Lemon cake with olive oil recipe

(137 ratings)

Our lemon cake with olive oil takes under an hour to bake and has under 350 calories per portion.

Lemon cake with olive oil
(Image credit: OksanaKiian/Getty Images)
Preparation Time10 mins
Cooking Time45 mins
Total Time55 mins
Cost RangeCheap
Nutrition Per PortionRDA
Calories339 Kcal17%
Sugars24.6 g27%
Saturated Fat2.8 g14%
Protein4.5 g9%
Fat17.4 g25%
Carbohydrates40.7 g16%

This lemon cake with olive oil is wonderfully moist and actually improves in flavour after a couple of days. 

Swapping butter for olive oil means this cake has less fat content compared to our lemon drizzle cake. The sponge is lovely and moist and uses the classic combination of orange and lemon. If you only have one of the fruits you can substitute for the other. To make the cake dairy free use a suitable alternative to milk. Try serving the cake as a dessert with a dollop of Greek yogurt and a drizzle of honey or a dash of extra virgin olive oil. 


  • 2 eggs
  • 150g caster sugar
  • Zest and juice of one orange
  • Zest of one lemon
  • 125ml olive oil (not extra virgin)
  • 190g self-raising flour
  • 60ml milk
  • 2tbsp icing sugar




  1. Heat oven to 180C (160C fan, Gas 4). Grease a 20cm cake tin and line with a circle of baking parchment on the base.
  2. Whisk together the eggs and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the zest of the orange and lemon, and the oil and mix until combined. Stir in half of the flour. Stir in half of the milk and orange juice. Stir in the remainder of the flour. Stir in the remainder of the milk and orange juice. Pour into the prepared tin.
  3. Bake for 45 minutes in the middle of the oven or until a cocktail stick inserted in the centre comes out clean and the cake is an even golden colour.
  4. Leave to cool in the tin for 5 mins before transferring to a wire rack to cool fully. Once the cake has cooled completely, dust with icing sugar to serve.

Top tips for making lemon cake with olive oil

This is an easy cake to make ahead but if you still need convincing when it comes to using oil instead of butter in a cake, read our explanation below. We also have tips on how to store the cake and some ideas for topping it with something more exciting than a simple dusting of icing sugar. 

Where should you store lemon cake with olive oil?

You can store the cake in an airtight container in the fridge or on the counter. That’s the benefit of using olive oil in the cake, refrigerating it won’t dry it out. You could top the cake with some yogurt icing for a refreshing alternative to icing sugar or syrup. Use the yogurt glaze recipe from our gluten free banana bread if you’d like some inspiration. 

What is the best oil to use in a cake?

We love the taste of olive oil in this cake but if you prefer something more neutral you can swap for vegetable or sunflower oil. Canola oil, otherwise known as rapeseed oil is another option. Much like olive oil though some rapeseed oils have a delicate flavour. Consider trying a little of the raw oil before baking if you’re not sure what it will taste like in the final cake. 

Is oil or butter better for moist cakes?

Oil-based cakes tend to be more forgiving when it comes to the moistness of the final cake. They also tend to stay moist for longer and generally improve in flavour after a couple of days too. 

In this recipe we recommend using electric beaters to efficiently and thoroughly combine all of the ingredients. If you’re in need of a new whisk or perhaps you’ve never tried an electric one, Food Editor Jessica Dady recommends this set from Kenwood.

Kenwood Hand Mixer - View at John Lewis 

Kenwood Hand Mixer - View at John Lewis 

This lightweight, compact hand mixer will quickly become one of your most used pieces of kitchen equipment. They have five speed settings and also come with dough hooks to make light work of kneading bread or pizza dough. The beaters are made from durable stainless steal and can be washed in the dishwasher. 

For more delicious citrus bakes try our indulgent lemon curd cake. Our lemon cake with poppy seeds is a lighter option at 325 calories per slice, whereas our lemon pound cake has a rich batter made with cream cheese.



Jessica Ransom
Senior Food Writer

Jessica is a freelance food writer, stylist and recipe tester. She previously worked as Senior Food Writer at Future. While at Future Jessica wrote food and drink-related news stories and features, curated product pages, reviewed equipment, and developed recipes that she then styled on food shoots. She is an enthusiastic, self-taught cook who adores eating out and sharing great food and drink with friends and family. She has completed the Level 1 Associate course at the Academy of Cheese and is continually building on her knowledge of beers, wines, and spirits.