Olive oil cake with lemon is an easy, quick and delicious dessert.
On April 19th, 2017 we paid homage to the 15 year release date anniversary of one of the funniest movies of all time; we marked the event with a bundt cake we feel is delicious enough to be called “keiki mori”. If you have seen My Big Fat Greek Wedding, then you know exactly where this is coming from, and why the original cake was adorned with flowers in the center. If you find yourself scratching your head, then pop some corn (or bake this cake), and settle in to watch this inflated (but not too inflated) representation of what growing up with Greek immigrant parents could be like. Trust us, Nia Vardalos, who wrote the screenplay and portrays Toula Portokalis in this movie, will become your new comedy hero.
Movie aside, this cake stands on its own merit. It is a favourite in our parents repertoire of desserts, in part because it contains no dairy, making it perfect for anyone who has a sensitivity to milk and butter. Not overly sweet, but rich with the taste of olive oil and the tang of lemon, this easy cake is a real treat.
This cake is really delicious on the day that it is baked, but even better the next day. This is helpful because it means that you can pre-bake it for a special event (like Wednesday) without worrying that it won’t be at its best when you settle down to eat it a day or two later.
How to make the glaze for the olive oil cake with lemon
Making the glaze is the easy part (Just follow the recipe). The real trick is to be sure that your cake is thoroughly cooled before adding the glaze. If you don’t, the heat from the cake will melt the glaze right off. That is sad. And wasteful. And sad. If you are in a rush and you need your cake to cook quickly, try popping it into the refrigerator for a bit.
Pans which can be used to bake the olive oil cake with lemon.
If you have a bundt cake pan, wonderful. If you don’t, you can pour this batter into 2 loaf pans or a 9 inch round (or square) cake pan. We recommend however that you buy a bundt pan, because then you can stick a flower pot in the middle of your cake, and that is funny. In any case, if you use something other than a bundt pan, be mindful that the baking times may vary slightly. In fact, the baking times may vary even if you use a bundt pan because every oven is slightly different, and every pan is different too. A good rule of thumb is to check this cake after approximately 30 – 35 minutes by inserting a toothpick into it. The toothpick should come out clean, or with a few crumbs clinging to it. If you have wet batter on your toothpick, the cake needs more time in the oven.
You may find that your cake does not look exactly like the ours does in the picture. This could be due to the pan that you use. Some pan surfaces just seem to brown the cake more than others. All varieties will be delicious, but on lighter cakes the white glaze may not be as visible. It will still taste wonderful however.
The best way to grease your cake pan.
We find that the best way to grease your cake pan is to use cooking spray. If you don’t have cooking spray, soak a paper towel with some vegetable oil and grease the pan with that.
How to zest your lemons for the olive oil cake with lemon
Prior to zesting the lemons for the cake batter, be sure to wash them thoroughly, and use organic lemons if possible. We like to use a citrus zester to remove the zest from our lemons. This little gadget is easy to use and ensures that you don’t get any of the white pith, which can be somewhat bitter, removed along with the zest. After you mix your batter, be sure that you carefully clean off the paddle or whisk attachment. You would be surprised at how these strands of zest can wrap themselves around the paddle, effectively removing themselves from the batter, which is where they belong.
The recipe for the glaze which follows should be used as a guide. It should result in a glaze which is thin enough to pour over the cake, but not so thin that it flows so quickly that it all slips off the cake. If you need to, make minor adjustments either by adding a bit more icing sugar, or a bit more lemon juice.
In My Big Fat Greek Wedding, the surname of the big fat Greek family is Portokalos, a name which is very similar to the Greek word for orange (portokali). So….to make this keiki mori, even more reminiscent of the movie, try replacing the freshly squeezed lemon juice in the cake recipe and the glaze, with orange juice. We can call this version, The Sequel.
Looking for some more delicious bundt cakes? We think you’d love these:
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Olive oil cake with lemon
- 1 ¼ cup (250 grams) granulated sugar
- 5 large eggs
- 1 tbsp grated lemon zest
- 1/2 cup (125 mL) freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1/2 cup (125 mL) Greek olive oil
- 2 cups (300 grams) all purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon brandy optional
- vegetable oil, or cooking spray to grease the bundt pan
For the glaze:
- 1 cup (130 grams) confectioners sugar (icing sugar)
- 2 tbsp (30 mL) freshly squeezed lemon juice
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Farenheit. Lightly grease a bundt pan.
- In the bowl of an electric mixer beat together the eggs, granulated sugar and the lemon zest. Beat on medium high speed for approximately 5 – 8 minutes, until the mixture is a pale golden colour and quite thick.1 ¼ cup (250 grams) granulated sugar, 5 large eggs, 1 tbsp grated lemon zest
- Add the lemon juice and the olive oil. Beat until well combined.1/2 cup (125 mL) freshly squeezed lemon juice, 1/2 cup (125 mL) Greek olive oil
- In a separate bowl combine the flour, baking powder and salt and mix well.2 cups (300 grams) all purpose flour, 2 teaspoons baking powder, 1/2 teaspoon salt
- Add the flour mixture to the beaten egg mixture and mix until just combined. If you will be using the brandy, add it at this point.1 teaspoon brandy
- Pour the batter into the prepared bundt pan and bake in the center rack of your oven for 35 – 40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
- Once your cake is baked, allow it to cool for at least 15 minutes, in the pan, on a wire rack.
- Then, remove from bundt pan and allow to cool completely.
To make the glaze:
- Whisk together (by hand) the confectioners sugar and the lemon juice. The glaze should be thin enough to pour over the cake, but not so thin that it pours right off the cake. You can easily play around with the consistency by adding more sugar or more lemon juice as required.1 cup (130 grams) confectioners sugar, 2 tbsp (30 mL) freshly squeezed lemon juice
- Pour the glaze over the completely cooled cake.