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.
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