Italian Lemon Olive Oil Cake

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Italian Lemon Olive Oil Cake via

When life gives you lemons, make Italian lemon olive oil cake. If you want to get fancy, make this cake and build a trifle.

Yesterday was our 13th wedding anniversary. Every year, we look at each other and know we would do it all over again. We both believe we are blessed in this marriage. It’s sometimes gushy, but mostly it’s fun, not a word to underestimate in a relationship.

Marriage will have a few lemon moments, but remember, lemons are cleansing.  Enjoy the process and  allow the lemons to enhance your relationship and, with enough sugar, be wonderfully transformed.

I could say so many thing about him, what we have in common. God, love, food, technology, organic gardening, creativity. The television shows we get hooked on together (Castle, Downton Abbey and Monk reruns).  The way we celebrate birthdays and holidays (food, wine, restaurants, gifts and child-like anticipation).

We are never ho hum about big moments and we both agree that life is for giving. We would probably write an  identical wish list, and it’s scary that we often have the exact same thought at the exact same moment. One look across the room or one nudge under the table and we’ve just had an entire conversation in code.

We fit. We trust. We don’t compete; we complement. We protect each other and our marriage by refusing to let stress and drama destroy us. We are humbled because we are vulnerable to each other. If one of us wants out, it would be over. People think it takes a strong passion to stay together. My parents passionately broke up fifty times.  I forgave that, but carried caution with me into the world waiting to  marry someone I could trust my heart with.

As I was running yesterday morning, I started thinking about the last run I did 13 years ago as a single woman the week of the wedding.  It was emotionally brutal. I had clocked in hundreds of mile on that stretch of beach, and it knew me, my troubles, my thoughts, because that piece of the Pacific ocean absorbed everything I needed to get rid of. That day the beach took the worst of it. I had a major family disappointment and nothing could be done to fix it.

This was all the more reason that I knew I was marrying the right man. He doesn’t do drama, and I knew I wasn’t marrying him to reenact a family dynamic in order to get it right. I probably did need fixing (we all need to heal from something),  but I didn’t choose a civil war reenactment plan. I was stepping off into healthy, a new universe of stability, peace, and real love. The kind of love that knows it’s not about fleeting feelings and emotions. It’s love that runs deep, eternal, and kindly.

We view love with the same lens. Love is a verb and we’re careful with that. Love involves feelings, but sustained love requires intentionality.  We both know this. It’s the reason we can say with sincerity that we haven’t struggled with our choice to say yes.

Let’s face it,  he would miss the food!

Italian Lemon Olive Oil Cake

How Good Was This Cake?

This is a super easy cake that you can mix by hand and have ready for eating in under an hour.

Our  dog Eeyore who is 15 years old has never jumped a counter for food. He took six pieces of this cake off the plate, and even after I scolded him, he went back for more. Did he love the lemon or the moistness the olive oil brought to the cake?

Olive oil is an interesting ingredient to bake with. Normally, I  test the taste of a cake by microwaving a tablespoon of batter. This fooled me because in that bite all I could taste was the olive oil. However, when I baked the cake, the olive oil moved to back and there was only a slight nod to it, but it made a wonderful textural difference. I made a second cake using only grape seed oil and while it was good, we all agreed that the olive oil cake won out.

Tell me do you pucker up when you think of lemons or do you embrace the sour along with the sweet?

Print Recipe
4.50 from 2 votes

Lemon Olive Oil Cake

A light and sophisticated snack cake made with lemon, olive oil and sour cream, no frosting necessary
Servings: 8


  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 lemons zest and juice (can use a lemon and a lime)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon strawberry lemonade or any citrus juice or water
  • 1/2 cup of confectioner's sugar (more if it is too runny)


  • Sift baking soda, baking powder, flour together. Set aside.
  • Zest lemons into the sugar. Use your hands to break down the zest. Add eggs and sour cream to sugar.
  • Mix dry mixture into the sugar mixture. Add in olive oil, and mix.
  • Pour into a 9 inch cake pan.
  • Bake for 27-33 minutes at 350.
  • Mix together until glaze forms. If it's too runny, add more confectioner's sugar. If it's too thick, add more liquid. Pour over the cake while it's still warm.

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If you love this recipe, please give it five stars. It means a lot. xoxo


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  1. Hi! I had to come over and read your story. Truly lovely. In case I somehow miss it — Happy Anniversary. We’ve been married 47 years and it seems like yesterday. I don’t know what I’d do without him — he is a gem. I was lucky, my parents were a terrific role model. Our religious, political, everyday life beliefs are the same. We do finish each other sentences. Great post. Abbracci!

  2. I realize this is 5 yrs old but i want to say Happy Anniversary 2017 soon. I am going to try your cake. The one i have cooling used 1 c yogurt and it didnt set right as it baked. The center was gooey. Im sad. I was so looking forward to a slice of olive oil lemon cake. I did not scroll long enough to find your recipe but next week i will be making yours.
    Your comment about your marriage not being a competition hit home for me. In everything i say and do my husband must UP me in some way. It is slowly destroying my love for him. We have been together since 1987. Married since 1999. Im old now but dont want to spend my life competing about whos cold is worse or who had the worst day. Thank you for this blog. I hope you are still together and happy and this blog is going strong.

  3. I love this recipe. I will be publishing a post on my blog in a few days of this cake and wanted to put a link to your page on my blog. I hope this is ok. Thanks so much. Paola

  4. Happy Anniversary and what a beautiful, thoughtful post. As we approach our 25th wedding anniversary, I feel exactly as you do and we have exactly that kind of relationship. It is as close to perfect as two can get, right? And I love this cake and will try it! Perfect texture and the perfect summer dessert with berries.

  5. I just found you today when looking for a golden beets recipe- I ended playing around with all my leftover veggies and after reducing them to tasty morsels added three kinds of cheese and served them over couscous.

    That said I am a recently wed woman who was a single parent for years. My new husband is my best friend and with God at the center of our love and his distaste for drama I know we can make this work too!

    I loved your post and passion and hope that life continues to be sweet as cake for you both.

  6. You are both so lucky to have each other and, even more, to know, appreciate and work at it! I loved the lemon and marriage analogy.

    I also love olive oil cake!

  7. Wow… what a post! Happy Anniversary to you both and wishes for many more blessed returns!
    I will have to try using the olive oil, I have a bottle of grape seed oil and wondered how it would affect the taste in the batter too.. glad to see this post now I will just test it in the microwave like you suggested.
    Peace and Blessings

  8. What a beautiful post, you sound like such a wonderful couple! This cake looks delicious – I’ve never thought of microwaving a spoonful of batter to test a cake, that is brilliant!

  9. Happy Anniversary and to many more! That picture of you both is beautiful.

    A delightful cake! Yes, it would make a perfect base for a trifle.



  10. Happy Happy Anniversary. I saw much of my own marriage and choice of spouse reflected in your words and was very touched by this beautiful post. Wishing you 100 more years of happiness and eating wonderful treats like that luscious looking olive oil cake together. xoxox

  11. Happy Anniversary Angela. You are very lucky to have each other. As for the cake I love the crumb of an olive oil cake. People often ask me if the olive oil will overpower but if you use good quality, fruity olive oil you will be awestruck by the results. Lemon is my favourite and I sometimes throw in poppy seeds as an ode to my childhood.

  12. Happy Anniversary to you and your hubby, Angela. What a lovely couple you make:) Your Lemon Olive Oil Cake looks lovely. Enjoy it in good health, Louise

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