Orange Scented Olive Oil Cake

One of the books I have been absolutely enjoying for the past few months is The Modern Baker, by Chef  Nick Malgieri. I took a break from baking for almost 4 months and I have to say, it was difficult.

I love to bake, especially cakes, and I missed the process. Getting all the ingredients together, reading the recipes carefully, preparing the pans for the batter, making sure the oven is set properly with the right temperature, expecting that delicious smell in the house, and the best part of all is when the cake is out of the oven, and my children gathered around it with excitement asking me what I have baked this time.



Baking is not hard in my opinion, it just requires a little patience. Measuring is a big component, and quality ingredients are a must. Now the high altitude here in Colorado can really steal the  joy of baking sometimes. During my first 6 months in Colorado, I had five cakes go to the garbage, and a few tears rolling down my cheeks.

The use of olive oil, produces a lighter cake texture, and it is a healthier choice for those who have diet restriction or just are wanting to stay away from the unhealthier  fats. If you never tried baking with olive oil, don’t be afraid… olive oil has been part of  Mediterranean baking for centuries.

I chose to fill and top the cake with some candied oranges, they have a beautiful vibrant color. The filling between layers are oranges slices cooked in a hot sugar mixture. The top layer has very thin slices of oranges, with the peel on, and when they were cooked in the sugar mixture, the peel became very soft.

Orange Scented Olive Oil Cake

Taken from the book the Modern Baker


  • 3 large navel oranges
  • 3 large eggs
  • 2 ½ cups of sugar
  • 1 ½ cups pure olive oil (do not use extra-olive oil)
  • 1 ½ cups milk
  • 2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt


  • Pre-heat oven 350 F, and set rack in the middle level of the oven.
  • In a bowl, zest of 3 grated oranges and add eggs. Whisk until well combined. Add sugar, whisk until the color lighten a bit, about 1 minute. Whisk in the oil and milk.
  • In another bowl, stir together the remaining sugar with the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Add the dry mixture into the wet mixture in three parts, whisk until smooth after each addition.
  • Prepare two 9 inch pans, well-oiled, using parchment paper on bottom. Divide the batter equally between pans.
  • Bake cakes until well risen, deep golden, and firm in the center when pressed with a fingertip. My cake was done in 45 minutes. Cool the cakes on racks for  5 minutes.

It is so nice to be baking again! Do you like to bake? Have you ever had a baking disaster moment, due to high altitude or something else? I would love to hear from you!

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11 Responses to Orange Scented Olive Oil Cake

  1. This cake looks wonderful. But why can’t I use extra virgin olive oil?

  2. Nami: Baking is so much fun, we just have to try it. I am sure you are a good baker! I know you are a great cook:) Enjoy your weekend friend!!!

    Abby: You are so sweet Abby. Thanks for visiting.

  3. Evelyne: You are so right!!! I had to learn quickly that an oven thermometer was a must have when baking.

    Maria Helena: Fazer bolos nos lugares com autas autitudes eh um problema, as resceitas tem que ser ajustadas constantemente.

    Smitha: I am so glad that you know what I am talking about. This cake is a surprising delight. Sooo good!

  4. What a stunning cake! I am a terrible baker, some savory I am OK with, and once I was staying in the mountains for a week. I made a soufflé, not thinking of the altitude differences, since I live at the beach…so sad it was.
    Beautiful. beautiful and I adore olive oil cakes and pasties :) Hope you had a lovely Mothers Day!

    • You are so sweet, thanks! This was my first experience baking with Olive Oil, and the recipe needed no change for high altitude…I was so happy!!!
      I definitely need to try more recipes using olive oil.

  5. Beautiful photos! I am just dying to take a bite of that cake.

  6. 5 cakes went to garbage? Wow I didn’t know altitude makes a big difference. I am a beginner baker (almost not a baker) so 5 cakes probably go to garbage by just trying… or this is my fear talking. This is a gorgeous cake!! I love the orange slices on top. So pretty! So happy to hear from you. :-) Have a great long weekend!

  7. Ana, I am also a huge fan of Nick Malgieri and possess his “Modern Baker”. I have also baked this wonderful cake and couldn’t believe how soft and buttery it was even though it was baked only with olive oil. I just loved the way you have added this extra classy look by topping it with these beautiful candied oranges. Very tempting!

  8. Ana Helena, I am not cake maker, but this looks like something that I could totally try! I love the recipe; presentation and styling look very beautiful as well as your yummy photos!
    Have a great weekend sweetie!

  9. delicious!!!podia me explicar poruqe não

  10. Love a citrus cake with olive oil, I have made this type of recipe in the past. Yeah sucks to adjust baking to altitude…or a new oven. Success this time.