Olive Oil Cake
It’s not just the flavor of this olive oil cake that wins tasters over; it’s the texture, also. Olive oil cakes are just as rich as their buttery peers, more moist, and don’t leave you with the same heavy feeling.
This cake is lightly spiced and has sweet splashes of vanilla along with the tart pucker of oranges.
I brought this cake to my book club and as they collectively tasted the cake, the group of outspoken women was left speechless for several moments. To say it was hit would be an understatement.
The choice of olive oil can make a big difference in the flavor of the cake. Some olive oils taste highly acidic and citrusy, while others are more smooth and buttery. Be sure that you like the taste of your oil before using it in this recipe.
This cake works like an upside-down cake or upside-down cupcakes. You begin by placing thin orange slices at the bottom of your cake pan in a pool of melted butter and brown sugar and invert when the cake is done (more on that in a bit). You won’t have to peel the oranges because their skins soften up and taste almost caramelized after the bake.
After placing orange slices, thoroughly grease your cake pan and pour cake batter on top of the orange slices. The cake doesn’t rise much, so the batter will come almost to the top of the pan.
After baking, remove the cake from the oven and wait about ten minutes before you invert it. If you wait too long, the orange topping will harden at the bottom and will become impossible to remove.
You can store this cake at room temperature for up to five days or refrigerate or freeze it if you can resist eating it all first!
I normally make this cake in an 8″ round pan, but you can also make it as a loaf (I may like it even better that way!). Here’s a version I made in a loaf pan using blood oranges.
Olive Oil Cake
Orange Topping Ingredients
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter cut into small pieces
- 4.5 tablespoons brown sugar
- 1 small orange washed and thinly sliced
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon ground cardamom Add an extra two teaspoons for a stronger cardamom flavor or replace with other spices if you you prefer those flavors.
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 4 large eggs
- 1/4 cup whole milk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 3/4 cup olive oil
- 1 tablespoon orange zest zest of about one large orange
Orange Topping Instructions
- Preheat oven to 350 F.
- Place butter and brown sugar into the bottom of an 8" round cake pan and place into the oven for about 5 minutes or until the sugar and butter are melted. Swirl the pan to evenly distribute the melted ingredients over the bottom.
- Quickly arrange orange slices on the melted butter/sugar - a little overlap is fine.
- Thoroughly grease the pan.
- In a small mixing bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, salt, and cardamom.
- In a medium-sized mixing bowl, beat sugar and eggs until thick and pale yellow.
- Mix in milk and vanilla until just combined.
- Add in olive oil a little bit at a time until just combined.
- Mix in dry ingredients a little bit at a time until just combined.
- Fold in orange zest.
- Pour batter over oranges.
- Bake for 60 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. 40 minutes into the bake, check to see if the top is getting overly brown. If so, cover with foil for the remainder of the bake.
- Remove from the oven and cool for 10 minutes before inverting onto a board. Transfer to a cooling rack.
- When cool, slice and serve.
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