cake, citrus, herbs, herbs de Provence, lavender, olive oil, olive oil cake, orange, rosemary
Summer’s unrelenting spell of bounty has me laboring under its magic from the soil to the sea. I find it difficult to keep up with the fresh-from-the-garden stock that keeps coming my way. It’s an exciting task. I’m up to here (throwing you a salute) in herbs, vegetables and flowers, all so delicate that I’m rushing to give them proper attention before they expire. They have quietly stolen all of my attention. I’m throwing together salads with berries, creating marinades to drizzle over fish with herbs. I’m playing with flavor combos (fennel and citrus, a keeper), (lavender and berries, novel), (cilantro, lime, oil, classic with a twist). And don’t get me started on all of the ice cream recipes I’m seeing on the internets and Pinterest (please
don’t buy me an ice cream maker for my birthday next month! Pretty please.) I know it’s all only here for the moment so I’m trying to make the most of it– to highlight each ingredient and carefully construct a center stage for each to have a time to shine. In this chorus of fruit, herbs and vegetables, I was gifted some olive oil, lavender and rosemary. The oil is peppery and earthy in a way that hints at the minerals in the soil. The herbs are fragrant and rich. What to do? A cake! An ode to the season, kissed with freshness — one that arrests your palate with its distinctive flavor.
This olive oil cake is an easy one. No folding of eggs (you can just throw them right in), no butter, no cream. It’s like making scones. It has a crispy crust and an aromatic oil-rich middle, which, if it held any more moisture, would be pudding. This is hands down the best cake I’ve ever made. Decorated with fresh, edible flowers, infused with citrus and lavender and holding over a full cup of olive oil. I’ve been eating it for breakfast and dessert. I will be making this cake for every occasion in the foreseeable future. It’ll make you look like a hero, but it’s so simple.
Adapted from Maialino’s Olive Oil Cake via Food 52
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 3/4 cup sugar
- 1 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 1/4 cup milk
- 1/2+ tablespoon lavender
- 1/2+ tablespoon rosemary, chopped
- 3 large eggs
- 1 1/2 tablespoon grated orange zest
- 1/4 cup fresh orange juice
- a splash of Grand Marnier if you have it on hand
Heat the oven to 350° F. Oil, butter, or spray a 9-inch cake pan that is at least 2 inches deep with cooking spray and line the bottom with parchment paper. (If your cake pan is less than 2 inches deep, divide between 2 pans and start checking for doneness at 30 minutes.)
In a bowl, whisk the flour, sugar, salt, baking soda, powder, lavender and rosemary. In another bowl, whisk the olive oil, milk, eggs, orange zest, juice and booze. Add the dry ingredients; whisk until just combined.
Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 1 hour, until the top is golden and a cake tester comes out clean. Transfer the cake to a rack and let cool for 30 minutes.
Run a knife around the edge of the pan, invert the cake onto the rack and let cool completely, 2 hours.
Lovely recipe, Amanda. I am glad you are enjoying the summer, its produce, and most importantly some time off. It sounds like you have been cooking like crazy, and this cake looks and sounds delicous. I love lavender in sweet desserts (I recently made lavender chocolate truffles with almond pulp from making almond milk), but I’ve never made olive oil cake, and it sure sounds like a great combination, especially with the herbs and citrus… yum. Can’t wait to see what other summer recipes you’ve been making (berries in salads, please ! I love doing that myself and am always happy to learn of new combinations).
Darya! Those truffles sound amazing, as does the almond milk! Post them! I kind of wish I were at your place. I’m starting to wonder if there is something wrong with me. I get so excited about the earth yielding such beautiful things, it’s like I’m overwhelmed with gratitude. I get the same feeling when I see kids that look exactly like their parents. It’s just amazing how these small miracles work. But yes, I am getting outside and trying to enjoy this wonderful weather.
Mad Dog said:
That sounds delicious. I’ve eaten olive oil cake in Spain, made with almonds, orange and lemon zest, but never with orange juice and Grand Marnier. It reminds me of a Valencian flat mate I had in Barcelona who thought the idea of making cakes and biscuits (cookies) with butter was greasy and disgusting, though I’m not sure that she’d ever tasted any 😉
Wow, and here I was thinking this was a very French cake. I have made a torta de santiago before with almonds, orange zest and folded egg whites. But this one is heavy with oil rather than almonds and is kind of way better! It really is the best cake I’ve ever made. Your former flatmate sounds hilarious. I think olive oil cake is probably greasier than butter, but oh it’s so so good. And lavender may just be my new obsession. Thanks for reading, MD. I love your comments.
