Moist and fluffy, this vanilla cake recipe with oil will be your go-to-cake for every birthday or special occasion that comes your way! Find more olive oil cake recipes here.
When you have a food blog, it makes you the go-to person for baking birthday cakes and cupcakes. The same goes with anniversary cakes, baby shower cakes and congratulations-on-anything kind of cakes. Needless to say, I make a lot of cakes.
So when it comes my go-to vanilla cake for any of the above mentioned occasions, I have my personal favorite: a very easy vanilla olive oil cake.
Why you should bake this cake
I have personally made this cake 100s of times. It really is my go-to recipe for birthday cakes. It is so easy to whip up and the texture is perfect.
You can bake up several layers to make a tall cake, or keep it simple with two layers. I have covered it with frosting and/or fondant and I have kept it simple with whipped cream or frosted a naked cake.
Bake this recipe into cupcakes, a 9×13 pyrex dish or in whatever vessel you can think of. It really is a great versatile vanilla cake recipe.
This particular recipe uses eggs and milk. Because you use olive oil, you can easily make this recipe into a vegan vanilla cake. I give instructions in more detail further below.
See my Moist Vanilla Cake Recipe Web Story for a quick visual guide to making this recipe.
Ingredients you need
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- Pantry staples: granulated sugar, all purpose flour, baking powder, salt, vanilla extract
- Whole milk: I always have full fat milk in my fridge, so that is what I primarily bake with. Fat adds moisture and flavor to your cake, so don’t be afraid of it. You can use low fat milk or to make it vegan, us almond milk.
- Eggs: When I bake, I primarily use large eggs. You can use flax meal to make this cake vegan. I go into this in more detail below.
- Extra virgin olive oil: If you’ve read my blog before, then you learned your lesson on how to bake with olive oil. Your baked goods are only as good as the ingredients you put into it. Choose a mild tasting olive oil for this cake recipe, not a peppery one.
1. In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder and salt.
3. Add vanilla and milk into sugar mixture, scraping the sides of mixing bowl and mixing again.
4. Mixing on low speed, add eggs one at a time, scraping down sides in between.
5. In batches, add dry ingredients and mix into wet ingredients until just combined. Again, scrape down sides of the bowl to combine thoroughly. Do not over mix the batter.
6. Coat 2 9-inch round cake pans with non-stick spray and line bottom with parchment paper. Divide batter equally into cake pans and bake until edges are golden, approximately 20-23 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. For details on what size cake pan to use, read below.
7. Place on cooling rack to cool before removing cakes from pans. Once cooled, frost as desired.
How much does this recipe make?
Despite my making this recipe literally DOZENS OF TIMES, and despite my explicit instructions in the recipe card explaining what this recipe yields, I still get comments from people that the batter was not enough “for even one cake pan! