This Fluffy Vegan Olive Oil Cake Recipe is the definition of a pantry staple dessert, made with just 10 ingredients. No special equipment is required to bake!
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!
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.
Is olive oil good in cake? Can you use it instead of butter?
Short answers: yes and yes! Olive oil lends a very nice texture to cakes, with a fruity flavor and sophisticated taste profile.
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).
The Trick for Making a Fluffy Vegan Cake
In this case, we are relying on a combination of leavening agents (both baking soda and baking powder), some acids in the form of lemon juice and apple cider vinegar, and 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 organic cane sugar also works. 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.
How to Buy Olive Oil for Baking
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 its flavor. Store in a dark cabinet away from any heat sources like your oven or stovetop.
- Extra-virgin is your best bet, do not trust oils that claim to be “light.” Oil is pure fat, which is a good thing.
- If you can, source the oil from a recent harvest. 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. See this post for my entire Trader Joe’s recommendations.
More Tips for this Recipe
- 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 knife or 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.
Please be sure to leave a comment or rating if you try this recipe!