Orange and Olive Oil Cake & Temecula Olive Oil Company

I hate to be Debbie Downer, but I must share some disheartening news with you about olive oil. The extra-virgin olive oil you find at your local supermarket very likely is not extra-virgin at all. It turns out that the USDA doesn’t even recognize classifications such as “extra-virgin.” As a result, bottlers all over the world can blend olive oil with cheaper vegetable oils and sell it for a premium price as “extra-virgin.” If you care to learn more about the widespread fraud in the olive oil industry read this: Slippery Business, The New Yorker, August 13, 2007.

A recent visit to the Temecula Olive Oil Company’s shop forever changed how I think about olive oil. I learned so many incredible things and recorded them all here. In sum, the company is awesome, their olive oil is delicious, and, as with all foods it seems, it pays to know your grower.

Now, about this recipe. I made this cake — a longtime family favorite — using the TOOC’s citrus extra-virgin oil, and never has it tasted so delicious. I didn’t even use fresh-squeezed orange juice (the horror!). As you can see, I baked this batch in my mini springform pans, but a standard 9-inch springform pan works just as well. This cake puffs up a touch when it bakes, and sinks when it cools. It is moist and delicious, perfect with coffee or tea, and only needs a dusting of powdered sugar to make it fit for consumption. 

Note: If you cannot get TOOC extra-virgin olive oil or any other extra-virgin oil you know to be from a credible source, use an olive oil as opposed to an extra-virgin olive oil. I’ve made this cake with e.v.o.o. from the grocery store and the taste is too overpowering. That is not the case, however, with TOOC oil.

A few notes: This cake sinks way down as it cools. Don’t worry. It will still be one of the most delicious cakes you have ever tasted. It is so moist. Also, this is one of those cakes that seems to get better by the day. Don’t be afraid to make it a day early if serving for company.

Orange And Olive Oil Cake

Yield = One 9-inch cake or six 4-inch cakes, Serves 10-12 people

Butter for greasing the pan
1½ cups all-purpose flour
½ tsp. baking powder
¼ tsp. baking soda
pinch of salt
2 eggs
1¾ cups sugar
2 tsp. grated orange zest
2/3 cup freshly squeezed orange juice (the juice from about 2 oranges)
2/3 cup olive oil, such as any made by the Temecula Olive Oil Company, 

Note: If you cannot get TOOC oil or oil you know to be from a credible source, use olive oil as opposed to extra-virgin olive oil.

1. Preheat the oven to 375ºF. Butter a springform pan (or pans) or a 9-inch cake pan. (If using a cake pan, place a round of parchment paper in the bottom of the pan.)

2. Whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.

3. With an electric mixer, beat the eggs until blended, then gradually add in the sugar, beating until thick. The mixture will be pale yellow. In a separate bowl, whisk the zest, juice and oil. Add to the egg mixture in thirds alternating with the flour mixture.

4. Spread batter into pan and bake for about 50 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool on rack for 15 minutes.

5. Sift confectioners’ sugar over top before cutting and serving.


  1. Manggy says

    Ooh, I’ve had lemon olive oil cake before, and it’s so delightfully moist and light. Yours look beautiful; just lemme get my 10 pounds butter together 😉
    I didn’t know that about extra-virgin olive oil (no, I won’t use the acronym); will have to check my labels now, thanks.

  2. RecipeGirl says

    When I saw your first picture, I had to do a double take… it looks like something I took out of the oven last night! I’ll blog about that later… it was much different than yours (but it did have olive oil in it!)

    Thanks for the story about election day cake. The things you never knew?

    And yet another place I’ll have to add to my list of foodie places to visit in SoCal! A trip to Temecula is always a treat if there is wine involved :)

  3. Sharon says

    Thanks for the tip about the olive oil. I see there’s a Temecula Olive Oil shop in SD so I will have to check it out!

  4. Karen says

    This sounds (and looks) great! I’ve already bookmared Temecula Olive Oil Co in my favorites… going to check them out.

