Orange Olive Oil Cake — A super soft and moist cake that’s made with olive oil!! Orange zest, orange juice, and Grand Marnier add tons of AMAZING orange flavor to this easy, no-mixer cake that’s unique, refined, and INCREDIBLE!!
Orange Olive Oil Cake Recipe
This easy, one-bowl, no-mixer orange cake is a huge eye-opening kind of cake for me. After blogging for nearly 10 years and making hundreds of cakes, this was my first ever cake made with olive oil. But it won’t be my last because it was supremely soft, tender, and exceedingly moist without being too heavy or dense.
You can literally almost see the moistness oozing from the olive oil cake, but it doesn’t taste greasy and it stays moist for days. I still had leftover cake that I forgot about in the back of my cupboard and a week later that was just as good as the first day, and even more moist. I don’t know how that’s possible but it happened.
I cannot say enough amazing things about this cake. A personal fave of mine for sure.
I have always preferred oil in cake rather than butter. Oil is 100% fat whereas butter is about 80% fat. That extra 20% of fat keeps oil-based cakes softer and moister than butter cakes. You can’t argue with science.
But I personally wouldn’t have known this orange olive oil cake was specifically olive oil based on taste alone. Olive oil has quite a distinct flavor in comparison to canola or vegetable oil and I went into the cake thinking I’d be able to taste the olive oil specifically and prominently but it wasn’t like that. Very subtly, yes, but not distinctly.
What I tasted more than anything was the orange flavor. The cake has orange flavor incorporated three ways: orange zest, orange juice, and Grand Marnier liqueur. I realize it’s a bit of a pricier liqueur, but I highly recommend it here.
The olive oil cake itself if not overly sweet by any means. It would be the perfect cake to serve after a fancier dinner party with equally rich or luxurious food.
I liken this orange cake to cakes served in fancy restaurants. They are never sugar bombs, even the chocolate ones. They are more refined and tend to have unique flavor pairings that you don’t encounter often.
I dusted the cake with confectioners’ sugar rather than making a glaze or frosting and it was perfect. I almost made a glaze with confectioners’ sugar and Grand Marnier and may try that next time but simply dusting the cake with confectioners’ sugar was so fast and easy.
I cannot wait to make this olive oil cake again, especially in the winter for holiday parties and events. It is a talking piece kind of cake rather than just another chocolate cake that we’ve all had a zillion times. Unique and different in the best possible way.
I gave half the cake to some ladies at my daughter’s school and they loved it. Every time I’ve since encountered them, they are all still thanking me for this cake!
What’s in This Olive Oil Cake?
To make this orange olive oil cake, you’ll need:
- Extra-virgin olive oil
- Whole milk
- Orange zest and juice
- Grand Marnier
- Granulated sugar
- All-purpose flour
- Kosher salt
- Baking powder and baking soda
- Confectioners’ sugar
How to Make Olive Oil Cake
This olive oil cake recipe couldn’t be simpler to make! Just whisk together the wet ingredients, then add in the dry.
Turn the batter into a greased and lined 9-inch springform pan. Bake until the orange cake is golden brown and domed in the center, and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean or with a few moist crumbs.
You’ll need to let this olive oil cake cool for a few minutes before turning out of the pan to finish cooling on a wire rack. Dust with confectioners’ sugar just before serving.
What’s the Best Olive Oil to Use in Cake?
I used Trader Joe’s Premium Extra Virgin Olive Oil and while I’m sure the flavor of the cake will change depending on the exact brand and type of oil used, I recommend a quality extra-virgin olive oil here. Something you’d dip bread in, cook chicken in, or use in a homemade salad dressing.
Can I Omit the Grand Marnier?
You only use 1/4 cup in the entire cake, which doesn’t sound like much but it’s also something I wouldn’t skip. It adds a luxurious flavor that is so elegant tasting.
If you don’t drink alcohol for whatever the reason, I cannot say how the cake will taste or turn out if you, for example, just use 1/4 cup water in its place or use an extra 1/4 cup orange juice. Adding more orange juice really worries me more because of the extra acidity in the OJ coupled with the baking soda/powder and I’m not sure what will happen.
