Rosemary Olive Oil Cake that will start you down an obsessive, hyper-fixated path so tread lightly, which is easy to do when light, fruit olive oil is the base for a cake!
- What is Olive Oil Cake?
- Is This the Kylie Jenner Olive Oil Cake?
- Does the Cake Taste Like Olive Oil?
- Olive Oil vs Butter in Baking
- Is Olive Oil Cake Healthy?
- Ingredients You Need For Rosemary Olive Oil Cake
- Ingredients Notes and Resources
- How to Make Rosemary Olive Oil Cake
- Pro Tips, Tricks, and Technique FAQs
- Ingredients Substitutions and FAQs
- Wine Pairing for Rosemary Olive Oil Cake
- Rosemary Olive Oil Cake Recipe
What is Olive Oil Cake?
An Olive Oil Cake is a cake, wait for it, made with olive oil as the primary fat component as opposed to butter or another vegetable oil.
Because olive oil is a liquid, an Olive Oil Cake comes together in an easy blending method, and usually in one bowl. The cakes are a single layer or baked in a loaf pan. This is why Olive Oil Cakes are my favorite to make. Dump. Stir. Bake.
Other ingredients like a dairy component (milk, buttermilk, yogurt) and eggs sometimes, but not always, make an appearance for texture and aid in leavening. he blending method is forgiving so it's easy to stir in additional flavors in the form of herbs, spices, and chocolate.
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."
Is This the Kylie Jenner Olive Oil Cake?
That exact Olive Oil Cake that Kylie Jenner (in)famously cut into weird shapes, pictured above, was made by a specialty Los Angeles bakery called Little House Confections. The bakery has since closed so the closest you'll get to the Kylie Jenner Olive Oil Cake is making it yourself with this recipe! Minus the celebrity's shock-value cutting method, of course.
Does the Cake Taste Like Olive Oil?
Unless you use a cold-pressed, unfiltered extra virgin olive oil that's intensely aromatic, the olive oil flavor in the final cake will not stand out. Because many olive oils have an inherently citrusy aroma, the cake will taste more like lemon than olive oil, or whatever other "flavor" ingredient you add to the cake like orange, herbs, nuts, or chocolate.
Olive Oil vs Butter in Baking
Aside from the fact that the two ingredients having very different flavor profiles, olive oil and butter render final products with pretty different textures. Olive oil cakes are denser and moister, and stay moist for much longer than cakes made with butter.
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, 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?
Depending on your health needs and dietary considerations, olive oil cake can be health-ier for you than other types of cakes. As mentioned above, olive oil is generally a healthier fat choice over butter and certain other refined oils because it has heart-healthy, anti-inflammatory omega-3 fatty acids.
However, olive oil cakes are not categorically lower in calories nor in sugar than other cakes. If your main health concern is either calorie-count or sugar, then an olive oil cake isn't necessarily healthier.
As far as other dietary concerns, this recipe for Rosemary Olive Oil Cake (without dairy-based garnish or accompaniments) is dairy-free, and it's partially by design because I don't usually keep milk, buttermilk or even yogurt on hand.
Ingredients You Need For Rosemary Olive Oil Cake
Here is a list of the ingredients you need:
- good olive oil, obviously!
- baking powder
- optional garnishes for serving: fresh berries, Greek yogurt or creme fraiche, a drizzle of olive oil, Maldon sea salt
Ingredients Notes and Resources
- Olive Oil. 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.
- Flour. Use any form of wheat flour for Rosemary 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 Rosemary Olive Oil Cake
Pre-heat oven to 350°F. Mince fresh rosemary.
Add minced fresh rosemary to about 2 tablespoons of the sugar and rub with your fingers to release essence from the rosemary.
Beat together eggs and sugar until light and pale yellow.
Add olive oil to eggs and sugar and beat in until well combined.
Mix in rosemary sugar. If using optional lemon juice and/or zest, add here.
Sift flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt into the olive oil mixture and gently fold together until just combined.
