Lemon Olive Oil Cake with a Zesty Lemon Rosemary Glaze

by feastonthecheap on March 1, 2011

Mariel here. Last week, I cooked dinner for an editor friend of mine from Epicurious, no pressure or anything. I whipped up Halibut with a Hazelnut Romesco, which was to-die-for – thank God – but it was much pricier than most of my any-given-Monday meals (you can check out her recap of the dish here).  While I’m no stranger to Epicurious, in preparation for our dinner date, I spent a good deal of time perusing their extensive archives and found myself drawn to a recipe for Lemon Olive-Oil Cake from the 2006 issue of Gourmet. A few weeks back, Deb from Smitten Kitchen concocted a Blood Orange Olive Oil Cake that also piqued my interest, so I figured it was high time I took a stab at it.

I settled on the aforementioned Gourmet confection – thanks in part to its “3½ forks” rating – but I wasn’t quite satisfied with the lemon levels. If it’s gonna be citrusy, let’s not be coy about it. I ramped up both the zest quotient and the amount of fresh-squeezed juice and added a tart rosemary-infused glaze that really drives this cake home. It’s fantastic. The ideal treat for a bridal shower luncheon, an afternoon tea party, a formal brunch or a spring dessert. It’s moist and fluffy, sweet yet tart, and the subtly herbed glaze dials up the fresh-factor. I love this cake. I give it a full 4 out of 4 forks and am looking forward to serving this to the next foodie that walks through my front door. I’m thinking next time I’ll try subbing in a grapefruit, just for kicks.

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Lemon Olive Oil Cake with a Zesty Lemon Rosemary Glaze
Serves 8-10

Note: You’ll need a 9-inch springform cake pan and parchment paper, though commentators on Epicurious noted that they also used regular baking/cake pans in a pinch. My advice: use a springform if you have it.

Ingredients for the Cake:
¾ cup extra virgin olive oil – stock
2 Tablespoons of freshly squeezed lemon juice (you’ll need 2 large lemons for this recipe, including the glaze) – $0.50
3 teaspoons lemon zest – above
1 cup cake flour (not self-rising) – $2.99
5 large eggs, carefully separate the whites from the yolks – stock
¾ cup granulated sugar, divided – stock
½ teaspoon salt – stock

Ingredients for the Glaze:
2 Tablespoons of butter, softened – stock
1 cup confectioner’s sugar – stock
1/8-cup freshly squeezed lemon juice – above
3 teaspoons lemon zest, divided – stock
1/8 teaspoon of dried rosemary, crush it between your fingers to “activate” it – stock
Grand total assuming “well-stocked” kitchen: $3.49
Cost per slice: $0.35

Directions for Cake:
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease the sides of a springform with a little bit of olive oil. Cut out a round of parchment paper and place it on the bottom of the pan. Grease the parchment paper.

2. In a small bowl, lightly whisk together the cake flour and and 3 teaspoons of lemon zest. Set aside.

3. In an electric mixer, beat your 5 egg whites with a ½ teaspoon of salt using immaculately clean beaters until foamy (use the whisk beater attachment if you have a Kitchenaid Stand Mixer). Add ¼-cup of granulated sugar by the spoonful and continue to beat until the egg whites hold soft peaks, about 2 minutes. Pour into a clean bowl and set aside.

4. In the mixing bowl you just used to beat the egg whites, beat together the egg yolks and ½-cup of granulated sugar at high speed until thick and creamy, about 2 minutes. Reduce speed to medium and add olive oil and 2 Tablespoons of lemon juice and beat until just combined. Use a wooden spoon to stir in the flour/zest mixture until just barely combined.

5. Very gently fold the egg whites into the yolk/flour batter until fully incorporated.

6. Pour the batter into the prepared springform pan and gently rap the pan against the countertop to release air bubbles. Bake until puffy and golden on top and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean – 35-40 minutes. Cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes then slide a knife around the edges and pop off the springform sides. Continue to cool for another 30 minutes. Once cool, flip upside down onto a cutting board or plate and remove parchment paper. Flip rightside up onto your serving plate.

Directions for the Glaze:
1. While the cake is cooling, prepare the glaze. In the cleaned bowl of your electric mixer, cream the butter on high speed. Gradually add the confectioner’s sugar and 1/8-cup lemon juice alternating between the two on med-high speed. On low speed, stir in 1 teaspoon of zest and the dried, crushed rosemary.

