This Lemon Olive Oil Cake is packed with fresh lemon flavor and topped with a delicious lemon glaze. Olive oil adds moisture and creates a fantastic light and spongy texture. This is an easy cake recipe that you’ll come back to again and again.
I am not usually a fan of lemon desserts but this recipe quickly became one of my favorite cakes ever. This cakes stays moist for days, the flavor is incredible, and it can be served any time of day.
Why you’ll love this recipe
Flavor: Bright fresh lemon flavor from lemon zest and lemon juice with subtle hints of vanilla and olive oil.
Texture: Olive oil makes this cake moist and gives it a fantastic light and spongy texture.
Ease: This recipe comes together quickly and easily and no electric mixer is needed.
Moist for days: This cake stays moist and flavorful for days!
Versatile: Prefer a different citrus flavor? Swap the lemon zest and juice for orange or lime.
*Full recipe below in recipe card*
- Combine lemon zest and sugar.
- Add eggs, oil, lemon juice, and vanilla.
- Alternate adding dry ingredients and milk. Whisking until combined.
- Pour the batter into a 9×2 inch round pan and bake.
I like to cover this cake in a lemon glaze (a combination of powdered sugar and lemon juice). This adds an extra burst of tart lemon flavor. If you’d prefer to skip the glaze you can dust the cooled cake with powdered sugar.
You will need 3 large or 4 small-medium lemons for this recipe.
Use a microplane-style grater to remove the yellow skin/zest from the lemons. Do not grate the bitter white pith.
Since this cake batter is assembled with a whisk it does create some air bubbles. Once the batter is in the pan, tap the pan on the countertop several times to remove air bubbles before baking.
Resist the urge to open the oven or move the cake during bake time. If you let it bake undisturbed it will rise beautifully with a flat top.
Serving and storage
Serving: Serve cake at room temperature for the best texture. Serve as-is or top each slice with lightly sweetened whipped cream and/or fresh berries.
Storage: Store refrigerated or at room temperature. Cake stays fresh for several days.
Lemon Olive Oil Cake
- finely grated zest of 3 large lemons
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 2 large eggs
- ⅔ cup extra virgin olive oil, preferably mild flavored
- ¼ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 ⅔ cup all purpose flour, see note
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ⅔ cup whole or 2% milk
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
- Preheat oven to 350°F with a rack in the center of the oven. Line the bottom of a 9-inch round pan with parchment paper. Grease the pan and set aside. Note: the cake pan should be at least 2-inches high.
- In a large bowl, whisk lemon zest and sugar until combined. Add eggs, oil, lemon juice, and vanilla whisking until well combined.
- In a separate bowl combine, flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Add half the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients, whisking until just combined. Whisk in the milk followed by the remaining dry ingredients, being careful to to overmix.
- Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Tap the pan on the counter a few times to remove air bubbles. Allow the cake batter to sit for another minute or two and then tap on the counter again to remove air bubbles.
- Bake for 35-40 minutes, until golden brown on top and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. It is important not to open the oven during bake time or to move the cake around before it is set (this can cause it to sink in the middle). Remove the cake from the oven and place the pan on a wire rack to cool completely.
Lemon glaze (recipe can be halved for a thinner layer of icing):
- Whisk ingredients until smooth. Adjust the consistency by adding more lemon juice to thin or more powdered sugar to thicken.
- Once the cake has cooled remove it from the pan and add the glaze. I pour it over the top and spread it across the top and down the sides. Allow the glaze to firm up a bit before slicing and serving.
Nutritional Information is an estimate based on third-party calculations and may vary based on products used and serving sizes.