My thoughts are that during baking, the potency of the actual alcohol bakes off and what you’re left with is simply the flavor. Again, it’s only 1/4 cup divided between a cake that will easily feed 8 to 10, so each person is maybe getting 1/2 teaspoon. Cough syrup has more.
Tips for Making Orange Olive Oil Cake
First and foremost, you must use a 9-inch springform cake pan for this olive oil cake recipe. Do not make this cake in a regular 9-inch cake pan. Most are only about 1 1/2 to 2 inches deep, and this cake rises to about 2 1/2 to 3 inches on the sides and nearly 4 inches in the center. It will overflow in a regular 9-inch pan.
Also note that if you don’t want to buy an entire bottle of Grand Marnier you can purchase mini bottles that contain about 1/4 cup of liquid. This tip came from a reader who made this orange olive oil cake!
Lastly, this cake bakes in a fairly cool oven for a long duration. Don’t be alarmed if a small circular patch on the top of the cake appears to be burning early on in the baking process. Ultimately, it doesn’t darken much more and when the cake is done, the cake is approximately the same color as the initial dark patch.
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Orange Olive Oil Cake
Orange zest, orange juice, and Grand Marnier add tons of AMAZING orange flavor to this easy, no-mixer olive oil cake that's unique, refined, and INCREDIBLE!!
- 1 1/3 cups extra-virgin olive oil
- 3 large eggs
- 1 1/4 cups whole milk
- 1 1/2 tablespoons grated orange zest
- 1/4 cup orange freshly squeezed juice
- 1/4 cup Grand Marnier
- 1 3/4 cups granulated sugar
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt, or to taste
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- confectioners’ sugar, for dusting
- Preheat oven to 325F, add a circle of parchment paper to the base of a 9-inch springform pan, and spray the parchment paper and the sides of the pan very well with cooking spray; set aside. Do not make this cake in a regular 9-inch cake pan. Most are only about 1 1/2 to 2 inches deep and this cake rises to about 2 1/2 to 3 inches on the sides and nearly 4 inches in the center. It will overflow in a regular 9-inch pan.
- To a large bowl, add the olive oil, eggs, and whisk well to emulsify and incorporate.
- Add the milk, orange zest, orange juice (I was able to get sufficient zest and juice from one large orange), Grand Marnier, and whisk to incorporate.
- Add the sugar and whisk to incorporate.
- Add the flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, and whisk until just incorporated; don’t overmix. The batter in on the thin side; this is normal.
- Turn batter out into prepared pan, place pan on a baking sheet as insurance against a leaky springform pan, and bake for about 70 to 75 minutes. Start checking after 60 minutes since all ovens vary. Cake will be golden browned and domed in the center when done, and a toothpick inserted in the center will come out clean or with a few moist crumbs. **
- Allow cake to cool in the springform pan for about 1 hour before releasing it and allowing the cake to finish cooling on a wire rack.
- Dust with confectioners’ sugar prior to serving.
- Cake will keep airtight at room temp for 1 week.
- **This cake bakes in a fairly cool oven for a long duration, low and slow. Don’t be alarmed if a small circular patch on the top of the cake appears to be burning early on in the baking process. Ultimately it doesn’t darken much more and when the cake is done, the cake is approximately the same color as the initial dark patch. This may or may not happen to you and possibly is just what happens in my oven, but I am pointing it out as nothing to worry about.
- Recipe adapted from Food52
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 583Total Fat: 31gSaturated Fat: 5gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 25gCholesterol: 59mgSodium: 327mgCarbohydrates: 72gFiber: 1gSugar: 52gProtein: 6g
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Originally posted September 14, 2018 and reposted with updated text March 25, 2022.
I have a convection toaster oven, so would I want to lower the temperature and bake at 300 or keep it at 325?
I really do not know what to suggest for a convection toaster oven because I do not have one and I’ve never baked anything like a dessert in anything other than a regular oven.
I followed this recipe as instructed. My oven thermometer read 325 the entire time, but after 80 minutes the cake was extremely moist. Is that the way it’s supposed to come out?
The center seemed raw. I had to bake it another 40 minutes.
