Classic Olive Oil Cake

A staple in most Mediterranean kitchens, this light and barely sweet cake is perfect for an afternoon snack or late morning tea. A final brush of olive oil just before serving brings the fruity flavor to the front of your palate as soon as you take a bite.

4.9 from 36 reviews
Classic Olive Oil Cake
Serves: 1 (8-inch) cake
  • 3 large eggs (150 grams)
  • ¾ cup (150 grams) granulated sugar
  • ½ cup (112 grams) extra-virgin olive oil
  • ½ cup (120 grams) whole milk
  • ½ teaspoon (2 grams) vanilla extract
  • ¼ teaspoon (1 gram) almond extract
  • 1½ cups (188 grams) all-purpose flour
  • 1½ teaspoons (7.5 grams) baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon (1.5 grams) kosher salt
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C). Spray an 8-inch round cake pan with baking spray with flour; line bottom of pan with parchment paper.
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat eggs and sugar at high speed for 30 seconds. Add oil in a slow, steady stream, beating until combined. Add milk, beating until combined. Reduce mixer speed to low. Beat in extracts.
  3. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt. Gradually add flour mixture to egg mixture, beating until combined, stopping to scrape sides of bowl. Pour batter into prepared pan.
  4. Bake until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean, 30 to 33 minutes. Let cool in pan for 5 minutes. Remove from pan, and let cool completely on a wire rack. Brush with fresh olive oil just before serving. Store at room temperature wrapped loosely in foil or plastic wrap.


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  1. This has been the basis for my poppyseed lemon cake for years
    2 tsp lemon zest 2 Tbl lemon or lime juice 5 tbl poppyseeds
    while cake is baking squeeze the juice from 3 lemons strain place into sm saucepan
    add 1 cup powdered sugar DO NOT STIR,
    bring to a boil until mixture raises to top remove from heat.
    10 min after cake comes out place on plate prick and slowly pour over warm cake
    let cool then refrigerate covered for 6 hours. serve with lemon hello sherbet or vanilla ice-cream

  2. I have made this cake twice, both times it came out delicious. This is the kind of cake you can eat any time and it stays moist for a good period of time.

  3. Oh, my! Delicious! I won’t admit how much I ate last night, but I don’t have to worry about it staying fresh too long. It’s sweetness reminded me of perfect corn bread.

    • Jean…sorry…nice comment..bur as a good southerner would say: Cake is Cake and as for Cornbread it is not sweet. When cornbread is sweet then it is a cornbread cake. Had to tease…have fun baking

  4. Do you use a shallow or deep cake pan ? I am making this for a dinner party Saturday plud fresh raspberries with raspberry coulis and whipped cream with toasted sliced almonds. I can’t wait to try this.

  5. When you say line the pan with parchment paper does that go on the inside of the pan and on top of the oil spray and light flour?

    • Hi there! Adding lemon or orange zest to the batter should not affect the outcome of this recipe, however please note that we have not tested this recipe with either so we cannot speak to the outcome.

    • Hey Hasha,

      You could use water if you’re in a pinch, just know that the cake will not be as tender, as the fat in the dairy helps tenderize the crumb. Overall, it will still work though!

  6. Never heard about olive oil cake before. I’m going to try it with my family tonight. I’ll let you know the outcome

  7. Is it best to use an 8” or 9” round cake pan? Recipe says 8” but Kyle Grace Mills says 9” and “we recommend” not to use a smaller diameter.

    Someone, please clarify. I need to get baking on it in the morning.

    Thank you so much.

    • Hey Thelma Louise,

      I apologize for the confusion! I was responding to a query about another layered cake on a different page and for some strange reason, it showed up here. Please use an 8-inch cake pan. Although you could use a nine inch cake pan, just know it’ll bake faster and not be as tall.

      • Thanks for the speedy reply! I made it this morning. Smelled so good and, oh my stars, was such a delicious treat after lunch!

