This Matcha Olive Oil Cake takes one of the best flavors from Asian cuisine and combines it with one of the healthiest ingredients in the Mediterranean diet. Because the recipe calls for ingredients you mostly already have, requires only one bowl, and is fairly forgiving and flexible, it will become a go-to recipe in your kitchen! Shall we?
This Matcha Olive Oil Cake is a variation of one of, like, three dessert recipes I actually bake All. The. Time. Olive oil cakes are not only easy to make, but they store well because olive oil keeps the cake from drying out. In fact, one of the best things about Olive Oil Cake is that the flavor and texture gets even better over time.
This version is based on a foundational olive oil cake recipe, then infused with matcha green tea powder. Matcha has an earthy undertone that is a natural complement to the bright herbal flavors of olive oil. The cake is bouncy, beautiful, and subtly sweet.
What is Matcha
Matcha is a Japanese green tea powder made from dried Camellia sinensis tea leaves, which are the same tea leaves used to make regular brewed green tea, white tea, and black teas. However, rather than brewing the dried leaves and drinking the liquid like regular tea, for matcha you whisk the fine powder into liquid and consume all of it. Matcha powder doesn't dissolve.
There are several factors that distinguish matcha from other teas made from the same plant. How the tea plants are grown, which leaves are harvested, when they are harvested, and how the leaves are dried and processed all determine whether tea will be matcha or regular tea. All of these details in the processing of matcha ensures that the vibrant green color is retained in the final product, but more importantly the health benefits.
Like most teas, matcha has a slightly bitter, tannic taste. Different types and styles of matcha can range in flavor from grassy and herbal to almost sweet.
What is Olive Oil Cake?
An Olive Oil Cake is a cake made with, wait for it, olive oil as the primary fat component as opposed to butter or another vegetable oil.
Other ingredients like a dairy component like milk, buttermilk, or yogurt, and eggs sometimes, but not always, make an appearance for texture and aid in leavening. The simple blending method is forgiving so it's easy to stir in additional flavors in the form of herbs, spices, and chocolate.
Here are some of my favorite versions of olive oil cakes:
- Lemon Olive Oil Cake is the foundational lemon version of this cake, dairy-free and baked in an 8-inch round pan
- Orange Olive Oil Cake is the orange version of this cake, dairy-free, baked in a 9-inch round pan and visually stunning with actual orange slices baked into the cake
- Rosemary Olive Oil Cake with Candied Rosemary recipe, dairy-free, baked in 8-inch round cake pan
- Chocolate Olive Oil Cake, dairy-free, rich and chocolatey baked in an 8-inch round springform pan
- Walnut Olive Oil Cake with Fresh Figs, dairy-free, with ground toasted walnuts replacing much of the regular flour
For the Matcha Olive Oil Cake version, you sift matcha powder into the cake along with the dry ingredients. The cake batter turns a shade of green anywhere from a subtle chartreuse to a verdant kelly green depending on the type of matcha you use.
Is This the Kardashians Olive Oil Cake?
That viral tiktok Olive Oil Cake that Kylie Jenner (in)famously cut into weird shapes was made by a Los Angeles bakery that is unfortunately no longer around.
However, most olive oil cakes are essentially the same few ingredients in varying ratios. And based on my research, the Rosemary Olive Oil Cake recipe is a near dupe, down to the dusting with confectioner's sugar and rosemary garnish.
Minus the celebrity's shock-value cutting method, of course.
Does the Cake Taste Like Olive Oil?
The final cake will not distinctly taste like olive oil unless you use a cold-pressed, unfiltered extra virgin olive oil that's intensely aromatic. Rather, the natural flavors that are in the olive oil you choose—citrusy, herbal, peppery—will contribute subtle undertones to the final flavor of the cake. Whatever other "flavor" ingredient you add to the cake like orange liqueur, herbs, nuts, or chocolate will have a stronger flavor in the final cake.
Olive Oil Cakes are usually not overly sweet, so they do best served without a sugary, heavy frosting. A light dusting of confectioner's sugar with some fresh fruit on top is a perfect, simple adornment for visuals.
The cake is generally thought of as a dessert from the Mediterranean cuisines, in which olive oil plays an important role in food and culture. The first time I ever tasted olive oil cake was in an Italian restaurant. I was hooked because unsurprisingly, it was "not too sweet."
Why Bake Cake with Olive Oil vs Butter
Texture and Flavor. Aside from the fact that the two ingredients having very different flavor profiles, olive oil and butter render final products with different textures. Olive oil cakes are denser and moister, and stay moist for much longer than cakes made with butter.
