Olive Oil Cake (vegan)
This Olive Oil Cake is a moist sponge that just so happens to be both egg and dairy free. It’s the perfect vegan cake recipe for an afternoon treat.
Grown up flavours
Oil is a fantastic substitute for butter in dairy free and vegan cakes. It provides the fat content required for a rich, delicious cake but also produces a really moist fluffy sponge. Olive oil cakes have been enjoyed in Italy for hundreds of years for this exact reason. Whilst olive oil might seem an odd choice because of it’s distinctly savoury flavour, it is perfect for a cake that isn’t too sweet.
You absolutely cannot get away from the fact that olive oil adds flavour to this cake. And that’s exactly what we want. A flavourless oil would result in a cake with a lovely crumb texture but would be lacking in taste. Because the olive flavour is so important it goes without saying that you should absolutely use the best olive oil you can get. Good olive oil is fresh and fruity! It may also be a little bit bitter and peppery too.
Citrus fruit pairs really well with the rich olive flavour. I use lemon juice and zest in the sponge but orange and grapefruit would work equally well. I also use lemon juice to make the icing drizzled over the top of the cake. A little goes a long way – we don’t want the icing to overpower the flavour of the olive oil cake. This is a grown up flavour we don’t want to destroy with lashings of buttercream or fondant.
For this type of cake we want to keep decoration simple. I recommend serving with fresh berries – whatever is in season – and some crystalised rosemary (which isn’t as weird as it sounds). A big dollop of your favourite plant based yogurt is also a delicious served alongside this cake.
I highly recommend serving this cake to guests with a cup of tea or coffee. Of course, if you want to enjoy it for your breakfast I won’t judge (it’s my favourite way to indulge in a slice!)
For more information about egg-free and dairy-free baking, check out the big vegan baking guide.
Olive Oil Cake with Lemon Icing (vegan)
- 1 x 8" circular cake tin
For the cake
- 175 millilitres extra virgin olive oil
- 125 millilitres unsweetened applesauce if not smooth, process in a blender or food processor first
- 240 millilitres soy milk
- 2 lemons juice and zest, reserve 2 tbsp juice for the icing
- 300 grams caster sugar
- 250 grams plain flour
- 1.5 tsp baking powder
- 0.5 tsp bicarbonate of soda
- 1 pinch salt
For the icing
- 200 grams icing sugar
- 2 tbsp lemon juice
For the garnish
- plant-based yogurt
To bake the cake
- Pre-heat your oven to 180C / 356F.
- Line the bottom and sides of your 8" cake tin with grease proof paper and place to one side.
- In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the olive oil, apple sauce, soy milk, 2 tbsp of lemon juice and all but 2 tbsp of the lemon zest.
- Sieve the flour into the bowl then add the sugar, baking powder, bicarbonate soda and salt.
- Fold the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients until they are fully incorporated and the batter is smooth.
- Pour the batter into the lined cake tin and bake for 45-60 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean.
- Remove the cake from the oven and leave to cool in the tin for 30 minutes. Then, remove from the tin and leave to cool on a wire rack.
To make the icing
- Sift your icing sugar into a bowl then add the remaining 2 tbsp of lemon juice until it is a drizzling consistency.
- If it is too thick, add a little water. If it is too runny add a little more icing sugar.
- Once the cake is completely cooled, drizzle with the icing.
- Sprinkle over the remaining 2 tbsp of lemon zest and a handful of berries.
- Serve with plant based yogurt of your choice.
More vegan cakes and bakes
For more cake recipes you can check out my full recipe index here.