Anything that seems raw is probably likely raw, and no, it’s not supposed to be raw when you take it out of the oven. That is unsafe to eat given the eggs in the batter. However I have never had anyone mention this in all of the many comments over the years.
My hunch is that your oven is not quite running as hot as it says it’s running on the dial. Or you potentially under-measured the flour and the batter was much wetter than it should have been. Thanks for trying the recipe.
Easy to follow directions. This cakes was a huge hit and very impressive.
Thanks for the 5 star review and glad that it was a huge hit!
Easy and delicious!
Any chance this can be made in a bundt pan? It seems like the depth would be a good match for the springform. :::crosses fingers:::
I haven’t tested it in a Bundt although I think it would probably work.
This has to be my favorite so far.Easy to make and easier to eat!Try it, you’ll love it.
Thanks for the 5 star review and glad its your favorite so far!
Is there a way to print eclipse without ads covering the text? I understand that is how you are paid for creating these wonderful recipes and I sure enjoy them. Happy baking!
Recipe not eclipse. Lol
Ads aren’t supposed to cover the text of the recipe if you are printing from the recipe card section with the big PRINT button in aqua green. I will mention to my tech team but try that again as it really shouldn’t happen that way. But my apologies if it is.
Hi Averie! I love receiving your recipes in my inbox! I wonder if this orange olive oil cake could be baked into small loaves. I want to add slices of this delicious cake to a dessert tray for a shower. Do you have any advice?
Yes bake in mini loaves like I do this pumpkin bread https://www.averiecooks.com/cinnamon-sugar-pumpkin-bread/
You will have to bake it for I don’t know, I would start with 22-25 mins and see how it looks IF you use those exact 5×3-inch pans I am guessing. Possibly longer since it’s a very dense cake a lower oven temp than many.
You mentioned that if people do not drink alcohol, they may substitute water for the Grand Marnier in your olive oil cake. But when you bake with alcohol, the alcohol evaporates and only the flavor remains. The only time people who do not drink should avoid cakes with alcohol would be those that are iced with an uncooked icing and an alcohol blended in. I have made this olive oil cake several times and it is incomparable. People look for it now, so I dare not disappoint. With the Grand Marnier eliminated, I would disappoint. I just sprinkle with confectioners sugar. Thanks, Averie.
Thanks for the 5 star review and I am glad you love the cake!
I agree with this fully ” But when you bake with alcohol, the alcohol evaporates and only the flavor remains.” There are people however who do not believe this, and will never, and they are steadfast in their antialcohol beliefs, but then write to me wanting to make this cake…so….that is why I write things like that. For them.
I have made this recipe atleast 10 times and I’ve found it tastes best hands down (and I get the most compliments) when I substitute about 1-2 tbs of olive oil with orange infused olive oil. It gives a little more defined orange flavor. I LOVE this recipe!
Thanks for the 5 star review and I am glad you love this recipe and have made it so many times! The orange infused olive oil trick sounds great, I’ll have to try that!
Can I sub oat milk with the same result for someone who is dairy free?
I read through reviews trying to see if anyone else has done this but didn’t see any.
But for those who don’t have a springform pan I made this recipe before and just separated it into two 9” cake pans and it came out perfect and tasted a million times better day 2.
Can I sub oat milk with the same result for someone who is dairy free? = I don’t know, you’d have to try it to know for sure.
That’s great that you made it in two 9-inch cake pans and also yes this cake develops its flavor and gets better the second day!
This is my son’s favorite cake and what he asks for every occasion including his 5th grade graduation. I only use one cup of olive oil and of sugar and I sub the gran marnier for triple sec because it’s what I have in my liquor cabinet. This cake is delicious, flavorful, and always a hit. It’s a great cake for someone that wants something moist without any frosting. Also so easy to make and most people have these ingredients in their pantry so no need to go the store for anything.
Thanks for the 5 star review and I’m glad your son loves this cake! Glad it’s always a big hit and that it’s easy for you to make!
This cake was an expensive fail. After cooking for 70 minutes it was still very jiggly in the middle but the outer rim was firm. I continued to cook for another 10 minutes with no improvement. My oven is very reliable so I know it wasn’t that. Sad to say it went in the trash.
