Olive Oil Cake (From Cook’s Illustrated)

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Are you an obsessive recipe hunter? Do you scour Pinterest, hour after hour, pinning and repinning dreamy pins filled with oozy cheeses and decadent chocolates? Does the thought “how can I make my own Aussie bites”  or “peanut sauce, get in my belly!” pop into your head like a flash of lighting that you must immediately jot down during a boring, Monday morning meeting? If you answered yes, then you’re in good company, because me too! 

I don’t mind throwing together a quick meal with left over odds and ends during the work week (there is something fun and Iron Chef-y about crafting a dinner with one carrot and an old jar of BBQ sauce). But for me, the real pleasure in cooking comes from rummaging through recipes and landing on something that feels just unique enough and just out of my comfort zone enough to challenge me or make me feel like I’m learning a new cooking skill. Recreating a recipe feels like putting together a puzzle. It feels like building a project from start to end (or soup to nuts) and that really energizes my simultaneously creative AND Type A personality.

I most recently attempted the now seemingly Instagram famous Olive Oil Cake from Cook’s Illustrated. It wound up being super easy, super delicious, and super convenient (the ingredients are all items you likely have in your pantry right now). In the morning, drizzled with peach honey and paired with fresh apricots from my local Farmer’s Market, this cake was the best kind of breakfast carb. It has just a hint of sweetness and zest and didn’t make me feel weighed down or disgusted with myself for eating cake for breakfast. Even though I do subscribe to the notion that if you put the word breakfast in front of a dessert item (cookie, cake, etc) it instantly becomes an acceptable morning meal. It’s no longer an indulgent cookie, but a breakfast cookie. 

Also, after storing this cake in the fridge for a few days the taste and texture became very similar to pound cake, which I ADORE, so that was an unexpected bonus. I highly recommend giving this recipe a try, especially if you enjoy desserts that are not overtly sweet or sugary. Tell me, do you prefer cooking from your own imagination or do you like following a recipe from time to time?


  • Grease a 9-inch spring form pan (note: I baked mine in a glass pan and that is perhaps why it came out a little bit like pound cake)
  • Whisk flour, baking powder, and salt together in a bowl
  • Using a stand mixer and whisk, whip eggs on medium speed until foamy. Increasing speed to high, add 1 1/4 cups sugar and lemon zest and whip until fluffy and pale yellow. Reduce speed to medium and slowly pour in oil, mixing until fully incorporated.
  • Add half of the flour mixture and mix on low until incorporated.
  • Add milk and mix until well combined and then add the remaining flour mixture
  • Transfer this batter to your pan and sprinkle with a few teaspoons of sugar over the top
  • Bake at 350 degrees for roughly 40 to 45 minutes
  • Let cool and enjoy, enjoy, enjoy!

Source: https://www.cooksillustrated.com/recipes/9648-olive-oil-cake?incode=MCSCD00L0&ref=new_search_experience_1

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