Mega Delish Lemon Olive Oil Cake

This Mega Delish Lemon Olive Oil Cake is a one-bowl wonder that is mixed and baked in an hour! It is bright, moist, light and has mega lemon flavor. Feel free to play around with any citrus (or any combination). So delicious to eat that no one will know it was so flipping easy to make!
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side view of the perfect whole slice of lemon olive oil cake

There is no greater celebration of citrus than this MEGA DELISH Lemon Olive Oil Cake! This is one of my favorite cakes to bake because it’s delicious, beautiful, bright, moist and as close to a lemon in cake form as we can get! Better yet, there is nothing fussy or complicated to keep you from your lemony cake cravings stat.

After writing The Cake Book and making a heap of cakes (including this lemon cake that I LOVE), I would have thought I didn’t have another cake in me so soon…but there are just too many delicious cakes out there to be made!

I created this recipe in a similar fashion as the cover cake of The Cake Book (you can find the recipe here!). I wanted it to be quick, super easy, made with minimal ingredients, minimal fuss and have MEGA wow factor. One bite of this gem and I’m hoping you’ll agree that it is soft, tender, moist and LOADED with lemon favor.

A piece of lemon olive oil cake with a fork holding a piece above it

Ingredients in the Mega Delish Lemon Olive Oil Cake

For the Cake Base:

  • Granulated Sugar
  • Lemon Zest
  • Bake Powder
  • Baking Soda
  • Fine Sea Salt
  • Eggs
  • Almond Extract
  • Extra-Virgin Olive Oil
  • All-Purpose Flour

For the Optional (Fabulous) Lemon Glaze:

  • Confectioners’ Sugar
  • Heavy Whipping Cream
  • Fresh Lemon Juice

Why You Should Make This Lemon Olive Oil Cake Right Now!

FLAVOR + TEXTURE

Lemon, lemon and more lemon flavor is loaded into this cake! This cake is perfectly balanced: not too tart and not too sweet. You can’t necessarily taste the olive oil as it’s used mostly for the resulting ultra moist cake (more on olive oil baking below!).

There is a touch of almond extract because the flavor trio of lemon, olive oil and almond is one of my all-time favorites.

The texture of this one-layer wonder is light, moist and fluffy — basically cake dreams.

A bowl with all of the ingredients for lemon olive oil cake

METHOD

One bowl (no mixer) cake heaven! This is one of those dream cakes that is thrown together in one bowl in under 15 minutes. All you need is a large mixing bowl and a whisk.

If you don’t have a whisk, use a fork (that’s what I did in college). Pour the finished cake batter into a classic, 8-inch round cake pan (my favorite is linked below) and you’re 45 minutes from lemon cake heaven!

I do like to cool my cake on rack because that lets the heat escape pretty quickly and the cake will cool down faster.

If you aren’t using the glaze or a dusting confectioners’ sugar to finish the cake (options are outlined below), it is delicious warm just as is.

Pouring olive oil into the lemon olive oil cake batter

BAKER’S TIMELINE

One hour, start to finish! You’ll need about 15 minutes (or less) to throw the cake together, it’s so simple. Bake time is a scant 45-50 minutes. You’ll need additional time for it to cool completely. Patience friend!

If you want to make the cake ahead of time, that’s fine. Because of the olive oil base this cake stays extremely light and moist for several days.

If using the glaze, I would add it the day you are serving (my preference for peak cake enjoyment).

Pouring the lemon olive oil cake batter into a round cake pan

TO SERVE

Fuss-free elegance! I think this cake is perfect fresh from the oven and would be fabulous for brunch, afternoon snack or to finish a delicious dinner. If I’m feeling casual I would leave it with just the sparkling sugar top.

If I want some jazz hands, I would definitely add the glaze. If I’m feeling super extra, I would add a soak before the glaze for a toe-curling amount of bright lemon flavor (you can find a lemon soak here).

The whole baked lemon olive oil cake

Picking Citrus for Your Mega Delish Lemon Olive Oil Cake

You’ll need about 2 to 3 medium (juicy) lemons to make this cake. I only needed two because citrus is so juicy right now. Pick fresh lemons…if they’ve been sitting on your counter and the exterior skin has become hard the flavor will most likely be off; consider getting some freshies.