I am thinking you simply needed to cook it longer if it was jiggly. Did you read the Notes below the recipe, specifically with the double asterisk?
Being that the recipe has 140+ reviews with an average of 4.4 5 stars, I assume that basically 90% of people loved the cake and had success with it. Sorry you didn’t.
This cake was a huge hit at our house! Made it for my parents over thanksgiving weekend – reduced the sugar to 1 cup, subbed in non-alc elderflower liqueur diluted in water for gran marnier, and added in some extra zest for good measure. The cake was super moist, and the edges were perfectly browned and subtly crispy. So good and definitely a new staple in our house in winters!
Thanks for the 5 star review and glad this was a huge hit at your house and that the reduced sugar worked fine as well as your very creative swap for the Gran Marnier! Glad this is a new staple for you!
HOLY MOLY THIS IS REALLY GOOD!!!!!! I had orange olive oil on hand since Christmas and I didn’t like the taste in my salad. So I used it in this recipe (no alcohol for religion reasons) and subbed it with the OJ. Its AMAZING!
Thanks for the 5 star review and glad this turned out amazing for you!
Now you can make the lemon version :). https://www.averiecooks.com/lemon-olive-oil-cake/
Seriously these two cakes are some of my favorite of ALL TIME! Glad you love them as much as I do!
I made this cake about a month ago. It was actually a little under baked. But so good. Have never had olive oil cake before. My sister was visiting. We both enjoyed it immensely. Plan to make the lemon olive oil cake next time. I look forward to your emails every day. Thanks.
Thanks for the 5 star review and glad you tried this as well as plan to try the lemon oil cake! Let me know how you think they compare and if you can pick a favorite.
Thanks for being on my email list and for your readership.
This looks amazing! I’m pretty certain. I’m going to need an intervention after making this cake 😉
Haha! It’s one of my faves! This, and it’s lemon version cousin!
Hi Averie I made this cake a few times the last time I omitted the grand marnier & substituted it with extra oj & orange extract. I also used blood orange olive oil, wasn’t sure how it would come out but was delicious . Love ur receipies, stay safe & healthy especially during these trying times
Thanks for the 5 star review and glad this came out great with the substitutions you made, most notably blood orange olive oil. I never knew that was a thing! I am sure it made this cake extra delicious! Safe safe and healthy as well!
Now that we have time to bake this will be one of my quarantine cake recipes to make all the time. Looove this cake. So easy to make that my 6 yo boy was able to do it by himself. We only did half of sugar and sub the orange liquor for almond liquor as I didn’t have the grand manier and it was delish! I’ll make it again with the orange liquor soon! Thanks!
Thanks for the five star review and I’m glad you were able to make it work with less sugar and with what you had on hand and that your 6 year old could make it by himself! Wonderful to hear you’ll make it again!
This cake tastes amazing! I did lower the sugar by half cup. Otherwise followed the directions to a tea and will be making this again! I do have a quick question….I baked it as indicated, toothpick came out clean in all areas I tested. I let it cool as you mentioned, but when it came time to cut it, the bottom seamed dense kind of like compressed, but not wet. Could that be the cooking time? Could it have needed more or a higher temp?
Glad you loved it and will make it again!
As it related to the compressed nature…this is a super dense and moist cake because of the oil and I would attribute the texture simply to that. But if you’re concerned, you could bake for an extra few minute. I would not increase the temp though.
That’s great, thank you. I didn’t mean that you shouldn’t have pop ups, I was meaning more about the placement, and how difficult it is to navigate your site/this page as they are. As the owner of this blog it is something you might not be aware of. I know if this was my blog I would appreciate user feedback. Best wishes to you as well.
I wish I had noticed this before I started baking this cake. But it is only minutes before being done and one of your directions isn’t very clear. You mention the cake needs to cool in the springform pan before turning the cake out on a cooking rack. Where is the cake supposed to cool in the springform pan prior to that? In the oven? Still on the cookie sheet but on the cooling rack? Not on the cookie sheet but on the cooling rack?
