Baking with olive oil is a game changer! If you think extra virgin olive oil is just a healthy choice for savory dishes, think again. These olive oil cake recipes will make you a convert, too!
When I tell people that I bake with olive oil, I typically get some skeptical looks. Doesn’t it make your cakes taste funny? It’s not as good as butter, right? Well, when they try my olive oil cakes, I always change their minds!
There are many benefits of baking with olive oil, from health reasons to ease of use to yes, flavor. Not only will I share with you my many olive oil cake recipes with you, but I will also share my tips on baking with olive oil. Because, I’m not just an olive oil fan, but I wrote an olive oil cookbook and I’m also a certified olive oil taster (from University of California in Davis).
So I know a thing or two about this exquisite oil.
What is extra virgin olive oil?
Before I get into the baking tips and olive oil cake recipes, let’s be clear on what I mean when I say olive oil. When you cook or bake with olive oil, only use extra virgin olive oil. Extra virgin olive oil is the oil mechanically extracted from olives.
No chemicals are used to extract oil from olives. Olives are crushed, pressed and spun in a centrifuge to release the oil and juices in the olives. Then the oil is separated from the water and solids and bottled. It’s as simple as that.
In fact, only extra virgin olive oil is extracted without chemicals or processing. Think of it more like a fruit juice than oil. And like fruit juices, it is perishable and has an expiration date.
Not all olive oils are alike. Light olive oil, extra light olive oil, pure olive oil… these are NOT extra virgin olive oil. Many times they are mixed with other oils with chlorophyl added to them for their green color.
Don’t believe all the misinformation out there about extra virgin olive oil. Not only can you bake with it, you can also cook with olive oil and roast with olive oil. You even can fry with olive oil.
Read the labels. Knowledge is power. And read my article so you will know what is in olive oil. Here are a couple of extra virgin olive oils I enjoy and trust. There are many reputable brands of olive oil out there. Just give it a taste and judge for yourself.
Baking with olive oil
Now don’t get me wrong. Butter is wonderful and delicious and I adore it, too. But when it comes baking, olive oil cakes, cookies and treats are just as delicious. Olive oils come in different kinds of flavor profiles, from mild and butter to pungent and peppery.
The flavor of olive oil you choose will come out in whatever you bake. For cakes, I prefer using a mild and buttery oil. But for a gingerbread olive oil cookie or for a savory olive rosemary bread, I choose a peppery olive oil. You can even use a flavored oil, one infused with lemons or oranges, to bring out even more flavor in your olive oil cake.
Olive oil cake recipes are especially popular during the Jewish holidays like Hannukah, Passover and Rosh Hashanah. My friend Beth from OMG Yummy has this incredible Pear Cake with Olive Oil, Ginger and Cinnamon.