Olive Oil Cake

  • Serves

    makes one 9-inch cake

We sampled this dense olive oil cake at the Dalla Rosa Alda during a trip to the Valpolicella region, where it was the signature dessert. It was made with local olive oil and flavored with a house liqueur whose ingredients are secret; but you can substitute the best quality olive oil you can find and Grand Marnier.


  • 1 tbsp. butter
  • 3 cups plus 2 tbsp. flour
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 14 tsp. lemon zest
  • 34 cup quality extra-virgin olive oil
  • 23 cup milk
  • 3 tbsp. Grand Marnier or other sweet citrus-flavored liqueur
  • 1 tbsp. baking powder


Step 1

Preheat oven to 325°. Grease a 3"-deep round 9" cake pan and the outside of a heavy 3"-deep 3" ovenproof ramekin or bowl with butter, then dust with 2 tbsp. of the flour, tapping out excess. Put ramekin or bowl upside down in center of prepared pan. Alternatively, grease an 11-cup bundt pan with butter and dust with flour. Set prepared pan aside.

Step 2

Beat eggs and sugar together in a large mixing bowl with an electric mixer on medium-high speed until pale yellow, about 1 minute. Add remaining 3 cups flour, lemon zest, oil, milk, and liqueur and stir with a wooden spoon until well combined. Add baking powder and stir until thoroughly combined.

Step 3

Holding ramekin or bowl firmly in place, spoon batter into prepared pan around ramekin or bowl or spoon batter into bundt pan, if using, and smooth out top with the back of the spoon. Bake until cake is deep golden brown and a wooden skewer inserted in center comes out clean, about 40 minutes. Transfer cake to a wire rack to let cool completely, in its pan.

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