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Olive Oil Cake

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.

olive oil cake

Adapted from Maialino’s Olive Oil Cake via Food 52


  • 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
  • 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.



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