There is no cake like this in the world. This moist, beautiful olive oil cake is subtly sweet and complimented perfectly by a homemade brown butter frosting.
Olive Oil Cake
1 1/2 cupsextra virgin olive oil*
3 large eggs, room temperature
1 1/4cupswhole milk
zest and juice of 1 large lemon
zest of 1 medium or large orange
1 teaspoon salt
Brown Butter Frosting
1cupunsalted butter (2 sticks)
1teaspoon vanilla extract
2pinches of kosher salt
2-3Tablespoonswhole milk or heavy cream, plus more as needed
Olive Oil Cake
Preheat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit. Generously grease a 9-inch springform pan on the bottom and sides. Line the bottom of the pan with a 9-inch round of parchment paper and grease again. Set aside.
In a stand mixer using the whisk attachment, combine the olive oil and eggs until smooth. Add the milk, lemon juice, lemon zest, orange zest, and sugar and combine again until smooth.
Add the flour, salt, baking powder, and baking soda to the olive oil mixture all at once, and combine, still with your whisk attachment, until ingredients are just barely incorporated. Do not overmix. Remove bowl from stand mixer and use a spatula to scrape the bottom of the bowl and make sure all ingredients are incorporated.
Place the springform pan directly on a cookie sheet, pour the batter into the prepared springform pan, and bake in the oven for 70-80 minutes. The cake will be done when a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean or with a few moist crumbs attached. If the toothpick is wet in the center, continue baking for 5-minute increments until done. Allow the cake to cool completely before frosting.
Brown Butter Frosting
Warm a medium-sized saucepan to medium heat and add butter. Once the butter has completely melted, allow it to brown, stirring frequently and gently scraping the bottom of the pan with a spatula. The butter will foam and sizzle as brown specks appear on the bottom of the pan.** When the aroma of the pan is nutty and the bottom of the pan is a toasty-brown color remove from heat and let cool completely.
Once the butter is completely cooled, beat the butter and sugar together; first on low speed, then increasing as the two ingredients become incorporated. Add the vanilla, salt, and milk, and continue to beat until smooth. If the frosting is still too thick, add more milk, one tablespoon at a time, until the desired consistency is achieved.
Once the cake is completely cooled and the frosting is made, assemble your cake. Use a butter knife to loosen the sides of the cake from the springform pan if needed. Remove the parchment paper from the bottom of the cake and place on a cake stand.
Frost the sides and top of the cake with a thin layer of frosting using an icing spatula. Set in the refrigerator for 10-15 minutes to allow the base coat or "crumb coat" to set. Take out of the fridge and add remaining frosting, gently scraping the side of the cake with a bench scraper or cake scraper for a clean edge. Using the edge of your icing spatula, create a simple swirl on the top of the cake by gently pressing the spatula into the frosting while turning the cake in a circular motion, moving the spatula from the edge of the cake, slowly toward the center as the cake rotates. This is most easily done with a cake turntable but can be done on a cake stand too.
9-inch springform pan
*When we mention using a good-quality extra virgin olive oil recipe, it doesn't mean you have to go out and buy the fanciest, most expensive bottle of olive oil that you can find, but please do use an oil that isn't expired and one that comes from a reputable, good brand. Some of our favorites that won't break the bank: California Olive Ranch (found in most grocery stores), Kirkland Signature Organic (Costco), or Trader Joe's Premium 100% Greek. **Don't be afraid to really develop some color when browning your butter. You don't want to completely burn all of your butter but it's totally okay to get a few darker flecks on the bottom of your saucepan. Think about the slightly charred, amazingly nostalgic flavor that comes from the edge of a campfire-roasted marshmallow? We want a little of that in our buttercream. ***Thanks to the generous amount of olive oil, this cake is one that will still taste fantastic if you make it a day ahead. You can make the icing a day ahead as well just store in the refrigerator and allow plenty of time to come to room temperature before frosting.