Line 9-inch springform pan with parchment paper and spray sides with baking spray.
Pour Rosemary Olive Oil Cake better into parchment-lined pan, gently tap 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 and cool in pan for about 10 minutes. Run a knife around the edge of the pan, then release cake from sides, and cool cake on a wire rack for at least 20 more minutes.
Invert the cooled Olive Oil Cake onto a serving plate or cake stand. Remove the pan bottom, then peel away the parchment liner.
Dust cooled Rosemary Olive Oil cake with powdered sugar.
Garnish cake with Candied Rosemary, slice, and serve.
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 larger 9-inch round cake pan will yield a thinner (flatter) cake, and needs to bake for a shorter 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 Rosemary 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 Olive Oil Cake 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 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 Use Other Herbs Besides Rosemary? Yes! Use any other green herb in the same amounts. I have made this cake with basil and thyme as well, and they both turned out great.
- Can You Use Dried Rosemary for the Olive Oil Cake? Yes, you can use dried rosemary in the cake itself if you do not have access to fresh rosemary. Because dried rosemary is more concentrated in flavor and fragrance, use about half the amount in the cake itself. However, dried rosemary doesn't work for Candied Rosemary.
Olive Oil Cake Recipe Ideas
Why, yes, I do love Olive Oil Cakes, how can you tell?
- Lemon Olive Oil Cake, dairy-free pictured above
- Upside Down Orange Olive Oil Cake is a visually stunning option for Thanksgiving and Holiday gatherings when citrus is in season.
- Chocolate Olive Oil Cake, dairy-free, baked in 8-inch round pan
- Matcha Green Tea Olive Oil Cake
- Upside-Down Cake, Persimmon, Plums, or Blood Orange
- Walnut Olive Oil Cake with Fresh Figs, dairy-free, made with half of the regular wheat flour replaced with "walnut flour," served with fresh figs.
Wine Pairing for Rosemary Olive Oil Cake
My suggested wine pairing for this Rosemary Olive Oil Cake is a late harvest Sauvignon Blanc. Specifically, the Sauv Blanc from Merry Edwards is a sweet dessert wine with notes of "honeysuckle, candied ginger, toasted almonds and lemon meringue," so it's perfect with the flavors in the cake. If you have the bottle open while you're baking, you could even add 2 to 4 tablespoons of the wine along with the olive oil.
Rosemary Olive Oil Cake Recipe
- 3 large eggs
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons fresh rosemary finely chopped
- 2 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon Kosher salt
For Candied Rosemary
- ½ cup sugar
- ½ cup water
- 10 small fresh rosemary sprigs
- superfine sugar for dusting not powdered sugar
Optional For Serving:
- confectioner's sugar for dusting
- Olive Oil Ice Cream
- Preheat oven to 350⁰F. Line a 9-inch springform pan with parchment paper, spray with non-stick cooking spray and set aside.
- Measure about 2 tablespoons of the sugar into a small bowl, add the fresh chopped rosemary, and rub the rosemary into the sugar with your fingers to release the oil and essence from the rosemary.
- 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. Gently stir the rosemary sugar into the batter.
- In a large sieve over the bowl with the liquid ingredients, add the flour, baking powder, baking soda, 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 color. Start testing the cake at 30 minutes. The cake is done when it is golden brown, springs back when touched, and a skewer inserted in the center comes out clean.
- 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 Candied Rosemary.
For Candied Rosemary
- Bring ½ cup sugar and ½ cup water to simmer over medium-high heat. Simmer while stirring until sugar dissolves.
- Add rosemary sprigs and stir gently to coat rosemary sprigs with syrup. I used chopsticks, but you can use small tongs, gently shake to remove excess syrup and place on a cooling rack or something else that will allow excess syrup to drip off the rosemary.
- Dip each sprig into a small bowl of super fine sugar and turn to coat completely. Tap rosemary against side of bowl or shake it gently to get rid of excess sugar. Place coated rosemary on parchment to cool and dry.