Orange-Scented Olive Oil Cake 16.000

Goran Kosanovic for The Washington Post

Dec 1, 2016

This is the one cake that can see you through the holidays: It's easy to assemble and serve, and it freezes well. Pastry chef-instructor and cookbook author Nick Malgieri likes to use pure olive oil rather than extra-virgin here, because it has a less assertive flavor.

You'll need two 9-inch round cake pans with sides that are at least 2 inches high.

Serve with orange slices and a dollop of whipped cream, or a scoop of vanilla ice cream or orange sherbet.

Make Ahead: The cakes can be double-wrapped in plastic wrap and stored at room temperature for up to 1 day or frozen for up to 1 month. Bring to room temperature before serving.


When you scale a recipe, keep in mind that cooking times and temperatures, pan sizes and seasonings may be affected, so adjust accordingly. Also, amounts listed in the directions will not reflect the changes made to ingredient amounts.

Tested size: 16 servings; makes two 9-inch cakes

  • 1 1/2 cups pure olive oil, plus more for the pans (see headnote)
  • 3 large navel oranges
  • 3 large eggs
  • 2 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups whole or low-fat milk (may substitute nondairy milk)
  • 2 1/2 cups flour (spoon flour into dry-measure cup and level off)
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Use some of the oil to generously grease the 9-inch cake pans, then line the bottoms with parchment paper.

Grate the zests from the oranges over a mixer bowl (from a stand mixer), then use a knife to completely cut away the remaining skin and pith from the oranges. Cut the fruit into 3/8-inch-thick round slices; cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.

Add the eggs to the mixer bowl, whisking by hand until well blended. Whisk in 1 cup of the sugar, then seat the bowl on the stand mixer and secure the balloon-whisk attachment. Beat on medium speed for 3 to 4 minutes, until very light. Remove the bowl from the mixer.

Whisk in the oil by hand, in a steady stream, followed by the milk. (You can also do this with the mixer on low speed.)

Stir together the remaining 1 1/2 cups of sugar, the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a separate bowl, then whisk that mixture into the egg mixture in three separate additions, whisking until smooth after each addition.

Divide the batter equally between the pans. Bake for 50 to 55 minutes, until the cakes are well risen, deeply golden and firm in the center when pressed with a fingertip.

Transfer the cakes (in their pans) to a wire rack to cool for 5 minutes. Run a table knife around the edge to loosen the sides, then invert to unmold and turn them right side up again, placing them on the racks to cool completely.

Cut into wedges and serve with the orange slices, plus other accompaniments, as you wish.

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Recipe Source

From pastry chef-instructor and cookbook author Nick Malgieri, who credits the recipe to Fritz Blank, chef-owner of the now-defunct Deux Cheminées in Philadelphia.

Tested by Bonnie S. Benwick.

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