Clementine Olive Oil Cake

 Clementine Olive Oil Cake - Citrus, vanilla and olive oil give this cake an amazing aroma, consistency and flavor. The marmalade drizzle is simply divine!

Making this lovely Portuguese Clementine-Olive Oil Cake w/ Marmalade Drizzle brought back memories of a marriage proposal! I had a few before my true Prince Charming came along, but this particular one was especially interesting, as it occurred in the strangest of situations and in a foreign country, of all places!

It happened in Lisbon, Portugal many years ago while traveling in Europe with my mom. For six weeks we wandered like nomads from one end of the continent to the other; hiking the magnificent mountains, swimming in the clear blue Mediterranean and enjoying the amazing history that we encountered at every turn. Of course we had to visit the quaint cafés, abundant bakeries and delightful patisseries in every city we ventured through.

One day, just in passing, my mom mentioned that she had always dreamed of visiting Portugal. It wasn’t part of our itinerary but being foot loose, fancy-free and knowing we had unlimited travel miles with our Eurail passes, I said, “Why not, let’s go!” We boarded the next train and before we knew it, found ourselves in the Lisbon railway station without a clue of where to stay or what to see.

Clementine Olive Oil Cake - Citrus, vanilla and olive oil give this cake an amazing aroma, consistency and flavor. The marmalade drizzle is simply divine!

Much to our surprise a handsome and gregarious young man befriended us right there in the station and offered assistance in securing accommodations. We were wary at first, but after learning he was the son of the city’s mayor, we became a bit more trusting. He made a few phone calls and it wasn’t long before we were checking into a lovely hotel right in the heart of the bustling city. When he left that day, he offered to show us around the city during the time we were visiting. We thanked him kindly for all his help, but told him we’d be fine from that point on.

The following day as we toured the city we mysteriously (?) ran into this young fellow here, there and everywhere. He was kind, friendly and helpful and somewhere, over the course of the day, he won our hearts. We saw him several times over the next few days and when he offered, on our final day, to show us “The most beautiful park in the city.” we readily agreed.

Clementine Olive Oil Cake - Citrus, vanilla and olive oil give this cake an amazing aroma, consistency and flavor. The marmalade drizzle is simply divine!

The park was indeed lovely and he had brought a delicious Portuguese lunch which we enjoyed in the beautiful, lush surroundings. Time passed by quickly, and soon we needed to catch a bus to the train station where we said farewell to our new friend. The bus was crowded and after finding a seat for mom, we headed a bit further back where we stood and chatted.

Shortly before we arrived at our departure train station he blurted out an unbelievable question: “Would you marry with me?” was exactly what he said. In my shocked state, I asked him to repeat the question. “Would you marry with me?”, he said again. I stumbled and sputtered and tried to think of what to say.

Finally I said, “Well, I have to return to the United States to complete my education”. His reply was quick, “Don’t worry about that. Education is not necessary for you, all you need to do for me here is to cook and clean”. Oh dear, I honestly can’t remember exactly what I said at that point, but I do remember that I had quite the story to tell my mom as our train sped away from Lisbon!

Clementine Olive Oil Cake - Citrus, vanilla and olive oil give this cake an amazing aroma, consistency and flavor. The marmalade drizzle is simply divine!

To this day, whenever I hear about or read about Portugal, I have to smile as I remember this sweet story. And speaking of smiling, you will grin from ear to ear when you take the first bite of this moist, delicious, citrusy cake. Actually, the grin will start even before the first bite; when you slice into this cake, you will be greeted by the most amazing aroma. Citrus, vanilla and olive oil combine to create a intoxicating fragrance that is likely to melt even the firmest dietary resolve. I have a feeling you’ll love this one – we think it’s a keeper, for sure!

Clementine Olive Oil Cake - Citrus, vanilla and olive oil give this cake an amazing aroma, consistency and flavor. The marmalade drizzle is simply divine!
Clementine Olive Oil Cake - Citrus, vanilla and olive oil give this cake an amazing aroma, consistency and flavor. The marmalade drizzle is simply divine!


