This is my favorite summer cake recipe! It's perfect on its own or served with whipped cream and fresh summer berries. This Spanish lemon olive oil cake is easy to make and packed with lemon flavor. It's extra moist from the addition of ground almonds. Try it today -- it takes only an hour to make!
My favorite olive oil cakes are moist and rich, usually combined with citrus, and bursting with flavor.
Sometimes I add in fruit like apples or grapes or top my olive oil cakes with glazes and nuts. But usually, I keep them as is -- they're simply perfect without any fancy additions!
This recipe for Spanish lemon olive oil cake is very simple and uses plain Greek yogurt, lots of lemon zest, and ground almonds to make it stand out. It makes the perfect merienda or a quick bite for breakfast.
For more olive oil based recipes, see my guide to baking with olive oil and don't miss my classic Spanish magdalenas recipe.
Key Ingredients: Flour, ground almonds, salt, baking powder, sugar, lemon zest, eggs, lemon juice, Greek yogurt, extra virgin olive oil, and powdered sugar.
Ingredient Notes & Substitutions
- Lemon: The lemon flavor in this cake is intense and delicious! This is due to using both lemon zest and juice in the recipe. Feel free to experiment with other citrus fruits (orange is lovely) but I prefer the classic lemon every day.
- Olive Oil: This is the key to this cake's amazing texture and flavor. Use the best olive oil you can get -- and look for a fruity variety, such as the Spanish hojiblanca or arbequina.
- Flour: I call for cake flour as I think it takes this recipe up a notch, but all-purpose will do fine. Read about the differences here.
- Almonds: I use a portion of ground almonds (also called almond meal or almond flour) in this cake. You can substitute for hazelnut or even walnuts -- or just use more plain flour and omit.
Lemon Olive Oil Cake: Step by Step
The best part of this lemon olive oil cake is how easy it is to make. Here are my step-by-step instructions. For the full printable recipe card with exact measurements, keep scrolling down!
Steps 1-2: Start with a medium-sized bowl. Here you'll combine the flour, ground almonds, salt, and baking powder.
Steps 3-4: Next, in a separate bowl, massage the lemon zest into the sugar. This releases its oils and packs the cake with lemon flavor!
Steps 5-6: Now, in another bowl, start to beat the eggs with the sugar mixture. Mix for about two minutes on medium high, until light and fluffy (the mixture should just about double in size).
Steps 7-8: Once combined, start to incorporate the yogurt and the lemon juice. Beat until everything is combined.
Steps 9-10: Slowly beat in the olive oil to make sure it mixes fully into the batter. When everything is homogenous, start to fold in the flour mixture using a rubber spatula.
Steps 11-12: Fold until everything is evenly mixed and pour into a greased and floured 9.5 inch (24 cm) cake pan. Bake for about 50 minutes at 375°F (190°C). Start checking at about the 40 minute mark, in case your oven runs hot. The cake is done when a toothpick inserted in the center comes out totally clean.
Steps 13-14: Let the cake cool for about 20 minutes or so (tough to do, but necessary!). Then dust with powdered sugar and enjoy!
Recipe Tips & FAQs
Of course! Let the cake cool completely, and then wrap tightly in at least two layers of plastic wrap, followed by one layer of aluminum foil. You can wrap the whole cake or freeze it in individual slices.
Both are great options, although olive oil is arguably healthier. The main difference is flavor and texture. Depending on the olive oil you use, you may taste the unique flavor of the oil in the end result. You’ll also have a moist cake when using olive oil in most recipes.
Olive oil cakes that are made with virgin or extra virgin olive oil have the health benefits of olive oil as opposed to the unhealthy effects from a refined oil or an animal fat like butter. So they are a slightly healthier choice (as well as being vegan and vegetarian friendly).
You can store this cake in the fridge for one week, or on the counter for a few days.
This is one of those cakes that's perfect as-is -- it doesn't need a thing! That said, I love to dust it with powdered sugar. And in the summertime I've also served it with fresh unsweetened whipped cream and fresh berries.
And when there's cake, here in Spain there's also coffee! Don't forget to make a hot café con leche to accompany your snack.
More Delicious Spanish Cakes
- Apple Olive Oil Cake: My favorite cold-weather olive oil cake! When it's apple season I have one of these in my kitchen more often than not!
- Santiago Almond Cake: Spain's famous almond cake is deserving of so much fame. It's the perfect cake with coffee.
- Chocolate Olive Oil Cake: If you're looking for a unique cake recipe that's not too sweet, this is for you!
- Spanish Yogurt Cake: This is one of the most popular cake recipes in all of Spain -- so simple and quick that they call it 1, 2, 3 cake!
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Lemon Olive Oil Cake
- 1.5 cups cake flour (180 g) (all-purpose flour can be substituted)
- ¼ cup finely ground almonds (30 g) (you can pulse raw almonds in the food processor until a powder but not a paste, or buy almond meal or almond flour)
- ¼ teaspoon of salt (1 g)
- 2 teaspoons baking powder (10 g)
- 1 cup granulated sugar (200 g)
- Zest from two lemons
- 3 large eggs
- ¼ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (60 ml)
- Scant 1 cup approx. 220ml of full fat unsweetened Greek yogurt
- ⅔ cup Spanish extra virgin olive oil (160 ml) (I used a fragrant hojiblanca)
- Powdered sugar to top the cake
- Preheat your oven to 375°F (190°C) and then grease and flour a 9 ½ inch (24 cm) cake pan.
- In a medium sized bowl mix together the flour, ground almonds, salt and baking powder.
- Massage the lemon zest into the sugar by rubbing it with your fingers, allowing the sugar to become infused with the zest's flavor.