No Advance Prep. Because olive oil is a liquid, an Olive Oil Cake comes together in one bowl without having to wait to soften butter, or wear out your forearms to beat butter and sugar. The cake bakes as a single layer in a cake pan or a loaf pan. This is why Olive Oil Cakes are my favorite to make. Dump. Stir. Bake.
Health Considerations. Generally speaking, olive oil is considered a healthier fat choice over butter because of its omega-3 content, making an olive oil cake a more appropriate choice for people with certain health and dietary needs. However, cakes and other baked goods, even with olive oil, may have other ingredients like sugar, wheat flour, eggs, and dairy, that affect the nutrient density of the final dish. Which brings us to...
Is Olive Oil Cake Healthy
Look, no one's fooling anyone by calling any kind of cake "healthy." However, as mentioned above, olive oil is considered a healthier fat choice over butter because of its plant-based omega-3 content, making an Olive Oil Cake a healthier choice over other cakes and desserts for people with certain dietary or nutritional needs.
However, cakes and other baked goods, even with olive oil, have other ingredients like sugar, wheat flour, eggs, and dairy, that affect the nutrient density of the final dish. This means olive oil cake, though healthier than some other cakes, may not be quite as healthy as say, a bowl of fresh berries for dessert.
As a quick note, almost all of the Olive Oil Cake recipes I've shared so far are dairy-free, and it's partially by design because as a single, child-less, non-baking person, I don't usually keep milk, buttermilk or even yogurt on hand.
Everything else you need for this cake, you probably already have in your refrigerator and pantry. Only nine ingredients!
Health Benefits of Matcha
The extraordinary health benefits of matcha come from its antioxidant content, specifically a catechin called epigallocatechin gallate aka EGCG. This antioxidant is found primarily in green tea, but the powdered matcha form has almost 140 times the EGCG as regular brewed green tea.
Here's how matcha's antioxidants and other compounds can benefit health:
- EGCG has strong anti-inflammatory effects throughout the body, and thus has the capability to prevent and fight a broad range of disease and chronic illness including cancer specifically skin, liver and lung cancers, diabetes, and heart disease.
- Research has shown that EGCG in matcha may reduce blood pressure, cholesterol, and the accumulation of plaque in blood vessels thereby reducing the overall risk of heart disease.
- Studies suggest that EGCG in matcha may help boost metabolism and promote fat oxidation. While matcha alone is not a magic solution for weight loss, it may be a helpful component of a healthy diet and exercise routine.
- Matcha contains L-theanine, an amino acid that is known to promote relaxation and reduce stress. The caffeine in combination with L-theanine in matcha can enhance mental focus and alertness without the jittery side effects that can be associated with high caffeine intake.
- Matcha may aid the liver in detoxification. One study has shown that, 80 people with nonalcoholic fatty liver disease were given either a placebo or 500mg of green tea extract for 90 days. The results of one study have shown that individuals who took a green tea extract for 90 days had significant reduction in liver enzymes, which are a sig of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. Matcha is grown in the shade, which can increase its chlorophyll content. Chlorophyll is believed to support the body's natural detoxification processes by aiding in the elimination of toxins and heavy metals.
Ingredients You Need
Because this Matcha Olive Oil Cake is something I spontaneously decide to make on some random Thursday afternoon, usually as a way to procrastinate, surprise, surprise, I want to be able to bake it right away without having to go to the grocery store to buy additional ingredients. I almost always have flour in the freezer, as well as olive oil, eggs, and almond milk. Of course, I also keep matcha.
Here is a list of the ingredients you need:
- Olive oil, obviously!
- Matcha green tea powder
- Almond milk
- Vanilla Extract
- Baking powder
What Kind of Olive Oil for this Cake
The point of this Olive Oil Cake is the olive oil, so use the best-tasting (to you) extra virgin olive oil you can afford. Though the flavor of the oil will be subtle in the final cake, it's best to go with extra virgin for quality, and an olive oil on the deeper, fruitier side rather than on the intense, peppery side.
Avoid using "light" olive oil for this cake, which refers to the oil's flavor and color, not the calories. Light olive oil has been processed which makes it more suitable for cooking at high heat, but also results in fewer nutrients.
I like this California-grown olive oil, but it's also VERY expensive, so I am saving that for times when I am eating straight olive oil like as a dip for bread, and using this mild, organic olive oil for the cake.
Additional Ingredients Notes and Resources
- Almond Milk: Use plain, unsweetened almond milk, the fewer the ingredients, the better. The one shown in the photos here is a brand with minimal ingredients that I have been using.
- Flour. You can use any form of wheat flour for Matcha Olive Oil Cake. I used this brand of organic, unbleached, all-purpose flour. I have made this cake with half whole wheat flour and as expected, it works perfectly well.
