This simple Italian Lemon Olive Oil Cake is so incredibly moist and tender, and it has the perfect amount of lemon flavor.
This post is sponsored by Klarbrunn.
Lemon Olive Oil Cake
Lemon Olive Oil Cake is a light tasting cake that will definitely leave you wanting more. Everyone in my family loved this dessert, and it’s really perfect for any special occasion (like Christmas!).
If you want something more similar to Starbucks lemon loaf, you could drizzle it with a glaze or top it with some cream cheese frosting after it’s finished cooling on a wire rack.
I’ve partnered up with Klarbrunn to bring you this quick and easy olive oil cake recipe. Lemons and blueberries are one of my favorite combinations, so I thought it tasted absolutely perfect with a can of their Blueberry Passion Fruit flavor. You can find out where to buy Klarbrunn here.
Flour: All-purpose flour combines with other ingredients to create the structure and the light even crumb of this cake.
Sugar: Granulated sugar adds sweetness and combines with the buttermilk to trap moisture in the cake.
Olive Oil: Using olive oil in this cake allows it to bake up higher and fluffier. It also creates a cake that’s very moist (and will stay moist for longer).
It’s very important to use a high quality extra virgin olive oil. You’ll be able to taste the oil a bit, so use one that you enjoy the flavor of – preferably one like you would enjoy on a salad.
Eggs: In this recipe, the eggs are used to add structure and binding power to hold the cake together.
Buttermilk: Using buttermilk makes this cake light and tender. In addition to adding flavor and moisture, it also reacts with the baking soda to create rise.
Baking Soda and Baking Powder: We’re using a combination of baking soda and baking powder to create the rise in this cake. Using a combination allows the cake to rise perfectly.
Salt: Salt acts as a flavor enhancer in baked goods. We’re not adding enough to make the flavor salty, but it does elevate the flavors in the cake. I like to use fine sea salt because it has a less salty flavor than table salt.
Lemon Zest: Lemon zest adds lemon flavor to the cake without adding more acid (like lemon juice does). It’s important to zest the lemon before you juice it, because it’s next to impossible to zest a lemon that’s already been juiced.
Lemon Juice: Lemon juice adds flavor and acid to the cake. It brings a fresh vibrant flavor to the recipe, and it reacts with the baking soda to create rise while the cake is baking. I recommend using freshly squeezed lemon juice (not bottled lemon juice).
Vanilla: Vanilla is added to the cake for flavor, and I definitely wouldn’t leave it out because it adds so much. It tastes much better with pure vanilla extract than it does with artificial vanilla, so I recommend using pure vanilla extract if you can.
How To Make Lemon Olive Oil Cake
Start by whisking together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. (See the recipe card below for the full printable instructions.)
In another bowl, whisk together the olive oil, sugar, and eggs.
Mix in the vanilla, lemon juice, lemon zest, and buttermilk. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients, and mix until just barely combined.
Pour the batter into a greased and parchment paper lined springform pan. Bake uncovered in a preheated oven until the top is golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. See the recipe card below for the full written instructions, including ingredient amounts, cooking times, and helpful tips, etc.
Is It OK To Bake A Cake With Olive Oil?
Olive oil can replace butter in baking for this cake recipe. Whether or not you can bake a cake with oil really depends on the recipe.
Generally, cakes that are meant to be tender and fluffy will work well with olive oil or vegetable oil (and sometimes coconut oil).
It’s also important to choose a cake that has flavors that pair well with olive oil. Even though the flavor of the olive oil isn’t super prominent, it’s still there.
What Does Olive Oil Do To Cake?
If you’re wondering, “Is butter or oil better for cakes?” The answer is, it depends.
Oil acts differently in cakes than butter does. It’s liquid at room temperature, so it creates a much more moist cake.
The flip side of that is that it doesn’t offer the same structure that butter does (since butter is solid at room temperature).
So, it really depends on the cake. It wouldn’t work in place of butter for something dense like this Whipping Cream Pound Cake, but for a recipe like this, where you’re aiming for something with a light and fluffy crumb, it works perfectly.
Do You Have To Use A Springform Pan?
Yes, it’s really important to use a springform pan with this recipe for two reasons.
First, springform pans have taller sides. Since this cake has a lot of rise, you need the taller sides to hold the cake.
Second, because this cake is made with a significant amount of oil, it won’t solidify enough that you can safely invert it to release it from a traditional cake pan. You might get lucky, but you might also end up with a broken cake.
What Happens When You Add Lemon Juice To Cake?
Lemon juice provides flavor, but it also adds acid to the cake. The acid in the lemon juice and the buttermilk reacts with the baking soda to create a rise while the cake is baking, which is what makes it fluffy.
Since the lemon juice does more than just add flavor, I wouldn’t add any more even if you want a more prominent lemon flavor.
To get a stronger lemon flavor, you could either add more lemon zest, or you could add some lemon extract.
Can I Use Meyer Lemons?
I wouldn’t use Meyer lemons in this recipe. Meyer lemons are less acidic than regular lemons, which means that you would need more lemon juice to fully react with the baking soda. I haven’t tested it, so I don’t know how the measurements would change.
What To Serve It With
This citrus olive oil cake is best with a dusting of powdered sugar and some fresh fruit – berries like blueberries, strawberries, and raspberries are my favorite.
It would also be delicious with a drizzle of honey or a confectioner’s sugar glaze. You could even serve it with some lemon curd if you have that on hand!
Keep In Touch
I’d love to hear what you thought of this recipe in the comments or on Instagram! @KeyToMyLime #KeyToMyLime
Click here to pin this recipe for later!
Lemon Dessert Recipes
If you’ve got extra lemons laying around, be sure to try some of these dessert recipes using fresh lemons!
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (spooned and leveled)
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 3/4 cup high quality olive oil
- 3 eggs
- 1 cup buttermilk
- Zest of 1 lemon (2 teaspoons)
- 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- Preheat the oven to 325 F (162 C)*. Grease the sides of a 9 inch springform pan** and line the bottom with parchment paper.
- In a medium mixing bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
- To a large mixing bowl, add the olive oil, sugar, and eggs. Whisk together until well beaten.
- Add in the buttermilk, lemon zest, lemon juice, and vanilla. Mix until well combined.
- Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients. Mix until just combined, scraping down the sides with a rubber spatula as you go. It’s VERY important to not overmix the batter, stop mixing when the flour is just incorporated into the liquid.
- Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Bake uncovered in the preheated oven for 50 - 53 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
- Remove the cake from the oven and allow it to cool completely before removing it from the pan.
*Baking the cake for a longer time at the lower temperature of 325 F will keep the cake from doming and cracking. Baking it at a lower temperature creates a nice smooth surface. If you want to bake the cake at a higher temperature, I’d probably bake it at 350 F 35 - 40 minutes.
**It’s very important to use a springform pan for this recipe. There is a lot of rise with this cake, so you need the higher walls of the springform pan. It also stops you from having to invert the cake to release it from the pan, which I don’t think would work well with this recipe.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 243Total Fat: 13.7gCarbohydrates: 29.1gFiber: 0.5gSugar: 16.8gProtein: 1.6g
Nutrition information isn’t always accurate.
If you love Starbucks lemon loaf, you’ll love this family favorite Italian olive oil lemon cake! You can even try taking it to the next level with the addition of a little rosemary or lavender.