Mad Dog said:
Ha ha – it sounds weird, but I think my flat mate grew up without ever eating much butter. In Spain olive oil is drizzled on bread and poured over cooked vegetables in the way that we’d use butter. I imagine that lard is a far more popular animal fat than butter, aside from in Asturias – the north western part of Spain where most milk is produced.
I highly recommend tortas de aceite (little flat olive oil cakes) which come from Andalucia:
That’s what I love about Spain, MD. Americans use butter. I grew up with oil actually because my mom lived in Spain for a while and learned to cook in the Spanish tradition. That’s why my ridiculous web address is ser cocinera. I never had much butter, even though I grew up in a very dairy heavy farm area because my dad is a doctor and understands the effect cholesterol has on the body. Those tortas look unbelievable and I’m obsessed with Andalucia. I’ll make them this weekend! I think they only use lard in the south. I’m too heart conscious to even buy it.
Mad Dog said:
I use olive oil for most things (having lived in Spain I don’t use any other kind) aside from roast potatoes, which I cook in goose fat.
Having read a lot about cholesterol, I’m not entirely convinced about it being bad for you. There are quite a lot of experts who say the whole thing is completely misunderstood. But on the bright side, there’s far less cholesterol and fat in lard, than there is in butter:
… and the fat from Spanish acorn fed pigs (de bellota) contains high quantities of oleic acid, like olive oil:
Wow, thank you for that. I love when I meet someone who knows what he’s talking about. You’re threatening my waistline, my dear!
Mad Dog said:
Oh yes, I forgot to say, it’s still somewhat fattening regardless 😉
I am a horrible baker, but I love reading this post and indulging in your gorgeous photos. Thanks for sharing. And now I will go and find someone to make this yummy cake for me. 🙂
Aw! Thanks, Madhuri. I am not the best baker. It’s the best cake I’ve made because I’ve only managed to make a few successfully. But it really is good and you can do it! I’ve been trying to write this post for over a week, but between work and play it was tough to get out! Next time I’ll bring you a piece. xoxo
Sofia // Papaya Pieces said:
Wow, I’ve never used lavender in cooking, it must give an amazing taste along with the rosemary. I hope you get your ice cream maker for your birthday 😉 I know I would be so dangerous if I had one myself! xx
Thanks, Sofia. I wonder if anyone who reads this would actually think of doing that for me. I don’t think my husband reads the page. He just eats off of it. What lavender adds is more of a fragrance than a flavor. The scent of the cake is much stronger than the actual taste, which is a very sophisticated experience. It’s flavor is subtle. I wonder if it would come out more if I distilled it in the milk before adding. I’ll have to try it. Ojala que tus estudios de piano vayan muy bien! un beso.
“The” olive oil cake eh. Sounds delicious and to be honest I’ve never tried it before. I’m going to make it!! Oh, great pics too. Smiley face
Gracias! You will love it! Add some extra grand marnier in honor of your former cleanse. I’d never had an olive oil cake before, but I”m obsessed with olive oil these days. I’d love to take a bath in it and then eat my way out of it little by little. But that’s just me.
I certainly do love olive oil. That would be my kind of bath!!!
Jovina Coughlin said:
Beautiful cake, Amanda. I love cakes made with olive oil but the lavendar doesn’t grow down here. I would serve it with fresh blackberries, though..
That’s a great idea. The lavender came from my friend’s garden. It’s more for fragrance than for flavor. I think the blackberries would work wonders. I love berries. Thanks for commenting as always, Jovina.
Shanna Koenigsdorf Ward said:
Looks amazing. I love lavender and rosemary in something citrusy and sweet. Our neighbor has a bush of each that she “shares”. 🙂 I have only snagged some lavender once, out of respect, but I love it in butter and sugar, as well.
Thanks, Shanna! I have no idea how you resist. I love it too!
Traditionally Modern Food said:
Beautiful cake Amanda:) mouth watering pics
Thank you so much!