  5. blueberryhil says

    Thank you so much for the information about olive oil. I had no idea!

    I would like to reccommend another olive oil producer: Sciabica. They are a wonderful, family run operation based in Modesto, CA. I can personally attest to both the character of the owners and the quality of the olive oil. You can buy their oil at their flagship store in Modesto, at a variety of Northern California farmers markets, or online.

  6. Alice Q. Foodie says

    Those are beautiful Alexandra! I love their olive oil. I discovered it when I stopped by their cute little shop in Temecula a couple of months ago. It’s almost too good to cook with (baking excluded) but so good for salads, etc!

  7. The Food Librarian says

    This is stunning! Just lovely. I have a cup of tea in my hand and want to reach into the computer and grab a piece! :) And the I love election day cake!

  8. Patsyk says

    Wow! I didn’t realize that they could get away with labeling the olive oils that way. Thanks for the info!

    The cakes look adorable! I need to get some mini springform pans!

  9. Bake your cake and eat it too says

    Huh. That is good to know about the olive oil and I have been wondering about that since the other night I made some artisan bread and dipped it in “EVOO” and it was just SO bitter nad overpowering. Now I know why! Thanks! Lovely cakes.

  10. Joe Horn says

    thanks for the link to the article. I’ve heard this before, but never had the chance to do the research. All the more reason to buy local!


  11. The Blonde Duck says

    I’m so glad you said that! That’s terrible that I’ve been buying “good” extra virgin olive oil that’s probably just veggie oil and olive oil! Bah Humbug!

    And the pirate ship would have freaked me out too…

  12. Sara says

    I have always wanted to make an olive oil cake – I even have blood orange olive oil at home, I bet it would be fabulous in this recipe.

  13. Maris says

    I’d never heard of baking cake with olive oil until I started reading food blogs. I definitely need to try this ASAP!

  14. Mama JJ says

    So what’s the difference between using plain olive oil (I don’t have the fancy stuff) and canola oil? I mean, what does the oil do to the cake to make it so special? In other words, if you were to bake two cakes, one with the plain olive oil and one with canola oil, what would the difference be?

    Very interesting info on the olive oil—thanks for tipping us off.


  15. Gigi says

    Great looking cakes Alexandra! And thanks for info on the olive oil. I am bookmarking this recipe for election night. I have a friend whose birthday is Nov. 4th and she does not like icing on cake and this sounds perfect for her!

  16. Grace says

    the debbie downer sketches crack me up. sadly, i’ve never had olive oil cake (or true extra-virgin olive oil, i suspect), but your creations look great. :)

  17. Foodycat says

    I guess you are supposed to have a lot of guests around for the election cake!

    Your cakes look absolutely beautiful.

  18. noble pig says

    What interesting news about EVOO, I would love to try the Temecula Oil, I think I’ll order some. The cake sounds divine.

  19. Bea says

    I love the Temecula Olive Oil Company! We visited with my husband and both our parents last spring–a weekend in Temecula–and it was wonderful! Olive Oil tasting, now that was different. We learned a lot, and bought a few bottles too. The citrus olive oil is AWSOME! A little goes a long way and the smell and flavor are just perfect. Good thing they ship since we now live in DC.

  20. Peter M says

    The NY Times article I know and one should be skeptical of those cheap bottles of olive oil. I use reg. olive oil for cooking, the x-tra virgin stuff for finishing meals or salads.

    I assume you used reg/ olive oil here?

  21. Emiline says

    I didn’t know what about olive oil… thanks.

    I love the stuff, though. Is drinking it wrong? Cause it’s good for your hair, you know.

    Come on! That cake looks amazing!

  22. Jacque says

    LOL, I’m not sure I’ll be getting to that old-fashioned election day cake anytime soon. Sounds interesting though.

    Your cakes sound and look wonderful. How exciting for you to learn about olive oil and to have a reliable source available.

