Home Cooking: Olive Oil Orange Cake

(photo credit: splendidtable.org)

I love when I find a new recipes that use ingredients I have on hand, or at least mostly on hand. This yummy cake is one of those recipes. Oranges are something we usually have on hand, especially this time of year, but they now can be found in supermarkets year round. We’re seeing local oranges and other citrus now at our local farmers’ market, and by the end of this month we’ll have our own fresh, sweet oranges coming from the tree in our yard. Everything else needed to make this cake is a pantry staple.

The recipe comes from Melissa D’Arabian, from her show Ten Dollar Dinners (she was the 2009 winner of Food Network Star). I used to try and catch the show as much as possible as her recipes and menus were usually right up my alley, and the show was often on when I was watching our neighbor’s dog across the street back in Portland.

I had never thought of using olive oil in a cake but this one was a delicious success with our family and continues to be a favorite. It’s very moist, lightly flavored with orange, and the olive oil gives it body and a distinctive (and delicious) flavor. The only things I’ve changed are to substitute whole wheat pastry flour for part of the all-purpose flour, and increase the amount of orange juice called for from three tablespoons to four, and the zest from one tablespoon to two because often the oranges I use produce that much juice and zest! Online reviews for the cake have mentioned however that without a little extra juice, the cake might be a little dry. I usually also end up baking the cake a little longer than called for (about five minutes more, I think) as the middle is sometimes not set at the called-for time. I have never used the confectioner’s sugar at the end, but think it looks pretty.


  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour (I used 3/4 cup unbleached, and 1/2 cup whole wheat pastry flour)
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • juice and zest of 1 orange (3-4 TBSP juice; 1-2 TBSP zest)
  • confectioner’s sugar (optional)

Preheat oven to 350°. Grease a 9″ round or a 9″x 9″ square baking pan.

In a medium bowl, mix together the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside. In another bowl, mix together olive oil, eggs, vanilla, and orange juice. Make a well in the dry ingredients, and gradually mix in the olive oil mixture, adding the zest toward the end; do not over mix. Pour into greased pan and bake for 25-30 minutes, or until the center is set and the cake is a deep golden color. Let the cake sit for 15 minutes, then dust with confectioner’s sugar if desired.


8 thoughts on “Home Cooking: Olive Oil Orange Cake

  1. I have used olive oil in brownies to somehow make it more healthy or less deadly for me…lol.


    1. That is what I LOVE about this cake – it is easy to whip up with what I have on hand. We have an orange tree in our yard, so I am thinking it’s going to be made more frequently in the coming year.


  2. This looks good but I’ve got a question. Can you recommend an affordable brand of olive oil? The kind I was using began tasting more like canola oil than olive oil.


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