been looking for an orange cake recipe ever since my aunt told me about one she had in Italy! What type of orange do you use?
Making this for christmas eve. but have to make it 2 days ahead due to working. Should I refrigerate the cake and then bring it to room temp before serving?? Suggestions.
I don’t want it to dry out.
Made this for a Sunday brunch and it came out beautifully – nice and moist and fluffy – not too sweet – and a great orange flavor – I was a little nervous about keeping the egg/ sugar mix aerated – (didn’t want a dense cake) so I separated the eggs, whipped the whites until just before soft peak stage then added the sugar and then the yolks as a last step. Not sure this extra step was necessary – but it worked for me. Btw, using three medium sized oranges, I ended up w about 1-1/2 cups of purée.
your recipes are great. Already tried 3 meals this week and looking forward to try even more.
This weekend I´m going to make orange cake but I´m not sure If the oranges should be blended with the hard peel on.
You wrote: Cut off a small slice of the thicker top and bottom parts of each orange, discard these pieces, and then cut the rest of the oranges into chunks. Place them in a food processor and puree until blended.
So the outer hard peel of the oranges stays on? Thank you and best regards from Prague.
Yes, you use the peel as well as the flesh.
Just wanted to say that I made this cake last night and it was delicious!! I made it with blood oranges and the cake came out beautifully. I can’t wait to make it again for family. Definitely going into my recipe file 🙂
Melissa, I have yet to make it with blood oranges myself, but hope to try it soon! Glad it worked out well for you.
Probably a silly question, but why not Extra Virgin Olive Oil? Thx
Extra Virgin Olive Oil has a very sharp flavor that can be overpowering in baked goods.
Just made this now and it’s so yummy! Thank you for the recipe. Substitutions I made- 4 liquid egg whites instead of whole eggs; 1 large orange which, pureed, gave me 1 cup of mashed pulp and I used a tad more than 3/4 of the pulp. Baked it for 50 min in a square pan. It came out perfect. Thanks again.
Glad you liked it!
I made this last night in little old New Zealand, and it’s one of the nicest cakes I’ve ever made. Soft and flavourful. Next time I may be game enough to try a little Rosemary! Thank you for the beautiful recipe!
Ansrea, glad you liked it. It is one of our favorites!
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I want to make your cake for Easter… Do you think this would work with Clemetines?
Susanna, clementines are much smaller than oranges so I might use 1 extra.
Thank you! I’m can’t wait to try it…
Just finished serving this cake and it was a total hit with everyone. Excellent receipe.
Is a springform pan essential? I’m thinking if I line the bottom of a regular cake pan I’ll be fine.
Looking forward to making this weekend. Love orange cake!
A regular cake pan would work fine. I’d cut overlapping strips of parchment paper to place in the bottom of the pan to make it easier to remove the cake after baking.
This is my first time trying something from your blog.
I made this cake yesterday. I had to make a few substitutions.
I had only 3 eggs, so I substituted 1 banana+ 2 tbsp olive oil + 1/4 tsp baking soda + 1/4 tsp citric acid, all mashed together, for the 4th egg.
I did add the 1 Tbsp chopped rosemary.
The cake turned out lovely! I am not an experienced baker, but this worked very well. I don’t have an electric mixer, and it was easy to do it all by hand (other than food processing the oranges!). I will surely make this again.
The orange flavor was very predominant and I could not taste any rosemary, so next time I will use more rosemary. I will also minus 2 or 3 Tbsp of sugar, as I felt the cake was a little on the sweet side and could use just a little less sugar. The oranges were medium sweet. I may also substitute 1/3 cup of the flour, with almond flour.
My guests also loved it. My picky teenage son also has eaten lots, and it’s usually difficult to get him out of his chocolate cake comfort zone.
Bravo for this recipe!
Tried this cake today , worked very well , as per recipe. Did serve with a simple Mango syrup , this enhanced the Orange flavour very well. Am going to try a few variations this week , with limes added and a salty caramel sauce.
We too went to Panzano, loved the olive oil cake, and I am excited to try this recipe.
Can you make it a day ahead of time, or does it need a more be the same day?
I have made two cakes and froze one. The cake is moist, so you can make it the day before.
I adore this recipe. I own a small Italian bakery (mostly working from farmer’s markets), and this is one of my best selling cakes. I adjust it by adding homemade candied orange peel pieces and I like to do a zigzag drizzle of dark chocolate on the top. I have found that the sugar can be easily cut back to one cup, less if there is a lot of candied orange peel. Anyway, I do not have many failproof recipes, but this is one and I thank you for it!!!
Glad you enjoy the recipe Julie!
This recipe is fantastic! Moist insude and the flavor of the orange is wonderful. I added sliced almonds into the cake batter and sprinkled some on top of the glaze. Highly recommend!
North American oranges are quite large, so when you say 2 small oranges, is there a cup measurement that I could go by? planning to make this recipe tomorrow. Thanks!
I never measured by cups. I’d say 1 1/2 large oranges should be fine.
hi. what if you don’t have a food processor?
You could divide the cake into two smaller pans.
If the cake comes out dense what could
Have gone wrong?
I did not over mix the batter
But I may not have beaten the sugar into the fluffy eggs enough??
It isn’t a light cake because of the olive oil but it shouldn’t be dense. Maybe you are right about the sugar and eggs.
Such a beautiful and tasty cake! I see my comments are much later than others, but I am happy to have found this recipe. I have made lemon olive oil cakes so I knew the olive oil would be fine and would not overpower the flavor. I used four