  23. Cassoulet Cafe says

    I will make this tomorrow! (We have company coming over)
    This looks wonderful.

    I am not surprised about the credibility of olive oil ….claims to be EV. I have gotten so many nasty tasting bottles of EVOO over the years. If we can’t get the Temecula, what brand do you recommend?

    And when you say “use olive oil” do you mean the light kind that doesn’t say EV?

  24. giz says

    I would certainly now like to learn more about the olive oil industry.
    Your cakes are beautiful and I love that they’re in small sizes.

  25. eliza says

    mmm…mmm…looks very yummy! it’s so disheartening to hear about the oil, but i guess i need to visit TOO next time i visit CA :)

  26. Natalie says

    This cake was SO good! I used an Australian evoo that I found in my local Harris Teeter called “Njoi”. It was very good, not too overpowering at all. The cake cleared out fast at our election party! :) Ali your recipes are consistently the best! I refer all of my friends to your blog!

  27. Kim says

    I have never had an olive oil cake before though have been tempted. Your version with the organge sounds really good. Love your photos and this is on my must make soon list. Thanks!

  28. Christieann says

    Thanks! I can’t wait to try the Orange & Olive Oil cake. I bake dairy-free and it’s difficult to find recipes that don’t have other weird ingredients in them in place of the dairy.

  29. Savannah says

    I’ve made this twice now since seeing the recipe through Pinterest. It’s now become maybe my favorite cake ever. Great recipe, thank you! :)

    • says

      Savannah! This makes me SO happy. Seriously. It is one of my all-time favorite recipes, too. If you like this recipe, then you have to try this other recipe from the Chez Panisse dessert cookbooks — it’s for an almond torte baked in the same pan, and like the orange and olive oil cake, this one tastes better with each passing day. You also can make it in the food processor. I am hoping to blog about it too. Thanks so much for writing in!

  30. Hina says

    Do you think the type of olive oil I use would affect the texture of the cake? Just on principle, I’m kind of against buying over-priced specialty food items such as olive oil.
    I will however admit to recently spending a pretty penny on a very small bottle of white vinegar from a local company here in Arizona just especially so I can make Zuni Cafe’s roast chicken and bread salad for my husband’s birthday. =)

    • says

      Hina — you do not have to use expensive olive oil for this cake. In fact, if you have olive oil on hand versus extra-virgin olive oil on hand, that might be preferable because some extra-virgin olive oils have a really strong taste. I rarely use the TOOC oils for this cake, though I would say that those bottles are worth the cost — all of the olives are hand picked, and the oils are hand-pressed, and they never heat the oils to extract flavors, and I could go on and on. I do in fact use extra-virgin bc that’s all I have on hand. California Ranch is a great brand found at most grocery stores and is reasonably priced. Hope that helps!

  31. Wendy says

    I made this delicious cake on Monday and my family of 4 polished it off earlier today. I used half (1/3 cup) fresh juice and half (1/3 cup) Gran Torres orange liqueur. Amazing! (I’m also a big fan of Teddy’s Apple Cake. I make it regularly for the Thanksgiving sweets table.) Many thanks and happy holidays.

    • says

      Wendy — I am so happy to hear this because this is truly one of my favorites and one of my family’s favorites. We were up in CT for the holidays, and my mother had made one of these cakes just to have around — the children devoured it, and we tucked in when we were able to. I wish more people would try it. I love Teddy’s Apple Cake as well. Definitely another favorite!

  32. Milda says

    Thank you for this recipe! I made it on a weekend, because we wanted to take it to a party. But guess what, we ate 1/3 of it alone and decided that it’s to good to take it to the party :)
    Im very happy that i found this recipe, because it was already a long time, that a recipe would turn out so wonderfully. Will definetly try other cake recipes.

  33. Dylan Maclean says

    Hi Alexandra. I’ve written before regarding your post for torta caprese, which I thought was a very good recipe :) With this cake, have you ever experimented with adding vanilla extract or almond extract?

