This lemon olive oil cake packs a punch of fresh lemon flavor and poppyseeds in an incredibly soft olive oil cake. Top this simple cake off with a dusting of powdered sugar and watch it disappear!
Just a big ol’ cake loaded down with spring for your Thursday! The countdown is on and the cake is in great abundance.
This isn’t your typical lemon poppyseed cake you buy at Starbucks on the way to work, y’all. It’s like 10x BETTER!
The ace up our sleeve is none other than olive oil. It might sound like a weird addition to cake, but TRUST ME! This cake is going to blow your expectations.
And yes, this is the part where I must share the disclaimer that you WILL eat more of this cake than you intend.
This cake disappeared from my countertop in a matter of two days. That’s TWELVE slices in two days! That’s how good it is.
This Poppyseed Lemon Olive Oil Cake features…
- Tons of lemon flavor from both fresh juice and zest
- Poppyseeds speckled throughout the entire cake
- The most rich, soft cake texture thanks to the olive oil (and a few other tricks)
Making the Poppyseed Lemon Olive Oil Cake
(scroll to the bottom of the post for the full recipe!)
Ingredients You’ll Need
- Eggs – you want your eggs room temperature for this recipe – just let them sit out on the counter 30 minutes.
- Lemon – fresh juice and grated zest.
- Citrus Liqueur – this is optional, but adds a nice extra kick of citrus flavor!
- Poppyseeds – you will need a whopping 3 tablespoons for this cake.
- Milk – I recommend whole milk for this recipe
- Olive Oil – more on that below.
- Basic Baking Ingredients – flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, a pinch of salt, cornstarch, and vanilla.
Choosing Your Olive Oil
I recommend extra-virgin olive oil for this recipe. Regular olive oil will work in a pinch, but you can’t beat extra-virgin here.
And for those wondering, NO you cannot taste any of the olive oil flavor in this cake! The olive oil contributes to the amazing silky, rich texture of this cake, not the flavor.
Tips for Mixing Batter
You will need either a stand mixer or a handheld electric mixer for this cake. The batter requires a lot of heavy + long mixing that is difficult to do by hand!
For this recipe, you will be beating your ingredients in stages. This is super important to build structure and beat air into your batter so you end up with a soft, tender cake.
When adding the olive oil to the batter, drizzle it in slowly while beating so it incorporates fully with the other ingredients and becomes thickened.
How to Serve Cake
We like keeping this cake simple and letting it shine in all its own glory. A simple dusting of powdered sugar is all you need to dress up this cake!
While this cake is delicious fresh, it actually tastes better the longer it sits on the counter! The olive oil makes the texture more soft and tender over a few days.
Just don’t expect this cake to last that long! The rich, moist texture speckled with poppyseeds and boasting a huge punch of lemon flavor is irresistible.
Thick slices of this cake are SO good with a cup of hot tea. Also incredible at like 11pm when you’re craving cake, but I probably wouldn’t know.
If you’ve never tried an olive oil cake before, this is definitely the place to start!
It’s safe to say that I’m a devoted convert and about ready to go bake this cake for the third time this week.
A few more ways to enjoy lemon baked goods!
Poppyseed Lemon Olive Oil Cake
- 3 large eggs, room temperature
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1 tablespoon grated lemon zest
- 1/4 cup lemon juice
- 3 tablespoons Grand Marnier or other citrus liqueur (optional)
- 1/2 cup 2% or skim milk
- 1 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 2-1/3 cups all-purpose flour (spooned and leveled)
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- 1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 3 tablespoons poppyseeds
- Powdered sugar for dusting
- Preheat oven to 350F. Spray the bottom and sides of a 9-inch cake pan with pan spray and line bottom with parchment paper. Set aside.
- Place eggs in a large mixing bowl (or in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with whisk attachment) and beat on medium-high speed about 3 minutes until eggs are thick and yellow.
- Add sugar, lemon zest, lemon juice, citrus liqueur, and milk to egg mixture and beat until smooth. With mixer running on low, slowly drizzle in olive oil until all the oil has been added and mixture is smooth.
- In a large separate bowl, combine flour, cornstarch, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and poppyseeds. Gently fold flour mixture into liquid until batter is just combined.
- Scrape batter into prepared pan and smooth top. Bake cake at 350F 35-40 minutes until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Allow cake to cool completely in pan on a wire cooling rack.
- Once cake is cooled, run a knife around pan edges and invert cake onto a serving plate. Just before serving, dust cake with powdered sugar. Slice into wedges and enjoy!
This post was updated with minor recipe adjustments on 4/6/23.
Kathy Hatter says
Just took this out of the oven. It looks and smells delicious!
This is awesome recipe Sarah! I’m already filling the goodness in my mouth. But can olive oil be swapped with another oil, it’s always difficult getting original olive oil over here.
Thanks for sharing. I love cakes and whole milk a lot.
Hi Amaka! You can substitute vegetable or canola oil in place of the olive oil. Be aware the texture may not be quite the same, but it will still be delicious. 🙂
I never read this kind of cake combination. YOu are shared amazing tips.
Kelly Power says
Looks delicious. I’m sure this is great to have on hand for busy mornings and slow afternoons! Thanks for sharing 🙂
Hope you get a chance to try, Kelly! 🙂
how does the liquid mixture become thick and smooth? A lot of liquids in that first mixture, even after 10 min I couldn’t get it to be thick. Maybe I missed something? thank you!
Hi Louise – the electric mixer beats air into the liquid ingredients which helps it thicken and smooth quite a bit. Did you add the olive oil slowly while using an electric mixer to beat the batter?
I had the same problem as above- mixture just didn’t get thick!
Hi Rose – I’m so sorry to hear that! Did you use an electric mixer to beat the liquid ingredients?
Yes I did- I’m going to try it again but add the lemon juice and liqueur after mixing the eggs and sugar. The cake still turned out pretty delicious though!
You could beat that liquid stuff all day on high and it won’t get thick. Please correct the recipe info so that it works properly – directions were followed to a T and even after 15 minutes the liquid was not thicker than at the start. Medium with whisk attachment? Nah.
Hi Kari! Understood and very sorry about that! We will return to the test kitchen to hopefully figure out what the issue is!
Loved this recipe! Made it for my church group on Thursday and it was a big hit. Didn’t have the lemon liqueur so I added some vanilla instead. Also less poppy seeds because it’s all I had. it turned out moist, lemony, and not too sweet! Perfect for coffee or tea in the morning. I might try the liqueur or more lemon zest next time if I want a zingier loaf, but I think as is it was perfect for breakfast!