Feel free to play around with different citrus for this ultra moist cake! It would be wonderful with whatever you have hanging out on your counter, or even a combination of several different citrus fruits (lemon-lime!?).

If you make it with a citrus other than lemon, let me know how it goes in the comments below!

An up close side view of a slice of unglazed lemon olive oil cake

Variations for Your Lemon Olive Oil Cake

You have three options to finish your lemon olive oil cake:

Leave Her Be!

Just before baking we drizzle the cake batter with fresh lemon juice and dust it with sugar. This adds even more lemon depth to the cake and results in a slight crispy lid (that will soften with time). The cake at this point is beautiful as is and gives off the ‘I’m rustic fabulous vibe’. Don’t fuss.

If using granulated sugar you’ll get a smooth, crispy surface over the cake post bake. If you opt for a sprinkling of sparkling sugar or Demerara sugar, then your cake will have more, you guessed it, sparkle!

A fork plunging into a piece of lemon olive oil cake

Dust with Confectioners’ Sugar

If you want that super casual, effortless look, skip the lemon and sugar just prior to baking. Once the cake has completely cooled (and just prior to serving) dust it with confectioners’ sugar.

I definitely recommend a fine-mesh sieve so that you get an even covering. You can jazz this up by placing an 8-inch round paper doilie (such as these) over the top of the cake and then dusting with the confectioners’ sugar so you get a pretty pattern on top. I love this look (you can see something similar I did with letters here).

Go for the glaze!

The glaze really amps up the lemon flavor and turns this cake into a show stopper (and it’s super easy to whisk together) — I hope you’ll try it this way (it’s my fav!)!! xo

A fork holding a piece of lemon  olive oil cake

Soak your cake!
If you want to amplify the lemon flavor of your cake even further, add a mouth-watering lemon soak. You can find the perfect one by clicking here.

Questions About Making This Lemon Cake

Can I use a larger or smaller pan?

If you go up or down in cake pan size you’ll need to adjust the bake time. The only other cake pan I tested it in was this 9-inch cake round and the bake time was about 40-45 minutes. I preferred the 8-inch cake round as the resulting cake was prettier, frankly, and had a higher crown which I thought added a bit of drama to the cake.

What does ‘grease’ your pan mean?

If I say to grease your pan in a recipe, it means I’m leaving the method up to you. If you like to butter your pans when baking cakes, then use butter. If you like to use baking spray, then use baking spray. I highly recommend this baking spray or anything that has ‘quick release’ on the label. I used to avoid baking sprays but I do think the quality has improved over the years. But with this cake, you do you!

Can I use a different citrus?

YES! Get frisky. This would be stunning with lime. Gorgeous with blood orange. I love Cara Cara. Have fun!

Would I be able to make this cake vegan?

This cake is so close to vegan save for the eggs. I have not tested this cake to make it vegan…but I would go the chia or flaxseed egg route if I was testing it. If you make it this way let me know how it goes. For the glaze, you could either omit using the glaze or use unsweetened coconut milk in place of the cream.

I’m allergic to almonds, is there a replacement for the almond extract?

You are welcome to use real vanilla extract in its place or just omit completely.

Can I use a different oil besides olive oil?

Yes, of course. You could also use sunflower or grapeseed oil. I’ve had lots of questions recently about avocado oil. I just bought some and will be testing it in some recipes soon. I am not a huge fan of canola oil, the taste just doesn’t work for me. However, if you have an oil that you like and it works well in baking then I say give it a go…we all have different palates.

Can you taste the olive oil?

I personally cannot taste the olive oil. I used a medium (flavored), extra-virgin olive oil (I use this one here). Olive oil can range from intensely flavored to very mild. I prefer something in the mild to medium range for baking. If I really want to highlight the oil in say a chocolate cake, then I would go for something bolder. Please leave any more olive oil baking questions in the comments below. I love to use olive oil in my baking and I’m happy to chat about it more.