    • says

      Hi Dylan! Nice to hear from you. I think either vanilla or almond extract would complement the orange flavor really nicely. I haven’t tried adding either, but I don’t see how it could hurt. Almond sounds particularly good to me, because I think orange and almond are a particularly nice match, but I would just be careful about adding too much. I find the eighth teaspoon of almond extract in the almond torte recipe, to be too much, so I never add it anymore. Obviously you know to be careful when adding extracts, and you know your taste preferences, too, so extract away!

  34. Dylan Maclean says

    I opted for the vanilla and got a nice creamsicle effect. This is a really great cake. Definitely worth the considerable amount of self esteem it cost me after eating half of it in one sitting.

  35. Kim says

    I have a question: I’m thinking of making the smaller cakes – the 4″…how long would you cook those for? The recipe is for 50 minutes. Thanks!

    • says

      I would start checking them after 35 minutes, and then check them every five minutes after that. Gently tap the top with your finger or test with a toothpick — it’s pretty accurate with this cake. Let me know how it turns out. This is one of my favorites!

  36. says

    I made this cake today for my 20th Anniversary and it was amazing! I actually made it in 2 6″ springform pans, so I could give one to my grandfather. I don’t think he’ll be getting any, as I feel it will all be gone by the morning. Thank you so much for this recipe.

    • says

      So happy to hear this Cherie! It is one of my favorites. So moist, always a crowd pleaser. Thinking about making a gluten-free version for a baby shower I am throwing this weekend…hate to change the recipe, but it’s such a good one! THanks for writing in.

  37. says

    Thanks for sharing this recipe. I made it for the third time today. Still as good as ever. I tried it with an orange glaze, which someone suggested last time I made it, and it was an okay addition but unnecessarily sweet. This cake is delicious just the way it is.

  38. Teresa says

    A couple of years back on a trip to California, I paid a visit to TOOC! It was the happiest place on earth. I enjoyed sampling different flavors of olive oil and wanted to purchase everything in the store! It’s a must see in Temecula! This recipe sounds fantastic!

  39. Ladye M. says

    I have fallen head-long in love with this recipe. And was hoping you might hold my hand in converting it to Gluten-Free….
    Your recipe’s are sumptuous.
    I used a Mandarin Olive Oil from Fresh Harvest in Eureka Springs, AR.

    • says

      So happy to hear this! It is one of my all-time favorites as well. As for gluten-free, I have had good success using the King Arthur Flour gluten-free flour mix and C4C. Have you used either of these in your baking? I think this cake would do very well as gluten free.

      • Ladye M says

        Whilst I have heard SO many wonderful things about King Arthur’s Gluten-Free Flour Mix
        I, myself, have not had the pleasure. Mainly, because I live in a wee resort town and quality products are ordered predominantly online.
        At present I am replacing 1 cup (140g) all-purpose flour with 3/4 cup (120g) sweet rice flour and 1 tsp of xanthan gum or finely milled brown rice flour. I have used almond flour, sorghum flour, tapioca starch, and all the popular players that comprise the all-purpose gluten-free options.
        Karen Morgan’s blends are AMAZING!
        And Bob’s Red Mill is easy to gather when we take trips into the big city.
        For me, thee experimentation has been a costly adventure and it is the conversions that I am always having to step into lightly so as to not create waste.
        Thank you for sharing your unrivaled creations, your baking truths and folly, and so much of YOU!

        • says

          Oh Ladye M, thank you, you are too kind! Yes, all of this experimentation does get costly. If you are up for making blends, I really like the Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day gluten free blend:

          I haven’t tried it with this recipe yet, but I have with bread, and I like it. Thank you for sharing the link to Karen Morgan’s blend. So great to learn these things!

  40. Tori says

    Hello! About to make this but I have no oranges for zest (I do have OJ though) Should I just omit the zest, maybe use lemon instead…?

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