Ngan R. said:
This looks frighteningly delicious, Amanda. I am sure both taste and flavor are amazing with the rosemary, olive oil, and lavender. I’m looking forward to the market this weekend to pick up fresh herbs and flowers and produce. Like you, I love the abundance of summer. I’ve had more salads this summer than the prior 6 months combined. If you need to get rid of herbs, try an herb pie. 🙂
Oh wow! Great suggestion. Do you have a link to one? I’ve got lots of basil. I was thinking of muddling it in a lemonade for a dinner party on friday and then spiking it with vodka 🙂 I too have been having crazy salads. I seriously found a winning combo with that olive oil and orange juice dressing I made in the post about mung beans. Obsessed. I went camping this weekend and thought of you because this post was dreadfully overdue!
Ngan R. said:
I’m on my phone so can’t link up, but if you google “Ottolenghi herb pie” the first hit should be from the guardian. Delicious recipe, though I do cut out some cheese due to personal preferences. Basil is the best herb to have too much of! I like your idea for drinks. I’ve tried the olive oil and orange dressing on a winter salad before, but am reminded I should try it again. Perfect for summer salads too, I think. Looks like you had a fun time camping! I need another week off already. 🙂
Chica Andaluza said:
Am Oh So Making This! Since living in Spain I use olive oil for my cakes now (I have a couple of recipes) and they are great! Stunning photos 🙂
Thanks, Chica! The olive oil really adds flavor and moisture. I’ll check out your recipes.
This is so gorgeous! Beautiful pictures, and this recipe looks DIVINE!
Thank you, Chaya! It really is a fab cake. I ate the whole thing over the course of a week.
I really want to try this, but I’ve never baked with lavender before and I don’t want to buy it and have it sitting on the shelf for ages. Although the truth is, I’ve been seeing it in lots of recipes lately, so maybe I’ll buy it and test it out with this cake 🙂
I just got a few sprigs of it fresh from my friends garden. You can buy a plant and just have it. It adds more scent than flavor. I want more of it.
OMG, what a beautiful post, your images are amazing. To be honest I’ve never thought about baking with olive oil, I am one of those butter bakerette’s. I believe that olive oil makes this cake more soft and moist. Thank you for sharing Amanda.
Thank you! This cake specifically highlights the olive oil. I’m not sure it would work in every cake. It would be overpowering. But this is a total keeper. Thanks so much.
healthable old soul said:
Can you use fresh lavender?
For sure! This came right out of my friend’s garden. I picked it with her! The fresher the better.
positively stunning! Have always wanted to make an olive oil cake. You’ve gone all out with the lavender, etc. Your description of the crispy crust has me drooling. Envy you your garden 🙂
Thank you, Liz. It’s my friend’s garden. She just gifted me all this stuff that I had to find amazing recipes for! You will love this.
Amanda, the flavors of your cake are amazing and your photos are stunning 🙂
Thank you so much. It’s a yummy cake and the ingredients make good models 🙂
Pemberley Cup & Cakes by Rosa said:
What a rich and amazing combination of flavours in this dreamy cake… I’m mesmerised by all those tantalising photos… So lucky (and smart) of you to make such a delicacy out of these amazing ingredients… Wow, I’m in awe, seriously…
Aw thank you so much, nena. It’s the best cake I’ve made and as you know I’ve got some baking fears. This is high praise coming from an amazing baker like you. Besos!
What a gorgeous cake Amanda! I love the bundt shape and there you go again using wonderful edible flowers. 🙂 Your photographs are so beautiful, especially love the opening shot. I’m going to make your cake for sure. I would skip dinner and have this instead.
Thanks so much. You will like this a lot since we have similar tastes. I had no idea you could eat flowers until a few years ago so I’m a latecomer to the game. I seriously ate it for breakfast and dessert for a little less than a week. 🙂 Enjoy!
love in the kitchen said:
Oh my goodness – I’m printing this off right now. How exquisite. And your photographs…. unbelievable. I wish you’d take me under your wing and do some food shoots with me. Please run classes…. xo
You are so sweet. The good stuff coming out of your kitchen is unreal. We should do a meet up sometime… and bring tiny white cottage with us! You will love this cake. I did.
love in the kitchen said:
YES that would be a meeting of very similar minds! I would love it. Cannot wait to make this cake. Already written on my chalkboard menu. Will post and link back when I’ve made it – might take me a week or two to get there, but I will.<3
Oh I hope you love it!
