So the inspiration for this recipe comes again from you guys! Really I should be paying you for this stuff, but seriously don’t ask because I’m not good for it. Anyway, a friend reached out on Instagram (that big beautiful chasm of pretty pictures and wasted time) and asked if I had a recipe for an olive oil cake. Sadly I did not, but pointed her in the direction of one I have admired for a number of years now. Which got me thinking…why don’t I have an olive oil cake recipe? And further to that, why isn’t it a grapefruit and mint olive cake recipe? Like DUH!
Back up a sec. What exactly is an olive oil cake anyway?
Well simply put, it’s a cake made with olive oil. But it’s so much more than that. It’s typically flavored with citrus – which wouldn’t you know it just happens to be in season right this second (if you’re reading this and it’s not precisely 0 degrees with a windchill of -17 then you must be from sometime in the warm and sunny future and for that I say BOOOOOO, but the point is citrus is a winter fruit). And is impossibly moist and tender.
But what I love most of all about this and really any olive oil cake I’ve ever encountered is how it straddles the lines between simple and elegant, dainty and rustic, fancy and yet so subdued with such incredible ease. An olive oil cake would be just as welcome to finish a fancy dinner party as it would be for a mid-afternoon snack. It seems classy and somehow exotic, but really it’s just about as no frills as a dessert can get.
So how do I make an olive oil cake?
Get some olive oil – extra virgin but nothing that’s going to break the bank. Then gather together some citrus (in this case I used grapefruit), eggs, sugar, flour, a couple of basic leavening agents (ie: baking powder and baking soda), and a little hint o’ mint. Stir it all up in a big bowl and then pour it into a greased cake tin. Pop that sucker in the oven and then here is the most important part. DON’T OVER BAKE IT. This is where a lot of cakes go wrong – not just olive oil ones. It should just barely spring back when you touch the top, and if you use a toothpick or a cake tester, it SHOULD have a couple of moist crumbs (but not gloppy gloop) stuck to it when you pull it out of the center. Then glaze it up, or shower it with powdered sugar, or don’t do any of that junk and just slice it up and serve it with a cup of tea, a glass of wine, or perhaps if you’re Fancy with a capital ‘F’, a bit of bubbly.
What if I don’t like grapefruit?
Seriously though, what’s not to like? I get it though, grapefruit can be a bitter pill to swallow if presented first thing in the morning along with a cup of black coffee. But here the bitter factor is really tamped down by the fruitiness of the olive oil and sweetness from the sugar. It’s still a grownup taste, but for sure a proper dessert, and one I’d try before swiping left. However, if you’re an absolute no-go on the grapefruit, any citrus would be great. I’d name them all, but you know.
So…that pretty much settles it. Olive oil cake is on the blog and in the books (what books we’re talking about when we say that I’m not sure, but I’ll go with it). And if someone asks you if you have a recipe for an easy cake that’s still pretty classy – well tell em you’ve got just what they’re looking for. And it’s totally fine if you just pass it off as your own. I’m not mad about it*.
*Of course I’m not mad about it! But I’d be the opposite of mad if you also told your friend how they can come find more delicious treats – ie: send them my way please and thank you!
And if you’re looking for other easy sweet treats
Check these bbs out!
- Cranberry Cornmeal Skillet Cake
- Super Fudgy Peanut Butter Brownies
- One Bowl Chocolate Cake
- No Churn Pumpkin Gingersnap Ice Cream
Grapefruit & Mint Olive Oil Cake
This looks fancy but really all you need is one bowl and one pan to turn out a stellar cake for afternoon tea, a ladies brunch, or a fancy snack.
- Prep Time: 10 Minutes
- Cook Time: 30 Minutes
- Total Time: 40 minutes
- Yield: 8 Servings
- Category: Dessert
- Method: Baking
- Cuisine: American
For the cake:
2 T chopped mint
2 T grapefruit zest (from one large grapefruit)
1 C granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1/2 C grapefruit juice
3/4 C extra virgin olive oil
1 1/2 C all purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
For the glaze:
1/4 C grapefruit juice
1 T honey
2 C powdered sugar
Preheat your oven to 350° F. Line the bottom of a 9 inch cake pan with a circle of parchment paper. Then grease and flour the bottom and sides – using butter or non-stick spray and tapping any excess flour out. Set aside.
In a large bowl combine the mint, zest, and sugar. Rub everything together using your fingers until the sugar resembles wet sand.
Whisk the eggs into the sugar aggressively for about one minute. They should lighten in color a bit. Add the olive oil and grapefruit juice and whisk to combine.
Add the flour and sprinkle the baking powder, baking soda, and salt over evenly over the top. Stir just until no dry flour remains.
Pour batter into prepared pan and bake for 30-33 minutes, or until the cake is light golden brown and springs back when gently pressed in the center. Err on the side of just slightly underbaked. Let cool completely before removing from pan.
To make the glaze whisk together the grapefruit juice, honey, and powdered sugar. Pour over the cake, using a spatula to coax it to the edges.
Use a good olive oil for this, but don’t break the bank and the riper the grapefruit the better. I use pink or red.
Also the glaze is totally optional – the cake is good enough that it totally stands on its own, but people like glaze so…
Speaking of glaze, it should be pourable but not runny. I needed to gently push the glaze to edges so it would slowly drip down the sides. If you need it thicker or thinner you can add more powdered sugar a tablespoon at a time, or more grapefruit juice a teaspoon at a time.
Keywords: olive oil cake, winter citrus dessert, olive oil dessert, easy fancy cake, afternoon tea cake