2. Once the cake is fully cool, glaze just the top, letting a bit drip off the side (as pictured above). Sprinkle the top with the remaining 2 teaspoons of zest, if desired.

{ 24 comments… read them below or add one }

Blog is the New Black March 1, 2011 at 8:21 am

Great job- this looks great! The lemon totally transports me to summer. Wishful thinking?


Steve @ HPD March 1, 2011 at 8:44 am

olive oil cake has been on my list for a while … need to stop thinking about it and actually do it!


louise March 1, 2011 at 11:12 am

no pressure, wow- that is a ton of pressure! love that first photo , gorgeous


Katrina March 1, 2011 at 6:39 pm

Yum! I saw a cake just like this last year either in Food Network magazine or Everyday with Rachael Ray and it caught my interest. Looks great. Love the ramped up citrus!


Jessica @ How Sweet March 1, 2011 at 6:43 pm

This sounds absolutely delicious! And it’s beautiful!


Rhonda March 1, 2011 at 6:52 pm

I am in love with all things lemony. I really have been wanting to make this for quite some time, glad you did and upped the lemon and added some rosemary to bring out more lemon. I’m bookmarking this recipe (for a splurge day).


Alison @ Ingredients, Inc. March 1, 2011 at 8:16 pm

omg this looks fabulous! Love your site!


Miss @ Miss in the Kitchen March 1, 2011 at 11:16 pm

Haven’t tried olive oil cake yet, this looks great!


Shaina March 2, 2011 at 10:34 am

Gorgeous! I could use a bit of sunshine over here in the Midwest.


My Man's Belly March 2, 2011 at 6:32 pm

I’m with you. If it’s citrus whatever…it better have a significant punch of citrus flavor. I like the glaze you used on this. It makes for another flavor profile in there.


Lauren March 2, 2011 at 7:52 pm

We did the Smitten Kitchen Olive Oil cake recipe and sub’d in grapefruits and it was fantastic! I highly recommend it :) Just in case you were curious about how it turns out: http://wp.me/p1mmQB-j8


feastonthecheap March 2, 2011 at 7:57 pm

Amazing, thank you for sharing. Will have to make it that way


Mandy - The Complete Cook Book March 2, 2011 at 11:48 pm

I have never baked using olive oil before – sounds heavenly and anything coming from your kitchen is always a hit! The cake looks very moreish.
:-) Mandy


DessertForTwo March 3, 2011 at 11:59 am

This sounds delicious!

Does it bother you that the cake sunk in the middle? I think it would irk me a little, unless Gourmet warned you that it would.


feastonthecheap March 3, 2011 at 12:06 pm

The recipe didn’t say anything specifically, but the image on Epi looked a little sunken so I guess I wasn’t too surprised.


Kelly@TheMeaningofPie March 4, 2011 at 10:11 am

I think this is gorgeous. I actually think the sunken look gives a tempting hint to the consistency of the cake…dense and rich. Then again, I am a sucker for anything with lemon zest. I like that you include the prices of the non-stock items. What a great idea. Lovely post! (found you on stumbleupon)


feastonthecheap March 4, 2011 at 1:56 pm

Glad you found us! We’ll definitely be visiting The Meaning of Pie!- LOVE the name:)


Megan March 7, 2011 at 8:56 pm

I’ve always wanted to try an olive oil cake and this looks like the one!


Aggie Aliberto March 7, 2011 at 9:00 pm

Great receipe! Best yet all the ingredients are staples in my kitchen.
Lemon & rosemary are two of my favorite flavors. It looks amazing.


Carolina March 10, 2011 at 9:57 am

Dinner was divine! Can’t wait to return the favor ;)
And this olive oil cake looks so good. I can’t wait to try it. Thanks for the inspiration.


wendyb964 March 10, 2011 at 7:25 pm

Sounds delicious. I have rosemary and bountiful citrus in the yard. Would make it today but for the rain!


Jenn from Much to My Delight April 2, 2011 at 10:21 am

Oh wow…an editor from Epicurious–that is some pressure! I love that site; it’s kind of the go-to for guaranteed success. That cake looks divine, but I hear you on making the most out of citrus. Go big or go home!


Marielle January 25, 2012 at 3:04 pm

Just had to drop a note saying I love your names… my name is Marielle, and my mum’s name is Marianne! :)


feastonthecheap January 25, 2012 at 3:09 pm

Too funny! Rarely do I meet another Mariel


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