Clementine Olive Oil Cake

This Clementine Olive Oil Cake with Citrus, vanilla and olive oil which gives this cake an amazing aroma and consistency. The marmalade drizzle is simply divine!


  • 3 ½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 ½ teaspoons salt
  • 5 large eggs
  • 3 cups sugar
  • 1 ½ cups mild flavored extra-virgin olive oil
  • fine zest of 5 clementines*
  • 1 ½ cups clementine juice, from approximately 15 clementines*
  • For the drizzle:
  • 1/4 cup marmalade (I used my Orange-Pineapple Marmalade, use your favorite.)
  • 4-5 tablespoons half and half or milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract,
  • 2 cups powdered sugar


  1. Preheat oven to 350˚F. Spray a 12-cup Bunt or tube pan with baking spray and set aside.
  2. Whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl and set aside.
  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment (or with a handheld mixer in a large bowl) beat the eggs on medium-high speed until well-combined, about 1 minute. Slowly pour in the granulated sugar and continue beating until thick and pale yellow, about 3 minutes.
  4. On low speed, alternate adding the flour mixture and oil, starting and ending with the flour, and beat until just a few wisps of flour remain. Pour in the clementtine juice and zest and mix for about 20 seconds to bring the batter together.
  5. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake until a cake tester comes out with a few moist crumbs clinging to it, about 1 1/4 hours. If the top is browning too much as the cake bakes, cover lightly with foil.
  6. Transfer to a wire rack and cool for 15 minutes, then turn the cake out onto the rack and cool completely before icing
  7. For the drizzle, place marmalade in microwave for 30 seconds or heat in a small pan over low heat till melted. Strain warm marmalade through a fine strainer, push on solids with the back of a spoon. You should end up with approximately 3 tablespoons of strained marmalade.
  8. Combine marmalade, 4 tablespoon of half and half, vanilla and powdered sugar in a medium size bowl. Mix with a wire whisk until smooth. Add more half and half or milk if needed to thin enough to drizzle. With a spoon drizzle icing in a back and forth motion from center to outer edges of cake.
  9. Allow icing to set before serving. Cake is even better if made a day in advance. Store in a covered cake container.


* ~ This cake can also be made from oranges or other citrus fruits. Use the same measurement of zest and juice. I think grapefruit would be delightful.

55 thoughts on “Clementine Olive Oil Cake”

  • Chris:
    This is my first time here. I am Brazilian, but also a Portuguese decendent. I am glad to read that you have fond memories of Portugal, my great grandparents homeland. This clementine cake looks terrific! I cannot stop looking at these gorgeous pictures. Thanks for sharing your story and this great recipe.

  • LOVE this fun story. Just think, you missed the opportunity to living there just cooking and cleaning for him;))) Gorgeous cake. That drizzle is so lovely and the flavors so perfect.

  • This is a lovely looking cake…so absolutely gorgeous! And so moist looking! Your story had me laughing…what a funny way to ask someone to marry you, and not a very winning way!

  • Hahaha. Fantastic story. You don’t often get to read such stories on food blogs. 😉 Thanks for sharing it with us!

    I love using olive oil in cakes and especially love if there’s citrus involved! This cake is absolutely beautiful. Great job!

  • That’s fabulous Chris. That made me giggle. I worked in Portugal for a short time in my mid twenties. About 10 years ago. The men I remeber meeting aren’t all that different. Hahaha. The cake though is fabulous.

  • Beautiful beautiful cake, Chris and a wonderful story! Your suitor would be kicking himself had he any idea the culinary queen you have turned out to be! And I love when a particular food ties you to a memory such as this. This is a perfect cake to celebrate spring! : )

  • Such a cute story…most of my early proposals were from inebriated college students :/ And your cake is divine…I just want to reach through the screen and get a finger full of that drizzle. Bill loves a citrus cake…I just may treat him to yours:)

  • What a lovely story. It does remind me a bit of some scenes in ‘Love Actually’ where one of the characters goes to Portugal. I’ve only ever had the one proposal – you make me feel I missed out on something xx

  • Chris, you are melting my dietary resolve! I’m getting woo’d by this lovely cake! It’s saying to me, “eat me, bite me!”