- All other fresh herbs and produce from either the Santa Monica Farmers' Market on Wednesday, or Whole Foods Market when I can't find what I need at the farmers' market.
How to Make Matcha Olive Oil Cake
Pre-heat oven to 350°F. Line a 9-inch springform pan with parchment paper and spray sides with baking spray.
Beat the eggs and sugar until the mixture is foamy and pale yellow in color, about 2 minutes.
Slowly drizzle in the olive oil and continue beating the mixture. Stir in almond milk and vanilla.
In a large sieve over the bowl with the liquid ingredients, add the flour, matcha powder, baking powder, and salt. Sift the dry ingredients directly onto the liquid ingredients.
Gently fold the dry ingredients into the liquid ingredients until just combined. If you are using regular wheat flour, don't overmix.
Pour Matcha Olive Oil Cake batter into pan. Gently tap pan against countertop to pop air bubbles. Bake in 350°F oven for 40 minutes, start checking with wooden toothpick at 35 minutes. Total actual baking time will depend on your specific oven.
Remove cake from oven, run a knife with a thin blade around the edge, and cool in pan for about 10 minutes. Release cake from pan sides, and cool cake on a wire rack for at least 20 more minutes.
Transfer the cooled Matcha Olive Oil Cake onto a serving plate or cake stand. Dust with powdered sugar or frost with a light whipped coconut or regular cream if using. Garnish with fresh fruit.
Tools and Equipment for Matcha Olive Oil Cake
There isn't any special tool or piece of equipment required for Matcha Olive Oil Cake, and in fact, I highly encourage you to skip hauling out heavy stand mixers, or even a hand mixer for this. However, that doesn't mean there are a couple of things that might make this cake easier than it already is to get from pantry to plate.
- 9-inch round springform pan. The recipe here specifies a 9-inch springform pan and it's the one I used because that's the type of pan I have that's the right volume. You can absolutely use a regular round cake pan with minimum 2-inch high sides that's well-greased and lined with parchment paper to make removal easy. You can also use other shaped pans, see below in the FAQ.
- Parchment paper to release the bottom of the cake without ripping off any of the orange slices.
- Produce brush to scrub the peels of the oranges, which are in the cake as both the upside down topping and zest in the batter
- Produce wash to help dissolve the natural waxes on the skins of the oranges
- Microplane grater to zest the oranges
- Glass mixing bowls
Pro Tips, Tricks, and Technique FAQs
- Can You Use a Different Size Cake Pan to Bake the Cake? Yes! Because this Olive Oil Cake is so forgiving, you can use slightly different sized and shaped pans. A slightly smaller 8-inch round cake pan will yield a taller cake, and needs to bake for a longer time. Check the cake at 40 minutes.
- Can You Bake the Cake in a Loaf Pan? Yes! In an 8-inch loaf pan, bake the cake for a little longer. The cake will have a slightly deeper golden "crust" because it's in the oven for longer, but it's still cake.
Ingredients Substitutions and FAQs
The recipe for this cake is called "fool-proof" because it is very forgiving in terms of ingredients and measurement precision. Here are the pro-tips:
- Different Type of Flour? You can use any form of wheat flour for Matcha Olive Oil Cake. This brand of organic, unbleached, all-purpose flour is the one I use. I have made this cake with half whole wheat flour and as expected, it works perfectly well. For gluten-free flours... glad you asked! See next...
- Can You Make it Gluten-free? Yes! Two baking-ready gluten-free flours my gluten-free experts friends have recommended are Measure-for-Measure by King Arthur and Pamela's, both of which you can substitute into recipes 1:1.
- Can You Make it Vegan? If you replace the eggs with an appropriate plant-based egg substitute, the cake will be vegan. That being said...
- Can you Replace the Eggs? I have not yet personally made this Matcha Olive Oil Cake with an egg substitute, either store-bought or something like ground flaxseeds. If you do, please let me know how it turns out!
- Can You Substitute Out the Olive Oil? The point of this cake is olive oil. If you want to use a different oil or melted butter, make a different cake. (That being said, you can absolutely substitute another oil or melted butter in this recipe, it will generally have the same texture, but just taste different.)
Olive Oil Cake Variations and More Recipes
If you, like me, hoard olive oil by the half gallon jugs but can't remember the last time you bought butter—it was probably back during Thanksgiving tbh—olive oil cakes will be your go-to cake. Get this recipe down as a foundation, then try making these variations on Olive Oil Cake.