If you have your springform pan on a baking sheet like I recommended, I would just put the baking sheet on top of your stove grill and let it be. It doesn’t have to be complicated.
You’re right, it’s not complicated, but since you wrote specific cooling instructions related to other aspects, it’s helpful for your readers to have this mentioned. Also as a user of your site, the pop ups make it very difficult to navigate, the second half (after your blog, but before the actual recipe) of this recipe won’t load for a very long time (I have excellent internet speed and don’t have this issue with other sites). I tried scrolling the comments to find the answer to my question before I posted it and the comments kept disappearing and bringing me farther up the page and made it way more difficult than it needs to be as well. And it was the same issue while trying to comment. I can only imagine how hard it would be for people older than me, like my Mom. Since the point of this site is to create user friendly recipes in an easy to use website, you might like to know.
I try to be as detailed as I possibly can when writing my recipes. In some aspects, I simply assume people know how to cool a cake (just let it be), and don’t spell it out. I will keep this in mind in the future.
As related to ads, I need them to sustain my family and my life. They are necessary in order to provide free recipes to my audience. Best wishes.
I’m giving this a try this evening, with a few minor variations – used some almond flour, and mix of whole wheat and white; and i’m cooking it in th grill ;-)! It’s incredibly imprecise, but I made an olive oil harvest cake last year and it really worked! oh and added some spices too, and a bit less sugar. Will let you knonw what happens!
Good luck making this cake on your grill….wow, that is a bold move. Hope it turns out well for you!
This was my first time even tasting olive oil cake, and it was delicious. The texture was like no other cake – moist and tender all the way through with a nice chew to the crusty top and side edges. I substituted lemon zest, juice, and limoncello, and served with raspberries and blackberries. I forgot to bring the vanilla gelato when I took it to a friend’s house, and while I’m sure it would have been appreciated, it wasn’t missed. Baking 60 minutes worked in my oven. Thanks for sharing this recipe – I’m sure it will become a frequent favorite.
Thanks for the 5 star review and glad you loved this cake! This too was my first olive oil cake and you’re right, it’s like no other cake in terms of texture, moistness, tenderness, just so good. I need to make it again after reading your comment :)
Glad it will be a frequent favorite for you!
Recipe was fantastic. I had a recipe I got while in Italy and I lost it, so I found this one and it was great. Very moist with and light. Pairs amazingly with homemade gelato. I will love to try different versions of this recipe in the future.
Thanks for the 5 star review and glad you love the recipe and compares with Italian olive oil cakes you’ve had! I am sure it would be fantastic with homemade gelato. If you try other versions of it, report back and LMK how they go!
Thanks for the gelato suggestion…What flavor did you pair with the cake? I’m planning on serving the cake with berries and some flavor of gelato, but I’m afraid it won’t be homemade.
sorry! left out my 5 stars!!!!
I absolutely love love this cake! I’ve dropped gooseberries. I ‘ve dropped blueberries. I’ve dropped raspberries. they all have added a tart note to the fruity cake and balanced well with the orange, I have preferred to use Curacao over Grand Marnier
I am glad you love the cake and have incorporated various berries into it as well!
Good to note your preference of Curacao over Gran Marnier.
Excellent recipe! I used Cointreau as I dint have Grand Marnier 😊
Thanks for the 5 star review and I’m glad the Cointreau worked great!
I made this tonight, love it. I was a bit concerned thinking EVOO might be a bit too overpowering. But the cake is so delicious and the sweet smell after 45 minutes of baking is so lovely. Mine took exactly 75 minutes. It is so soft and spongy.
Really wanting to try this cake but need to sub the milk which I am out of. I do have almond milk and heavy whipping cream. Whay would you suggest?
I would use 1 c heavy whipping cream cut with 1/4 cup water. That is just a guess to approximate whole milk. Maybe slightly more water. Play around with it and see how it looks/tastes.
Thank you so much for the great recipe. I used it as a base recipe and made some substitutions – orange juice for milk, applesauce for sugar, half cup oil and half tsp salt. Turned out nicely and hubby loved it.
Thanks for the five star review and I’m glad it turned out great for you with your substitutions.