    By the way, great story about the marriage proposal – too funny! You’re so lucky to have travelled with your Mom that way! I hope, in the future, my children would want to travel with me as well! It is such a wonderful bonding experience!

  • Chris this looks stunningly beautiful. Cudos to the chef and mouse for taking the photos.
    Wow what a story and what a proposal too. It must have been tough to turn down a life of cooking and cleaning (that’s my sarcastic voice!).
    I have a very weak resolve at the best of times when it comes to cake but this would win me over in a second.

  • This cake could make a person believe that Spring is actually going to get here at some point 🙂 So beautiful. Do you think a citrus infused olive oil would be good in this cake? I have a blood orange olive oil that I use for salad dressings and biscotti but I believe they also sell tangerine.

  • What a great story! And gorgeous looking cake. We’ve been eating clementines like crazy lately (they’re really good this year, and inexpensive), so this recipe will definitely be useful for us. Thanks!

  • Wow! What an incredible story and the cake looks incredible too. I’m going to have to give it a try! Did you and your mom just giggle every time you said the word “Portugal” after that?

  • I love your story, Chris, and sharing it with your mom made it very special. What a spectacular cake! You are a girl after my own heart with all that delicious glaze you drizzled over it. I have never made a cake with olive oil and I think it’s time I get to it.

  • Again with the beautiful cakes! You’re killin’ me! 🙂 When I make the rare cake, *that* is always the drizzle I’m going for – thick, ropey, and drippy, like a massive candle – but never achieve. It’s perfectperfectperfect. And I love that engagement story – ah, European romance.

  • Oh, my, that cake looks fabulous! From the delicate crumb, to the brown exterior, and the glaze. Yum! I had to laugh at juicing 15 clementines. For as juicy as they seem when I’m eating them, they have surprisingly little juice in them. I realized that making cookies not too long ago.

  • What a wonderful, whimsical adventure for you to have! I’m sure your Prince Charming is thrilled that you didn’t take the young man up on his offer of eternal servitude but waited for him instead. 🙂

    The cake, my friend, is glorious. Absolutely and deliciously glorious.

  • You are one lucky lady to have experienced the world in such a fantastic way – what a mom you had. I adore adventure and wish I could travel like that now. OK the cake looks amazing and your description is intoxicating but the story is the icing – such a wonderful story! Multiple proposals? Ooohhh 🙂

    • Jo Anne, I don’t see why this wouldn’t work for cupcakes though I can’t guarantee it since I never tried it. It does rise quite nicely so I wouldn’t fill the cups more than 2/3 full. Let me know if you try it!

  • Oh my goodness, the crumb is just beautiful! I love this kind of cake, and your drizzle is just the perfect complement.

    What a sweet marriage proposal. “Will you marry with me?” Love it! In a way, it’s a good way to ask. Except for the whole don’t worry about your education part! 🙂

  • My daughter is engaged to a young man born in Portugal who proposed when they visited the little village where he was born. What a time you and your mom had and what a delicious cake.

  • What a fun story and great adventure with your mom. I hope she’s still around to read this. Your cake looks awesome and sounds so flavorful and moist. I love clementines and with the addition of Olivie oil I’m certain makes it a bit healthier. I’d love to try this. What type of pan did you use that gives you square edges? I don’t think I’ve seen a bundt cake pan like that before.

    • Thanks Vicki, sadly my mom passed away several years ago but I certainly have delightful memories of her! The pan I used is called a “tube pan”. It looks like an angel food pan but doesn’t have the removable bottom.

  • What a cake and what a story to remember,Chris!!! Olive oil and citrus in a cake, very tempting pair..The look is amazing, too! I’d surely love to have a piece..XO

  • What a very romantic story! Kind of what every girl dreams of when visiting exotic locales. And the mayor’s son, geez!!! Well, you are extremely pretty and likely had him spellbound. But I am glad you escaped a life of housework in Portugal.

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