Can I use milk in place of the cream for the glaze?

Absolutely. I like cream because it yields that thick, opaque glaze that looks so dramatic. Use less of the milk to start and add it in small increments as it will make your glaze thinner if too much gets in there.

A side view of a delicious piece of lemon olive oil cake...with the glaze

Your Equipment for Your Lemon Olive Oil Cake

Here is some of my favorite baking equipment used to make this mega delish lemon cake!

*These are the actually products I use in my kitchen when testing recipes!

More Citrus Recipes

Fresh Lemon Cake

Perfect French Meringues with Blood Orange Curd

Foolproof Vanilla Orange Madeleines

Chocolate Orange Meringue Cookies

Chocolate Lemon Tart

Lemony Brussels Sprout Pignoli Pizza

Before you get started, take a peek at my Top 10 Cake Tips for perfect cakes, every time!

Let’s bake a Mega Delish Lemon Olive Oil Cake, shall we?

side view of the perfect whole slice of lemon olive oil cake

Mega Delish Lemon Olive Oil Cake

This Mega Delish Lemon Olive Oil Cake is a one-bowl wonder that is mixed and baked in an hour! It is bright, moist, light and has mega lemon flavor. Feel free to play around with any citrus (or any combination). So delicious to eat that no one will know it was so flipping easy to make!
4.91 from 10 reviews
Print Save Rate
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: Cake
Keyword: Cake, Dessert, Lemon, Olive Oil, Almond Extract
Servings: 8 Servings

Ingredients

For the Cake

  • 1 cup (200 g) granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons (4 g) lemon zest (about 2 lemon)
  • 1 teaspoon (5 g) baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon (6 g) sea salt
  • 2 large eggs room temperature
  • ½ teaspoon almond extract
  • 3/4 cup (168 g) good-quality extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 1/2 cups (203 g) all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup (168 g) water, room temperature
  • 2 tablespoons (28 g) fresh lemon juice (about 1 lemon)
  • 2 tablespoons (24 g) granulated sugar, sparkling sugar or demerara sugar (see note)

For the Fabulous Lemon Glaze

  • 1 ½ cup (180 g) confectioners' sugar, sifted
  • 2 tablespoons (30 g) heavy whipping cream or milk
  • 2 tablespoons (28 g) fresh lemon juice (about 1 lemon)

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 350F (177C) and place a rack in the center of the oven. Grease an 8-inch (20-cm) cake round and line the bottom of the pan with parchment paper.
  • In a large bowl, add the sugar and lemon zest. Using your hands, massage the zest into the sugar.
  • Add the baking powder, baking soda and salt and give the mixture a couple of good whisks to combine. Add in the eggs and almond extract and whisk until the mixture is light and frothy, about 2 to 3 minutes. Slowly add in the oil, whisking until fully combined (set the bowl on a towel to keep it from moving about). Alternate adding the flour and water in two additions, stirring each until just combined.
  • Pour the cake batter into the prepared cake pan, smooth the top, drizzle with the lemon juice, then sprinkle the remaining 2 tablespoons (24 g) of sugar evenly over the cake and bake for 45 to 50 minutes. When done, the top will be puffed and lightly bronzed. After 15 minutes turn the cake out onto a rack to finish cooling. Set a rimmed baking sheet underneath the cooling rack.
  • In a medium bowl, whisk together the confectioners’ sugar, cream and lemon juice until smooth. Pour over the top of the cooled cake; tap the baking sheet on the counter several times to settle the glaze and have it drip down the sides. Store at room temperature in an air-tight container until ready to serve.

Video

Notes

*Feel free to omit the almond extract or replace with real vanilla extract.
*When sprinkling sugar over the cake pre-bake, granulated sugar will mostly dissolve while baking and create a crust (for lack of a better word) over the top. This will soften over time. Both Demerara and sparkling sugar won’t melt and you’ll be able to see the crystals over the top of the cake post-bake. All of these sugars will yield a beautiful cake; wanted to detail the different results of each for you. xo
Thanks for baking with me! Please tag me on social @displacedhousewife #displacedhousewife so I can see your beautiful treats! xo

26 Comments

  • Rachel September 5, 2022 at 8:41 PM

    5 stars
    I don’t make cakes – too hard, too complicated. Always fail. But not with this one! So easy to make and outstanding flavor. Just the right hint of almond. Was a big hit at our Labor Day bbq. Thank you, Rebecca!

