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  • Writer's pictureThe Bendy Baker

Olive Oil Cake with Citrus and Spice

I love olive oil and use it in many ways in cooking and baking. It's high in healthy antioxidants, monounsaturated fatty acids and is produced in a wide range of flavor intensities ranging from very mild to fairly strong profiles.

Moist olive oil cake cooling on rack
Olive oil cake with sugar topping

Although some bakers recommend it as an all-purpose substitute for butter, or non-dairy baking sticks, I use it in more of a targeted way to produce specific tastes and textures, sometimes on its own but often combined with other fats such as butter. Using olive oil in cakes, muffins and cupcakes brings a heightened level of moisture to the bake.

This olive oil cake has such simple ingredients that it's a bit surprising it turns out something so excellent. Trying is believing. The base recipe offers quite a few flavor pivot points for you, starting with your olive oil.

A few things to keep in mind as you prepare:

  1. there's enough olive oil in this recipe that it serves as a major taste factor

  2. be very conscious of the olive oil you use and the flavor you want - light and grassy, peppery, artichoke-y, fruity, olive-y

  3. make sure it's fresh - check by smelling

  4. the sequence of incorporation matters a lot here, because of the ratio of liquids to solids, and requires patience to absorb - for a quick visual on this topic see my video just below.

  5. bake time is a guideline, watch for the center of the cake to be just past "jiggly" and that the edges of the cake are pulling away from the sides.

I have a favorite flavor combination: a fairly acidic orange paired with saffron. The result is something that's floral, earthy and sweet. You won't soon forget the somewhat exotic aromas and tastes. I can't not mention that I, also, LOVE the combination of cardamom and a slightly sweeter orange, such as Cara Cara. The citrus, minty flavor of the cardamom works well with a slightly less acidic citrus.

In the end, you know it's about experimenting. So, it's time to bake! Play with ingredients and flavors, and Happy Bendy Baking!


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Apr 11
Rated 5 out of 5 stars.

I made this cake last weekend and it was so moist and tasty. I don't like cardamom so I used basil and lemon and it was delicious.


Mar 23
Rated 5 out of 5 stars.

Looking forward to trying this, but I'm not sure I have the confidence to try saffron. Doesn't that require its own special preparation? Guess you'd better teach us about that, too!

The Bendy Baker
The Bendy Baker
Mar 23
Replying to

If you get it whole, versus already ground, you can toast it lightly in a pan then grind it. Otherwise no special treatment. It’s amazing.

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