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.

64 Comments

  1. 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.

    Reply
  2. 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! :)

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    • 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!

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  3. 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. =)

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    • 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!

      Reply
  4. 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.

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    • 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!

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  5. 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.

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  6. 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?

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    • 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!

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  7. 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.

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  8. 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!

    Reply
    • 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!

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  9. 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.

    Reply
    • 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.

      Reply
  10. 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.

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  11. 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!

    Reply

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