This Fluffy Vegan Olive Oil Cake Recipe is the definition of a pantry staple dessert, but definitely does not taste like it! With fruity olive oil as base and crunchy raw sugar for a texture like angel food cake, this healthy recipe will have everyone asking for seconds. As a bonus, it lasts longer and stays more moist than butter-based cakes! Top with berries for a delicious pop of color.
Have you heard of olive oil cake? If you haven’t, then I am guessing that this kind of recipe immediately sounds strange. Trust me, these cakes are something to be celebrated, and are ridiculously easy to prepare!
Quarantine has made procuring ingredients for all kinds of meals more challenging, but none more so than baked goods and desserts. Flour, sugar, butter, milk, and yeast have been scraped from so many grocery store shelves. Baking is a therapeutic activity for many, but we can all agree that not being able to find necessary ingredients tends to augment the stress of everything.
The solution: a flexible, non-butter-base cake that requires no special equipment!
Is olive oil good in cake? Can you use olive oil instead of butter in cakes?
Short answers: yes and yes! Olive oil lends a very nice texture to cakes, with a fruity flavor and sophisticated taste profile. It’s something I always have on hand and am happy to report it works very well in baking.
What is Olive Oil Cake?
Olive oil cake is a flour and oil-based dessert with origins in Italy.
This cake has become a popular dessert around the world due to its simplicity of preparation and purity of flavor. It is light in texture, decadent in flavor, and feels very sophisticated. It works in all seasons and is easily customized to seasonal ingredients you have access too!
I do not own a stand or hand mixer (I know), so not needing to blend ingredients in a special format is especially appealing to me. If you’ve made muffins or a quick bread before, you are more than ready to tackle this recipe.
How to Make Vegan Olive Oil Cake
- Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Line a deep 8 or 9 inch cake pan with a circle of parchment paper.
- Mix together olive oil, yogurt milk, vinegar, lemon juice, sugar, and vanilla extract. Set aside. In a smaller bowl, whisk flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
- Combine wet and dry ingredients.
- Pour batter into prepared cake tin and bake for 45 minutes. Poke with a toothpick or knife to check for doneness. No crumbs should stick to the toothpick once inserted. Bake for 5-15 minutes if needed.
- Let cake cool completely in the pan, for about 30 minutes. While cake is cooling, prepare your washed berries for topping and mix up (optional) glaze).
Vegan cakes pose a certain set of challenges because they cannot rely on eggs for their structure. Without eggs, many recipes will rise in the oven but sink immediately once off the heat, leading to a very dense final product.
The trick for making a fluffy vegan cake
In this case, we are relying on a combination of leaveners (both baking soda and baking powder), some acids in the form of lemon juice and apple cider vinegar, and greek yogurt. In combination, these mimic the structure provided by eggs and elicit a very light and airy cake!
Instead of using regular granulated sugar, we’re using a more crunchy “raw” sugar, or turbinado. This provides a subtle textural difference that I really enjoy, it actually reminds me of the crust on angel food cake. If you cannot find raw sugar, regular should work as well. This cake is definitely on the less-sweet end of the dessert spectrum (my preference), but notes are added below if you’ve got a bigger sweet tooth. I encourage you to try this the original way first, before adding more sweetener.
What kind of olive oil should I buy? What is the best olive oil for cake?
You should always by extra-virgin olive oil that is cold pressed. This will work well in all baking recipes.
How to Buy Olive Oil
Olive oil is one of the most versatile ingredients in my kitchen – I use it just about every day! Quality matters a great deal when choosing the proper brand. Here are some factors I take into account:
- Make sure your olive oil is sold in a metal tin or dark glass bottle. This keeps the oil from light exposure, which damages it’s flavor. Store in a dark cabinet away from any heat sources like your oven or stovetop.
- Extra-virgin is the only way, do not trust oils that claim to be “light.” Oil is pure fat, which is a good thing! “Cold-pressed” is not a very meaningful phrase and is often added to make something sound more fancy. Marketing jargon, ugh.
- If you can, source the oil from a recent harvest. Contrary to popular belief, olive oil does not improve with age and starts to deteriorate in quality very quickly. Most olives are harvest in November, so purchasing oil as close to the harvest time will give you the best flavor.
- If you’re looking for a very affordable option that still tastes great, I recommend the Trader Joe’s Greek Olive Oil (just $9 for a liter).
More Tips for Making the Best Vegan Olive Oil Cake:
- Do not over-mix the batter. You want it to hold together with no clumps of flour, but you also want to keep things light without developing gluten.
- Bake to the indicator, not the time. Instead of following the exact recipe time instructions, bake until the cake looks golden brown but not burnt. After baking, stick a chopstick in the center and see if any crumbs cling to it once removed. If it comes out relatively dry, your cake is done!
- Top the cake with whatever fruit you enjoy! Any kind of berries work well, but this would also be delicious with stewed rhubarb or even peaches.
I hope you love this easy recipe! Please be sure to leave a comment or rating if you try it!