Orange Cornmeal Olive Oil Cake

I have been wanting to make an olive oil cake for a long time. I’ve been reading recipes for months – truly. I had in my mind that an olive oil cake would be dense, simply rich – not heavy rich – flavorful, moist and elegant. I have never eaten an olive oil cake before to my knowledge but I just had in my mind what it would taste like. I really wanted to make one but I was also wary because I didn’t want to be disappointed if it didn’t turn out moist and delicious. Well…Ellie’s visit prompted me (Ellie is my mother-in-law – Alan’s step-mom who is visiting us from Florida. I wrote about her previously). Tonight, Sunday, – Easter Sunday by the way – the kids came to celebrate and visit Ellie and I needed something simple for dessert to serve with the berries. A simple cake. Was it time to try an Olive oil cake? I decided it was. Time to put my studying into practice. I wanted orange. I needed the cake to have some heft – not just white flour – but something earthy and with heft. I just felt like cornmeal was the answer. It was.

Since I’ve been reading recipes for a long time I had a good sense of proportion. I did still need a guideline recipe(s) and I used them all. What I came up with – which is probably someone else’s copyrighted cake recipe – is below. Everyone really loved this cake and it was the perfect simple, but deliciously rich, compliment to the berries (and ice cream…)

Ellie and family


Orange Cornmeal Olive Oil Cake

(from an amalgamation of internet recipes)

Preheat oven to 375°F Oil an 8” round pan. Cut a piece of parchment to fit in the bottom of the pan and oil it too.

plattered cake



½ cup really good olive oil

2 eggs (large always when baking)

¼ cup orange juice

¼ cup dry white wine

1 cup sugar

1 ¼ cups unbleached white flour

½ cup cornmeal

2 tsp baking powder

1 tsp salt zest of one orange


Whisk together oil, eggs, 1 cup sugar, wine and orange juice until smooth. Very gently whisk into the liquid mixture the flour, cornmeal, baking powder, salt and orange zest.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan

Sprinkle an additional 1/3 cup sugar evenly over the top of the cake.

Bake until cake begins to pull away from the pan and a tester in the center comes out clean. About 35 to 40 minutes.

Remove from the oven and cool on a rack for 20 minutes. Run a knife around the edge of the cake and then invert the cake onto a plate. Remove the parchment and re-invert the cake onto a platter to cool completely.

Decorate the platter with flowers or orange segments, etc.

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