This delicious, tender-crumbed Orange Olive Oil Cake can be thrown together in minutes with just one bowl and a whisk. The crisp, candy-like, fresh orange glaze adds fantastic flavor and a beautiful presentation!
If you’ve been following The Café for any length of time, you’re most likely aware that I’m a huge fan of cakes that take minimal time and effort and yield fabulous results. Many of you have loved our wonderful French Grandmother’s Lemon Yogurt Cake and the seriously delicious French Almond Cake. This Ridiculously Easy Orange Olive Oil Cake is similar to those recipes and will have you smitten with the first taste!
If you’ve never tried a cake made with olive oil, you’re in for a real treat. Although olive oil cake is not a dessert that’s traditionally common here in the US, it’s a staple in other areas of the world, especially the regions with Mediterranean climates. You can find lots of recipes for olive oil cake from France, Italy, Spain, Portugal, Greece, Italy, Turkey and other olive growing areas of the world.
This might just be the easiest cake you ever have the pleasure of meeting. How does it work? Just pull out one medium-size bowl (I love this super useful bowl) and a whisk. Combine the sugar and eggs in the bowl. Give them a good whisk, then add buttermilk, orange zest and juice, vanilla extract, baking powder and salt. Give all this a good stir, add the flour and whisk until the flour disappears. Now add the olive oil and whisk one more time until smooth and creamy. Transfer the batter to a pan, then into the oven it goes where the simple ingredients become magically fragrant.
See what I mean? Easy, ridiculously easy!
If you’ve been following the Café for a while, you know that Ridiculously Easy recipes are one of our trademarks. You can just skip this section if you’d like, as you’ve probably heard it all before. But we have lots of new readers every day, so this explanation is for their benefit.
We love Ridiculously Easy recipes here at The Café but only certain recipes fall into this category. In fact, there are guidelines a recipe must include to earn this prestigious moniker:
- A recipe that takes minimal effort and minimal hands-on time to put together. (Resting, rising, or chilling time is not taken into consideration.)
- It’s also one that produces fabulous, super delicious results, ie, results that “appear” to have taken lots of time, talent, prowess and/or hard work.
- Ridiculously easy recipes have to work well on those busy days when time is short and expectations are high.
- And last, ridiculously easy recipes are perfect for entertaining, mostly because of the first two characteristics. They take the stress out of dinner parties and gatherings of families and/or friends and allow you more time to enjoy your guests.
- Bottom line? They are super simple, something anyone can do. (Shhhh! We’ll keep that part our secret.) In other words, they make you look like a superstar with minimal effort on your part. 🙌
Check out our whole collection of Ridiculously Easy recipes here!
What kind of olive oil should I use for this orange olive oil cake?
I think All Recipes has a good rule of thumb for baking with olive oil: “Always use a good quality extra-virgin olive oil… If you don’t like the flavor for dipping bread or drizzled on salads, you won’t like it in your baked goods.”
Personally, I have used Costco’s Kirkland Signature Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil for years and really like it. It was interesting to read recently that Samin Nosrat, the renowned chef and author of Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat agrees. In an article in the Huff Post, she says that it’s “the best-tasting olive oil is sold right at Costco and is the best you can get for your money”. New York Magazine also included the Kirkland EVOO in their article on The 20 Best Olive Oils Reviewed By Chefs 2020.
To sum it up, choose an olive oil that you really like the taste of!
Keep it simple or dress it up
You can serve this Orange Olive Oil Cake on its own, with a dollop of whipped cream or bring it to the table and give it a pretty shower of powdered sugar.
It is also delicious with a drizzle of our Raspberry Coulis (another of our Ridiculously Easy recipes!).
In addition to being ridiculously easy, this Orange Olive Oil Cake is super moist and just seems to get better over time. It’s also amazingly tender, sweet but not too sweet, dense but light at the same time, buttery without butter and the crisp, candy-like coating “takes the cake”! It’s a fabulous dessert you want to make asap!