Shella Grover said:
Amanda what a lovely cake. Almost dream like
Thanks so much, Shella. It really is a keeper. You should give it a shot!
Fig & Quince said:
What a gorgeous post! I kept saying “wow” outloud as I read and scrolled down. Wow! Thank you for a beautiful feast. And happy one-month-early birthday! And hope you get your ice cream makers but also, have you considered making popsicles? Would love to see your take on that.
Lovely post and recipe and photos and everything!
Thank you so much, Azita! You are so kind. I like popsicles and hasn’t really tight of that! Thank you. Maybe I’ll add that to my list and see how creative I can be. Great idea! I hope you’re enjoying the summer. Xoxo.
Fig & Quince said:
I was selfishly thinking of my own (vicarious) pleasure when suggesting popsicles. I know you will do amazing things with it. I KNOW it!
dedy oktavianus pardede said:
My mom used to renderred coconut cream into oil and use it in cake, it turns out really great,
i think i’m gonna like this olive oil cake, superb even more with roserarry scent….
Thanks, dedy. I think you’ll do a great job. Your mom sounds like an amazingly talented cook. That coconut cream cake sounds heavenly! I hoe you try this, is easy for cooks like us who aren’t huge bakers.
Mary Frances said:
This sounds so good! I once had olive oil and rosemary cake at a little wine bar in Fort Greene, it was definitely a memorable dessert. I’ll have to try your version!
Thanks so much. It really is something you’d find in a wine bar. It’s subtle and sophisticated and makes me look the same when i serve it 🙂
Beautiful photos and a lovely recipe! I just loved looking at the photos and wishing it was summer here. How wonderful to have so much summer produce to inspire you! I think I will be making this as mini-bundts later this week. I’ve been experimenting with no butter cakes, and some have gone…a bit meh. This one looks like a reliable winner. 🙂
Thanks so much. This one is absolutely a keeper. So good. Use good quality oil. Mini bundts sounds great! I am so happy it is summer here. We had a very rough winter. Enjoy and enjoy!
Shanna Koenigsdorf Ward said:
PS The original recipes was crying out, begging for, your modifications. 🙂 Genious.
The cake looks amazing and moist, Amanda! Edible flowers … what a coincidence! Here in Sardinia (where I’m on vacation) I see them in every restaurant. They look lovely and their delicate purple color complements the color of the cake wonderfully!
Oh thanks so much. Enjoy Sardinia! Perfect place for summer beauty!
Packing my Suitcase said:
What a different cake!! It looks amazing and I would love to try a piece of it, recipe saved! 🙂
Aw so sweet. Thank you. It’s phenomenal and so easy to do!
Packing my Suitcase said:
Im very curious, because Ive never seen a recipe like this one. I will make sure to try it sometime soon 🙂
Sheila // All things considered yummy! said:
Beautiful! I love rosemary in sweets – gives it a nice savory balance!
I completely agree with you. I put rosemary in scones and cakes whenever I can. Thanks for commenting.
Susan Margetts said:
This cake has become a favourite. I have made it many times now and it always turns out beautifully. I have served it to family and friends with rave reviews. I subbed out the orange for lemon but do prefer the orange. This is a keeper. Thanks so much!
Amanda | What's Cooking said:
Thanks, Susan! I love it too and I’m so glad that you took the time to comment. This cake embodies so much of what I love about food. The texture and flavor are just perfect. Have a wonderful evening!
Thanks for the recipe. I have baked with olive oil before and love it. I am a lavender culinary virgin! To that end, I must ask HOW DO YOU PREPARE LAVENDER? Separate the buds? Chop them? And, if so, how small? Look forward to cooking with lavender. Thanks.
Amanda | What's Cooking said:
Thanks, Leslie. Yes I only use the purple part here and either chop or separate with my fingers. I had a chef friend who uses it like rosemary in the cavity of roast chickens and turkey and used the whole plant.?This cake is one of my favorites. Also, they sell culinary lavender online. It adds a nice essence.