Lemon olive oil cake is a deliciously moist and tender Mediterranean style lemon cake perfect with a cup of coffee or tea!


Olive oil cakes are made with olive oil instead of butter or other vegetable oil as the primary fat ~ they have been a special part of celebrating the olive harvest across the Mediterranean. Olive oil adds a subtle fruity flavor to cake, as well as plenty of moisture ~ olive oil cakes stay moist for days!



  • That’s going to depend on the kind of olive oil you use, but generally speaking this recipe won’t produce a cake that tastes strongly of olive oil.
  • ‘Pure’ or ‘regular’ olive oil is what I used and could only barely discern it in the background, which was perfect with the lemon.
  • If you want a stronger taste, you can use ‘extra virgin’ olive oil, which is unrefined and has a bold olive flavor.
  • If you don’t want any hint of olive oil flavor, you can use one of the ‘light’ olive oils on the market now, or any other kind of neutral cooking oil you like.
  • The combination of the lemon, vanilla, and a hint of olive oil makes for a simple but complexly flavored cake.



If you’re a lemon lover like me, you’ve probably made some lemon cakes or desserts in the past that just didn’t deliver on the lemon flavor. It can be a challenge, and I’m always striving to make my lemon recipes sing with that tart lemony flavor you and I love. Sometimes I use lemon extract to achieve that result, but here I’ve used three whole lemons and their zest for an unmistakable citrusy punch, no additional flavoring necessary.


  • Grease your springform pan well, and make sure it’s in good condition. This batter is on the liquid-y side, so you may want to place a large baking sheet underneath your pan to catch any drips. Wrap the bottom and sides of the pan tightly with foil to prevent leaks.
  • Don’t skimp on the lemon zest, make sure you zest the whole lemon and that you get at least 1/2 cup of juice from your 3 lemons.
  • Don’t over-mix your batter once you’ve added the flour or you will get a gummy texture.
  • Allow the cake to cool partially in the pan before attempting to release it. Run a thin butter knife around the edges if it seems like it’s a bit stuck.


Lemon Olive Oil Cake:

  • 1 cup olive oil , see notes in the post about choosing an olive oil for this recipe)
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar, plus 2 tbsp for sprinkling the top
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup lemon juice
  • zest from 3 lemons
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • powdered sugar for dusting, optional


    • Preheat oven to 350F. Prepare a 9" springform pan by greasing the bottom and the sides well, and lining the bottom with a circle of parchment paper. Wrap the outside with foil to prevent leaks.
    • In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the olive oil, eggs, and sugar.
    • Add the vanilla, lemon zest and lemon juice. Whisk briefly to combine.
    • Sift together the salt, baking powder, baking soda, and flour. Alternating with the milk, add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients in a couple of batches. Try not to over-mix at this stage, you just want to combine everything until no streaks of dry flour remain.
    • Pour the batter into the springform pan. Sprinkle 2 tbsp of granulated sugar evenly over the top.
    • Bake for 50-55 minutes. The cake should be risen and starting to turn a bit golden brown on the top. Note: ovens vary greatly and you may need to bake your cake longer to get it done in the center. I recommend laying a loose piece of foil over the top of your cake if yours seems to be getting very brown towards the end of cooking.
    • When cool, dust the top with powdered sugar, if desired.

Recipe from Sue Moran