Going to make this for NYE and am th king to use triple sec for the grand marnier still cheaper!
I hope it turns out great for you!
I thought this cake had great orange flavor and it was very moist. My springform is just too leaky and I haven’t bought another one yet, so I used my 10″ cake pan. Its about the same volume as a 9″ springform but it makes a shorter cake that was done in about 55-60 minutes. I also had the brown spot in the middle of the cake and I’m guessing it has to do with the alcohol used. By the way, for those who don’t want to buy a full bottle of Grand Marnier, it comes in what I call “airplane bottles”; little 50ml bottles that are exactly 1/4 cup.
That is a great tip about the airplane bottles, I never thought of that! I’m glad to hear that you enjoyed this cake and thanks for the five star review. Glad it worked well in the pan that you have and that you didn’t have to go out and buy a springform.
This recipe is a must tried. I was craving for orange cake but I didn’t have all the ingredients on hand so I decided to bake it with what I have. I used avocado oil instead of olive oil, I didn’t have the grand Marnier so I substituted it for orange juice(frozen orange juice to be exact) and I had the other ingredients.i followed up all your instructions.The cake turned super moist and delicious. I’m pretty sure the grand Marnier would give it the extra touching flavor but oh well I couldn’t wait to try this recipe. Thank you so much for sharing it .
Thanks for the five star review and glad it was a winner even without the Gran Marnier. Glad to know it works ok with frozen OJ and avocado oil.
This sounds wonderful. I’ve made one similar with olive oil but you boil the whole oranges skin and all then whiz the lot in the food processor. It’s a fantastic cake too.
I love olive oil cakes! Probably because they’re healthier so I have the excuse to eat more of them :p This cake sounds like a perfect Chinese New Year treat and I can’t wait to make it next year with mandarin oranges! In the meantime, I’m going to try this with the large packet of Meyer lemons in my fridge :)
I’m sure it will be great with the Meyer lemons!
My family isn’t a huge fan of orange flavor, so I used lemoncello, lemon juice, and lemon zest! This was very good and very easy!
Thanks for the five star review and glad this worked out great with lemon! I actually was tempted to make this cake exactly how you did, and went with the orange, but may give it a whirl now too as a lemon version!
Is their another pan one could use?
I have only made it as written and in that pan size and I recommend making it that way so that it will turn out as pictured.
Oh my, you had me at Grand Marnier! Everything tastes a little better with this liqueur in it. And the colour of that cake is phenomenal. Have to save this recipe for later. Thanks for sharing!
E || OH LA LATKES
Hi Averie, Do You you think I could halve the ingredients, if so what would be the approx cooking time? Cheers Lesley
Yes probably you could have them but not sure what pan size to use or what the approx baking time will be.
Love how the crumb is more dense rather super light/airy like many cakes. Looks like an amazing texture due to the high amount of liquid ingredients in the cake! :)
The texture is just amazing and yes it’s definitely more dense and so super moist!
Is the nutritional information for the whole cake or one serving. 4611 is an awful lot of calories I’m hoping that’s an error
The whole cake.
Hello!Wonderful recipes!I`m from Europe. I`m subscribed to you, I have difficulty with the American quantities of products, can you in grams to postUS Customarry- MetricThank you so much!Greeting! Maria
I recommend using an online calculating tool for converting my measurements into the ones you use.
This looks very tasty. I have never used olive oil in a dessert recipe.
I had not either but it was great!
Do you think it would work with gluten free flour?
Not sure since I have only made it as written.
Would it be possible to exchange the olive oil for coconut oil with no problem?
Not sure since I have only made it as written but probably would be okay however that’s just my guess.
Sign me up for a slice! Olive oil cakes are so delicious. I love the texture!
So good!!! My first one but it won’t be my last!
Seeing this cake gives me that late summer/early fall vibe– the texture looks incredible and it sounds delicious (especially with Gran Marnier in it)!
This cake could do well in many seasons….winter because of the citrus and the booze aspect for holiday parties. Or spring/summer because it’s light and bright looking. Honestly, and I make a lot of cakes, I *loved* this cake. A total personal favorite!