Café Tips for making this Easy Orange Olive Oil Cake
- This recipe calls for the finely grated zest of one orange. You’ll need a zester to grate the orange. A good zester is an indispensable kitchen tool that you’ll use over and over. In addition to zesting citrus fruit, it can be used for hard cheeses, chocolate, ginger, even garlic! And if you burn the toast, a zester is the perfect way to hide the evidence (don’t ask me how I know that). Most zesters look similar but they’re not all the same quality. I really like this Microplane Zester.
- When you zest citrus, use a light touch. The color part is loaded with delicious flavor, but the white pith underneath is bitter. You just want the colored zest.
- I like to use a whisk to put together this Orange Olive Oil Cake. A whisk is superior to a spoon or spatula in mixing up cakes as it not only mixes, it also incorporates air for a lighter texture without overworking the batter. A good quality whisk will last a lifetime and is another essential kitchen tool that you’ll use over and over.
- You’ll need a 9-inch pan for this recipe with at least 2-inch tall sides. I love these OXO pans. I’ve had mine for years and they still look like new. A set of these pans would make a great gift for the baker on your list.
- You’ll notice a lot of recipes say to line your cake pan with parchment paper. I used to think this wasn’t necessary but have found over the years that parchment paper really does ensure that my cakes come out of the pan without sticking. I also learned about these pre-cut parchment paper rounds several years ago and haven’t look back. They definitely add to the ease of baking and a pack will last forever (or you could share with a baking friend).
- The best way to determine if a cake is done is to check the internal temperature which should read between 204 and 210˚F. If that sounds complicated and high tech, it’s not! With an instant thermometer, it takes the same amount of time to test your cakes as the old “toothpick test”. And it’s useful for so many other things. Instant thermometers are decently priced nowadays and will save your cakes, meats, from being over or under cooked.
Thought for the day:
Let us fix our eyes on Jesus,
the author and perfecter of our faith,
who for the joy set before him
endured the cross, scorning its shame,
and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
Consider him who endured such opposition
from sinful men, so that you will not
grow weary and lose heart.
What we’re listening to for inspiration:
If you enjoyed this recipe, please come back and leave a star rating and review! It’s so helpful to other readers to hear other’s results and ideas for variations.
- 1 cup sugar
- 3 large eggs
- ¾ cup buttermilk I like whole milk buttermilk
- finely grated zest from one medium juicy orange
- ¼ cup fresh orange juice
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- ¾ cup good-quality extra virgin olive oil
- ½ cup powdered sugar
- ¼ cup fresh orange juice
Preheat the oven to 325˚F. Spray a 9-inch cake pan (with at least 2-inch tall sides) with baking spray. Line the pan with a circle of parchment paper. (you can also use a 9-inch springform pan).
Combine the sugar and eggs in a medium-size bowl. Whisk well until light and fluffy (30-40 seconds).
Add the buttermilk, orange zest, orange juice, vanilla extract, baking powder and salt and whisk until everything is well combined.
Add the flour and whisk just until incorporated. It’s okay at this point if there are still some lumps.
Add the olive oil. At first, it will seem separated but then it will come together. Whisk until the olive oil is incorporated and the mixture is smooth (30-45 seconds).
Transfer to oven and and bake for 35-45 minutes until medium golden brown and internal temperature is 204-210˚F or a toothpick comes out clean when inserted in the center of the cake. Cover the cake loosely if it seems to be getting too brown before it’s done.
Cool in the pan for 10 minutes then invert onto a cooling rack that has been set on top of a piece of foil.
While the cake is cooling in the pan, make the glaze by combining the powdered sugar and orange juice and in a small bowl. Stir until smooth.
With a pastry brush, gently brush and pat the glaze all over the cake. Just keep going over the cake till the glaze is gone. Some of it will drip off, but most of it will soak in. Allow cake to cool. Sprinkle with powdered sugar if desired and serve.
See Café Tips above in the post for more detailed instructions and tips.