- Lemon Olive Oil Cake is the lemon version of this cake, dairy-free and baked in a round pan
- Orange Olive Oil Cake is the orange version of this cake, with slices of oranges on the bottom of the pan
- Rosemary Olive Oil Cake with Candied Rosemary recipe, dairy-free, baked in round cake pan
- Chocolate Olive Oil Cake, dairy-free, baked in round pan
- Walnut Olive Oil Cake with Fresh Figs, dairy-free, made with half of the regular wheat flour replaced with "walnut flour".
And yes, I love Olive Oil Cakes, why do you ask?
If you're here for the matcha, bake this Matcha Olive Oil Cake first, then come back and try more of these recipes using matcha!
Matcha Olive Oil Cake Recipe
- 3 large eggs
- 1 cup sugar
- ¾ cup extra-virgin olive oil
- ½ cup almond milk or other plant-based milk
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- ¼ cup high quality matcha powder
- 2 teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
Optional For Serving:
- confectioner's/powdered sugar for dusting
- fresh blackberries, blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, figs, or whatever fresh fruit is in season
- toasted nuts
- whipped coconut cream or yogurt
- Preheat oven to 350⁰F. Line a 9-inch springform pan with parchment paper, spray with non-stick cooking spray and set aside.
- Beat the eggs and sugar until the mixture is foamy and pale yellow in color, about 2 minutes. Slowly drizzle in the olive oil and continue beating the mixture. Stir in almond milk and vanilla.
- In a large sieve over the bowl with the liquid ingredients, add the flour, matcha powder, baking powder, and salt. Sift the dry ingredients directly onto the liquid ingredients. Gently fold the dry ingredients into the liquid ingredients until just combined.
- Pour the batter into the parchment-lined pan. Gently tap the pan on the countertop to pop any large air bubbles.
- Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through for even baking. Start testing the cake at 30 minutes. The cake is done when the edges have just barely begun to shrink aways from the sides of the pan, the cake springs back when touched, and a skewer inserted in the center comes out clean. You cannot tell based on the color of the cake.
- Allow the cake to cool briefly in the pan, then tip out onto a cake rack to continue cooling for at least 20 minutes.
- Dust cake with powdered sugar and garnish with any optional toppings.
My sisters are twins. They're only two years younger, which isn’t a very large gap at the (still) young age we are now, but the age difference between, say, two and four years old is big. The difference between sweet, soft, tiny, two-year-old twin baby girls and a big, fat ugly four-year-old is even bigger. It’s ginormous.
My sisters were small and cute and dressed in adorable, colorful matching little dresses. As they got older, they were pretty, with small faces and round eyes and long, thin arms and legs. They were taller, skinnier, and prettier than your average, and even above-average girl. On the other hand, I was short, stumpy, pale, and what is now popularly known as “plump.” I was dressed in dumpy tomboy cords and unmatching windbreakers. I had a disproportionately large head with a big broad forehead that earned me the nickname “moonface,” from my own family.
When we were little and blissbully ignorant, I never paid much attention, but later on in life when external pressures about appearance start to weigh-in hard, I looked back at pictures of us through the years to the present time and became increasingly aware of how much bigger (and uglier – but that’s kind of a different story) I was than my sisters. Were we really related? Did I really get that unlucky with my parents’ pool of genes? How can my sisters eat a pound of bacon for breakfast, Arby’s Beef n’ Cheddar for lunch, snack all day long on chips and cookies and have a huge steak for dinner, but if I so much as wash my hair with fruit-infused shampoo I gain ten pounds??! My sisters got all the cute skinny genes, and I...I guess I got the brains.
I gave in to those external pressures and did every ridiculous, gimmicky thing I could to look less like myself and more like I was related to my family. It goes without saying that it took a long time of failing before I finally realized that this body wasn’t ever going to get there. I can’t fight what’s natural. I will never be tiny, no matter what I do, and instead of trying to squeeze into a size *ahem* and being miserable when things spill out all over the place and I can’t zip my jeans, I should just rely on my sparkling personality and brilliant mind to get me through life ;)
Cupcakes vs Cake
This is the lesson I pass on to cupcakes. Sometimes, we just have to accept that we’re better when we’re bigger.
Cupcake, honey, you’re never going to be little. You can try to be a cupcake, and at first it may appear that you’re succeeding, but you can’t maintain. Don’t be sad. It’s just not natural for you, and trust me, I’ve seen Dr. 90210 and you definitely do not want to go under the knife. Well, the cake knife, maybe, but not the scalpel. You, cupcake, were born to be big. You can be cute, but it won’t be small-cute. Instead of wallowing and focusing in on what you can’t be, how about we really play up your assets? You’re big. You’ve got a great personality.
And you know how to party.