        • Hi Cassandra,

          Often cakes will dome due to uneven heat distribution. There is a product that you can buy to wrap around your cake pan that redistributes heat and allows a more even baking. There are also some online tutorials that show you how to make these out of aluminum foil and cloth or paper towels.

  8. I am a huge fan of almond olive oil cakes, and liked that this was an 8″ one. It turned out great and I was happy to find one that did not contain orange or lemon in the actual cake! It is moist and appropriate as either a snack cake, or a breakfast or dessert cake, especially if served with fruit (and maybe yogurt or whipped cream) on the side.

    The only very very minor changes I made is switching the amounts of the extracts (I like more almond flavor, but still kept some vanilla extract) and decorating the top with sliced almonds before putting it in the oven. It came out lovely with the almond slices on top!

    To the person who asked about the pan depth, I would recommend using a slightly deeper 8″ round cake pan, like I did. Even with the deeper pan, the cake rose a bit above the pan’s sides.

    • Hi ElAine, do you think I can make this on a 1 pound loaf pan? I have a few of rhe disposable ones and am thinking maybe to make a few to gift to my family members.

  9. Thank you for the recipe, the cake came out delicious! I didn’t have almond extract so I doubled the amount of vanilla. I made this for my daughter‘s birthday thanks again.

  10. Kyle Grace: This is the best recipe! Have been looking for this since our favorite Italian restaurant closed several years ago – their cake was to die for; this is even better. TY.

  11. This is the most amazing cake. Thanks for sharing as I didn’t have this recipe in my hard copy magazines.

  12. Perfect for Sunday afternoon tea! No fuss and over-the-top preparations, just simple, classic Olive Oil Cake that’s perfect for any tea! 🙂 Thanks for sharing this recipe.

  13. Is baking soda missing from list of ingredients? After I made this i notice it didn’t rise as the cake in the photo. Check other recipes and they all list baking soda.

    • Hi Karla,

      Thanks for reaching out! Because there is not an acidic component in the recipe, we use baking powder as a leavener. Baking soda requires an acidic component for activation, for example buttermilk. Baking powder, on the other hand, is a mixture of baking soda and acid, so there is no need for an additional acid.

    • Hi Charlotte,

      Thanks for reaching out! The oven temperature refers to a standard oven. The temperature does not account for convection ovens, but if you have a convection oven, it is recommended to reduce the baking temperature by 25 deg F and to check the cake several minutes before the end of the recommended bake time.

  14. I had to put the cake in for 20 minutes extra and the middle was taking a long time to set I don’t know if I did anything wrong the only thing I did differently is use skim milk instead of whole milk

  15. This is a fabulous recipe and so easy to bake. I’ve made it twice and a hit both times. It’s perfect for summer. I lessened the sugar to 1/2 c and it was sweet enough. Note that if you have a choice between 8” or 9” pan, I’d go with the 8” as this cake does not rise a whole lot. I only had a 9” so it was flatter but I added a dollop of plain unsweetened yogurt and blueberries on top. It was scrumptious presented well..

    • Hi Chloe!

      Of course! The reason most people do not do this is due to expense and availability. The seeds from a two-inch piece of vanilla bean roughly equals one teaspoon of vanilla. When you have scraped all of the beans from the vanilla pod, you can place those into vodka or rum and create your own vanilla extract over time! It will take at least a few months to develop flavor.

    • Hi Pat!

      You sure can! We recommend storing it in an airtight container in the fridge overnight or wrapping it very well before placing it in the freezer. If properly wrapped, it can stay in the freezer for up to 3 months.

  16. Hi! Tried this recipe – easy to make and it tasted good. However it wasn’t like a fluffy cake? Did I do something wrong or it was meant to be like a dense-custard looking cake? Haha! Any tips for my next try? Really love the taste. I used lemon extract instead of almond.

