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Citrus Olive Oil Cake

Sunday, October 06, 2013

Recipe adopted from Chef John Bauer via The Wisconsin State Journal.

There are a handful of people out there who shy away from cake for whatever reason (it's too dry, there's too much frosting on it, it's too sugary, it's too unhealthy, etc.).  Whether you fall into this category or not, consider the less known olive oil cake.  Although not as popular in the States as it is in Italy (and other Mediterranean countries), this cake is gaining popularity because it has all the characteristics people are looking for (it has a moist and dense texture to it with a nice semi-crisp crust, it doesn't need frosting, it's lighter than a typical cake, etc.).

I first heard about its existence after talking with Madison-based Chef John Bauer and have been meaning to try it ever since.  Between its texture and light citrus taste, the cake definitely lived up to its expectations.  As mentioned below, all I garnished it with was a light dusting of powdered sugar, but other alternatives include a citrus-based glaze, some fresh fruit, and/or a dollop of whipped cream or mascarpone.


3 large eggs
14 ounces (~2 cups) sugar
12 ounces extra virgin olive oil
10 ounces (~1 1/4 cups) whole milk
2 ounces orange liqueur
2 ounces fresh orange juice
1 tablespoon lemon zest

9 1/2 ounces (~2 cups) all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon kosher salt


Preheat the oven to 350° F.  Grease a 10-inch spring-form pan, line the bottom with a 10-inch diameter round of wax paper, and grease the wax paper.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the  eggs, sugar, oil, milk, liqueur, orange juice, and lemon zest.  In a separate bowl, sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.  Gradually add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients, whisking as you add.  Once a uniform batter is achieved, pour the batter into the spring-form pan, set on top of a rimmed baking sheet, and transfer to the oven.

Bake for an hour or until a toothpick comes out clean.  To prevent the cake from sticking to the pan once out of the oven, carefully run a sharp paring knife around the outer edge of the cake.  Let cool.

You can either slice and eat as-is, or else garnish with a dusting of powdered sugar, a citrus-based glaze, some fresh fruit, and/or a dollop of whipped cream or mascarpone.

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  1. I didn't know that was an Italian thing, but this is the recipe I use: http://www.simplyrecipes.com/recipes/orange_cornmeal_cake/ with an orange glaze (125 g. powdered sugar + 3 Tbsp. OJ) . . . mmm. The cornmeal gives it a nice crunch :)

    1. I noticed several recipes used cornmeal as well. I'll have to try that next time, as well as your orange glaze.