    Reply
    • Rebecca Firth September 12, 2022 at 5:54 PM

      Hi Rachel! I’m so happy you liked this cake!! xoxo

      Reply
  • pralinék August 26, 2022 at 12:13 AM

    4 stars
    Thank you!
    Delicious cake.

    Reply
  • Jem April 14, 2022 at 2:19 AM

    Hi! Can I use vanilla extract instead? Thank you!

    Reply
  • Ron Young RN April 9, 2022 at 12:41 PM

    Made today will try tonight! Step #2 instructions is one big paragraph perhaps you could make each step a paragraph. Just hard to follow to make sure your doing the steps correctly!

    Reply
    • Rebecca Firth April 9, 2022 at 6:01 PM

      Hi Ron!! Thank you for the note—I will edit as step two is pretty long. I hope you love the cake! xo

      Reply
  • Evangeline March 9, 2022 at 3:43 AM

    Can’t wait to try this recipe! Can I make it in a loaf tin?

    Reply
    • Rebecca Firth March 9, 2022 at 8:00 AM

      Hi Evangeline!
      I haven’t tested this particular recipe in a loaf tin. If you make it that way, make sure you don’t fill the tin more than 3/4ths full and you’ll need to increase the bake time…anywhere between 50-60 minutes would be my guess. If you make it this way let us know how it goes!! xo

      Reply
  • Maureen Deeley February 19, 2022 at 8:59 AM

    You indicate that the sugar is divided, but don’t break it down in the recipe to two steps? The recipe says “add the sugar…”

    Reply
    • Rebecca Firth February 19, 2022 at 9:20 AM

      Hi Maureen, thank you for catching that! I just fixed it in the recipe. It does not need to be divided. xx

      Reply
  • JESS February 19, 2022 at 6:43 AM

    looks like a LOT of sugar, can it be cut down?

    Reply
    • Rebecca Firth February 19, 2022 at 6:45 AM

      Hi Jess! I haven’t tested it with less sugar. Sugar helps with texture as well as sweetens. You could try with 3/4 cup and see how it goes. If you make it this way, let us know how it turns out! xo

      Reply
      • JESS February 19, 2022 at 6:48 AM

        thank you! I will. I often add liquor like Limoncello to cut the sugar. Have you tried that?
        xo

        Reply
        • Rebecca Firth February 19, 2022 at 6:54 AM

          No, but I love that idea!! Do you use it as a cake soak?

          You can also skip the sugar sprinkled over the top and it would still be fab. xo

          Reply
  • Daisy February 18, 2022 at 5:23 PM

    5 stars
    Wow wow wow! This looks so fresh and light but also the perfect amount of sweetness Citrus season yields the best baked goods. I can’t wait to make it and I so appreciate the one bowl recipes!

    Reply
    • Rebecca Firth February 19, 2022 at 9:24 AM

      Thank you Daisy!! I love a good one-bowl recipe too!! xo

      Reply
  • Jim February 18, 2022 at 4:00 PM

    5 stars
    Yea – another home run. Excessive zest and drizzle – Oh My.

    Reply
  • Joshua B February 18, 2022 at 2:12 PM

    5 stars
    Excellent work as per usual Rebecca. This will have to be my Sunday endeavor, looks amazing. Thanks for the great work

    Reply
  • Morgan February 18, 2022 at 1:27 PM

    5 stars
    Yummm!!! My daughter loves lemon – i want to make this for her upcoming birthday!!

    Reply
    • Rebecca Firth February 18, 2022 at 1:29 PM

      Hi Morgan! This would be the cutest birthday cake!! I hope she loves it! xo

      Reply
  • Sally February 18, 2022 at 12:59 PM

    5 stars
    This looks beautiful! I can’t wait to make it!

    Reply

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