    • Hi Mikaela,

      Thanks for reaching out! The cake will be slightly denser, but should have a relatively fluffy crumb. When adding the oil, the mixer will be at high speed (with the whisk attachment) and you will want to add the oil in a slow stream to allow it to emulsify in the mixture. When you add the dry ingredients, only stir until moistened to avoid overbeating. Hope this helps and happy baking 🙂

  17. I am about to make this recipe for the 2nd time for my wife’s 60th b’day. Her request. In the past I’ve followed a more elaborate recipe made for a 9″ pan. It was ok but had streaks of underbaked batter at the finish. Photo’s of pro results online sometimes show this same streaking. I, nevertheless, consider them a flaw. I like the ‘classic’ aspect of this recipe and wanted to try it as soon as I saw it.

    Since this recipe is for an 8″ pan and I only own a 9″ pan I wondered if I could use it successfully. Well, you can. And a side benefit is there wasn’t any streaking in the result. Until I get a proper mixer that can use whisk paddles, this will have to be my go to for pro results making Olive Oil Cake.

    Pro tip: preheat your oven to 400F and immediately upon loading your cake, lower the oven to the proper baking temp (350F). Don’t forget to lower the oven!

    • Hi Howard!

      Your wife will no doubt be ecstatic to receive such a delightful homemade cake for her birthday! Thank you so much for all the tips and pan trials. Happy baking 🙂

  18. LOVE this recipe! Made it once for a date night, now making it for some friends as a thank you. I love how easy this is, plus, it’s just perfect for an after dinner treat, or even a morning coffee/tea with some whipped cream and berries. Goes with everything!

    Only thing for me was it took about 15 min longer to cook than the recipe stated, but other than that, couldn’t complain about anything. will be making this on the regular.

  19. Wonderful cake and it turned out perfect for me ! Usually when I try baking recipes they do not always turn out well. This one is a keeper I substituted orange flavoring for Almond and it was a big hit. The second time I made it I used this for the basis for strawberry shortcake and it was a big hit. My new go to recipe .

  20. GREAT RECIPE. I made a few changes: Used 1 cup white whole wheat flour/ 1/2 cup cornmeal, 1 teaspoon vanilla/no almond extract, added some sliced almonds on top before baking, and sprinkled powdered sugar after baking. I baked in 9 inch pan for 33 minutes. Easy recipe, versatile. Next time I won’t use almonds on top because it makes it more difficult to slice. Natasha, Registered Dietitian

  21. Mine came out tasting good but it was pretty dry. Did I do something wrong? I thought it would be more oily or moist like pictures.

  22. Very simple and plain cake, but very delicious! Easy to follow recipe. Definitely potential to “spruce up” this cake for dessert, but is perfect as is with coffee! May try a water icing on top next time for a little added sweetness.

  23. This is my first try. Followed directions to a tee. Used an 8-inch cake pan. Put pan in pre-heated 350 oven. Set timer for 30 minutes. Test toothpick came out wet. Set timer for 5 more minutes. Toothpick still wet. Set timer for 5 more minutes. Toothpick is finally clean. So, that’s a total of 40 minutes. Has this happened to others? I haven’t tried the cake yet as it is cooling. Looks GORGEOUS though. I’ll continue later.

  24. To continue my review. This cake is stunning. Looks beautiful. Tastes moist and delicious. My audience gave five stars all around. Yay!

  25. Thank you thank you THANK YOU for this recipe! I paired this with a custard buttercream and it is to die for. I recommend those of you who want a bit of cream with it to make it alongside this recipe!

  26. I’ve made this twice, doubling the recipe for a 9×13 pan. Baking time was about 45 minutes. An excellent basic cake.

    The second time i made it with coconut oil instead of olive oil (i didn’t brush it with oil though). In case anyone is wondering it worked very well. I served it with peaches that i warmed with a little sherry and it was outstanding.

    • Hi Samantha,

      Thank you for your question! An 8-inch springform pan should work just as well in this recipe, just be sure to line the bottom with parchment paper as stated in the recipe.

