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. 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. 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. 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.

  4. 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!

  5. 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!

  6. 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!

  7. 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.

  8. 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!


  9. 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…

  10. 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.

  11. 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.


  12. 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!

  13. 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. :)

  14. 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.

  15. 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?

  16. 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!

  17. 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.

  18. 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?

  19. 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.

  20. 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!

  21. 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!


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