Foolproof LEMON OLIVE OIL CAKE [recipe]

lemon olive oil cake with fresh berries
A dead-easy, lemony Lemon Olive Oil Cake, which is one of like three things I actually bake because I can’t bake to save my loaf. In fact, the only other recipes for baked goods on this site are essentially variations on this Olive Oil Cake (links to those recipes included), and banana bread.

At some point I will bake an olive oil banana bread.

Recipe for LEMON OLIVE OIL CAKE below, cooking Notes and shopping Resources follow. You can watch a short video of my making the cake here.
lemon olive oil cake with fresh berries, slice


suggested wine pairing: late harvest Sauvignon Blanc from Merry Edwards, which is a sweet dessert wine with notes of “honeysuckle, candied ginger, toasted almonds and lemon meringue,” so it’s perfect with the flavors in the cake. 

serves 8-10


2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon kosher salt
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon baking powder
1¼ cups extra-virgin olive oil
3 large eggs
2 tablespoons grated lemon zest
6 tablespoons lemon juice
optional: 1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme or rosemary
for serving: confectioner’s sugar, fresh berries, lemon zest


Heat the oven to 350° F.

Prep 9-inch cake pan with baking spray or rub with a little olive oil and line the bottom with parchment paper.

In a mixing bowl, whisk the flour, sugar, salt, baking soda and powder. In a larger mixing bowl, whisk the olive oil, eggs, lemon zest and juice. Add the dry mix to the olive oil mixture and stir until just combined. If using chopped herbs, stir in now.

Pour the batter into prepared pan and bake for 50 minutes, checking at 45 minutes with a cake tester. Cake is done when top is medium golden brown and tester comes out clean.

Allow cake to cool in pan for 20 minutes. Remove from pan and let cake cook completely for an additional hour.

To serve, dust with powdered sugar and top cake with fresh berries and lemon zest.

If you are baking this Lemon Olive Oil Cake ahead of time, wrap in plastic wrap without the confectioner’s sugar and berries. You can keep it on the counter for a day, or in the refrigerator for two days.

lemon olive oil cake with fresh berries

Cooking NOTES and Ingredients RESOURCES

  1. Flour. You can use any form of wheat flour for Lemon Olive Oil Cake. I used this brand of organic, unbleached, all-purpose flour; I don’t bake enough to keep all kinds of specialty flours. I have made this cake with half whole wheat flour and as expected, it works perfectly well.
  2. Olive Oil. Because the point of this Lemon Olive Oil Cake is the olive oil, use the best-tasting (to you) olive oil you can afford. I like this California-grown olive oil, but it’s also VERY expensive, so I am saving that for times when I am eating straight olive oil like as a dip for bread, and using this mild, organic olive oil for the cake.
  3. Lemons: I generally use Meyer lemons for everything because that’s what my Mom gives me from her trees, but for this Olive Oil Cake, I used organic regular yellow lemons because I like how tart they are for this cake. You can use Meyer lemons if you have them; the cake will be ever so slightly sweeter!
  4. All other fresh herbs and produce from either the Santa Monica Farmers’ Market on Wednesday, or Whole Foods Market when I can’t find what I need at the farmers’ market.


lemon olive oil cake batter, into pan

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