      Hope this helps, and happy baking!

  27. Hello. After reading your recipe and the comments, I think I’ll make this. I usually bake with whole wheat pastry flour and use egg whites in place of whole eggs. Do you think this would work in your recipe? Thanks!

    • Hello Candy,

      Thank you for your question! We have not tried this recipe using whole wheat pastry flour and without egg yolks. It could affect the consistency and rise of the cake, but there’s no way to know without testing. If you do try the recipe, please let us know how it goes!

      Happy baking!

  28. hi! I only have a 9×5 loaf pan, what do you suggest I put the oven temperature at? and how long should I bake it?
    also, if I were to be using oat milk, should I do different amounts?
    thank you!

    • Hi Maya,

      Thank you for your question! Unfortunately, we haven’t tested this recipe in a loaf pan, so we can’t be certain how it will work in that particular pan. You’ll most likely have to reduce your oven temperature (maybe try 325°F [170°C] to start) and increase your bake time because a thicker cake will take longer to bake. If you notice your cake is starting to brown too quickly on top, you can tent it with foil and continue to bake until a wooden pick inserted in the center comes out clean. Please note that because this recipe wasn’t written for a 9×5 loaf pan, the texture and moistness of the cake may be affected.

      Also, we haven’t tested this recipe with oat milk, but you should be able to substitute it 1:1 by volume (in this case, 1/2 cup). If you do experiment with this recipe, please let us know how it goes!

      Hope this helps, and happy baking!

  29. I’ve made this cake 7 or 8 times and it always comes out AMAZING. I’ve shared this recipe with several friends, and they all agree, this cake is perfect. Thanks for sharing this outstanding recipe

    • Hi Trisha,

      Thank you for your question!

      Unfortunately, we haven’t tested this cake as a layer cake, so can’t be sure how it’ll perform when stacked. I’d recommend finding an olive oil cake recipe that’s specifically made to be a layer cake, seeing as layer cakes typically require a fairly specific cake consistency to remain structurally sound.

      Happy baking!

  30. Hello,

    Is it possible to switch the milk for a dairy free alternative? If so, which would you recommend please? Almond? Would love to give this a go for a friend with a very severe dairy allergy!

    Thank you 🙂

    • Hello Shannon,

      Thank you for your question! Although we haven’t tested this recipe with an alternative milk, I could see almond milk working well in this recipe because of its fat content. Coconut milk is also really nice and high in fat, and could also work well, but might add a slight coconut flavor. Whichever milk you choose, you’ll want to substitute by volume, and be sure that whichever milk alternative you choose is unsweetened.

      I hope this helps, and happy baking!

  31. Thanks for this perfect recipe. I’ve baked it so many times that I can’t even say how many exactly. It’s amazing! I frost it with cream cheese and my family loves it. Sometimes I modify the recipe by adding cocoa and thus less flour and get a perfect chocolate cake which I frost with chocolate ganache.
    This is a great basic recipe suitable for any variation of cake.
    I recommend.

    • Hello Dan,

      Thank you for your question!

      Unfortunately, because honey contains so much more liquid than sugar, this will not be a simple 1:1 substitution. Honey is also far sweeter than your typical granulated sugar, so you’ll need to reduce the amount being added as well. You could start with ½ cup of honey, but would need to reduce the liquids in the recipe to account for the moisture added by the honey. You could probably start by reducing the amount of milk to ¼ cup, or potentially even less. Substituting honey will require some experimentation, so if you do decide to try it, please let us know how it goes!

      Thank you, and happy baking!

  32. I used this recipe many time, and once I had some leftover. I popped back in the oven a day or two later, so it would be “fresh”. By accident I forgot about it. When I returned it was nice and crispy and my new BISCOTTI recipe was born! Since then, I use this recipe for biscotti by adding hazelnut and pouring it to a loaf pan. Wait until cools, slice it and rebake until slightly crispy!

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