- In a separate bowl, beat the sugar and eggs on medium high (I use a hand mixer) for about two minutes (the mixture should have doubled in size and lightened in color).
- Now, whisk in the lemon juice and Greek yogurt on a low speed.
- Finally, add the olive oil by slowly drizzling it in while mixing on low.
- When combined, fold in the flour mixture by hand using a rubber spatula. Stop mixing as soon as everything is combined-- you don't want to over mix.
- Pour the batter into the greased and floured cake pan and bake about 50 minutes in a preheated (375°F/190°C) oven (or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out with only a few crumbs).
- Take your cake out of the oven and let cool for at least 20 minutes before removing from the cake pan. Right before serving dust with powdered sugar.
Update Notice: This post was originally published on September 8, 2015, and was republished with new text and photos on June 29, 2021.
What do you think? Are you a fan of this fruity lemon olive oil cake?
Photography by Giulia Verdinelli
I think I did something wrong. Maybe over mixed? It's like the sugar rose to the top (overflowed a bit) and crystallized. And the cake under the crystallized top was completely not cooked. Do you know what I might have done incorrectly? I used the same measurements and ingredients but I did not have a cake pan so I used a 8x8 square glass dish.
I think I know what happened! This is what I read online - DON'T DO IT!!
How do you turn all-purpose flour into cake flour?
When substituting all-purpose flour for cake flour, here's the rule: Use 1 cup of all-purpose flour minus 2 tablespoons and be sure to sift it. Some sources recommend replacing the 2 tablespoons of removed flour with 2 tablespoons of cornstarch. I think the cornstarch did something bad 🙁
We absolutely love this cake! The bake time for me was quite a bit less than 50 minutes; I'd start checking at 30. Just before serving, I spread the top with creme fraiche (with a little lemon zest added) and then covered it all over with fresh blackberries, raspberries and blueberries. What a hit at our party! This is a real winner.
Hi. When you say cake flour do you mean bizcochos or repostería? My neighbour has gave me a recipe for a cake using repostería but I usually use bizcochos. I want to try this one. It looks amazing but I won’t to use the correct flour! Thanks
Can't wait to try this! My hubby doesn't like too sweet desserts, so this sounds perfect. Can I leave out the almond flour and just add 1/4 cup more cake flour or Wondra?
Yes, that is fine!
I did for father's Day .Such a moist cake and flew away very quickly .I tried using orange zest and orange juice ,turned out so soft and tasty .thx
I love how lemony this cake is!!
Not too sweet and it tastes absolutely delicious 🙂
Infusing the sugar with the lemon zest is genius!
Next time I'm trying with orange as you recommend
I used all-purpose and almond flour. Checked at 40 minute mark and took it out at 45 minutes. Couple of almost too dark spots but otherwise OK. Taste was great!
¡Fabulosa receta! Gracias por compartirla. Me trajo lindos recuerdos de las tartas que comía cuando vivía en Barcelona.
Great recipe- I followed it as written, except instead of sugar, I used Truvia. Flavor and texture were excellent. It did get a little bit too brown on top. Next time I will lower the temperature by 25°F.
Can I replace Quinoa flour or Oat flour with all cake flour? Thanks
Never tried it but you should! Let us know.
Can anyone put the ingredients into grams for me please I hate working with cups.
This cake was very moist and delicious! I doubled the recipe to make two cakes for a Spanish themed Christmas dinner. I did make some very slight adjustments: I used vanilla Greek yogurt because that is what I had on hand, I used a local citrus olive oil rather than the Spanish, lastly I used Meyer lemons to play up the citrus olive oil. I made a lemon glaze for one cake and dusted the other with powdered sugar. I just cut the glazed one today (3 days later) and it is still incredibly moist. Also, an important point, I used a 9in round pan for each cake and they were fully done at the 35min mark. My oven temp of 375⁰F matched my oven thermometer so it wasn't too hot. So, word to the wise, check your cake at least at the 30min mark to be sure to gauge your cook time.
I had that exact same issue. I am glad I was in the kitchen because I thought this smells done and when I looked there was 16 minutes left on the timer.
Could I double the recipe and make it in a 9x13 pan, do you think? Or would it be too thick?
Hi Lisa - I would give it a try, the baking time may have to be adjusted of course. Let me know if it works!
what kind of wine would you serve with this almond citrus cake?
Hi there! Definitely a sweet wine (perhaps a cream sherry or a port). A moscatel or ice wine would work too. Enjoy!
I would go with a Late Harvest Reisling with it.
Just made this cake. It's delicious & beautifully moist. However, I can't get the ground almond flavour in it even though I used exact measurements. If i add more next time, would it take away that lovely moistness?
I'd recommend adding a bit of almond extract for more almond flavor. Adding more ground almond might dry it out a bit!
Delicious Cake! I made a version using Chilean Arbosana olive oil and substituted blood oranges for the lemons and it was great. A big hit!
Yum! I would love to try this with both of those ingredients!
Does the cake have a specific name in Spanish? Or is it "español
aceite de oliva pastel"?
No specific name -- but it would be a tarta or bizcocho in Spanish. Maybe something like Tarta de Aceite y Limón... or Tarta de Limón y Almendras (they might not even mention the oil in the title because it's so common)
Such a good recipe, came out super moist! Made it for a Spanish themed party and it was a hit, I had to share the recipe with everyone.
So happy to hear it!
Tried this and it was delicious!!!
Monica @ Wok Like Me
I'm making this for a Spanish themed experimental dinner tomorrow in Beijing! My inspiration came from an upcoming trip to Spain. Can't wait to see how it turns out!
me gustó mucho esta receta. creo que era delicioso y me gustó el sabor. era fácil de hacer también !!
Gracias! Me alegro!
I'm obsessed with olive oil cakes! Can't wait to make this.