This Secret Ingredient Will Transform Your Cake

Photographed by Davide Luciano.
I love olive oil. No, I REALLY LOVE olive oil. I put it on everything — pasta, bread, scrambled eggs, meat…

No matter what, I refuse to cut out or skimp on olive oil. When I first started modeling, I worked with an Italian photographer who enjoyed doing olive oil tastings at his shoots. I think this was a point of annoyance for some people on his crew, because someone asked me “Did he make you taste the olive oils?” while rolling their eyes, and I was like “YEAH! Duh! That was the best part of the whole shoot.” Shot glasses of olive oil = my dream.

My mom is an olive-oil lover (okay, addict) and she basically stole the leftovers of an olive oil cake from a dinner party. I tracked down the chef, Marité Acosta, who made the cake and she shared the recipe with me. She told me that after testing multiple olive oil cake recipes (where the hell was I?!), this one from Maialino is the best of the bunch. If you have time/patience to make the crème celeste, I highly recommend it, because it really works here. If you don’t have the time, energy, or patience, you can eat the cake by itself or substitute with a dollop of Greek yogurt or vanilla ice cream. This cake is so soft and moist, I did think about using it as a pillow, but maybe that’s going too far.

Related: Cuckoo Cake

Extra Virgin Olive Oil Cake
Recipe from Marité Acosta, adapted from Maialino
Serves 12

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 3/4 cup sugar
1 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 1/4 cup whole milk
3 large eggs
2 tbsp orange zest (about 1 large orange)
1/4 cup fresh orange juice (about 1 large orange)
1/4 cup orange liqueur, such as Grand Marnier or Cointreau

1. Heat oven to 350°F. Spray a 9-inch cake pan (at least two inches deep) with cooking spray and line the bottom with parchment paper.

2. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, salt, baking soda, and baking powder.

3. In a separate bowl (or the bowl of a mixer, if you have one) add the olive oil, milk, eggs, orange zest, orange juice, and orange liqueur. Whisk to combine.

4. Add the dry ingredients and whisk until just combined.

5. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 1 hour until the top is golden and a cake tester comes out clean.

6. Transfer the cake to a cooling rack and let it cool in the pan for 30 minutes.

7. Run a knife around the inside edge of the pan and invert the cake onto to cooling rack, then flip right side up and let cool completely before cutting, about 2 hours.

Recommended Serving:
Crème Celeste
A dollop of this perfectly tart and creamy concoction adds an elegant finish to the olive oil cake. This is best made the day before.

1 cup heavy cream
2 cups sour cream
1 tbsp brandy or cognac

1. In a small saucepan, heat the sugar and cream over medium-high heat until it reaches a simmer and the sugar has melted.

2. Pour the hot mixture into a large bowl and whisk in the sour cream and brandy to combine.

3. Chill the mixture until very cold to set.

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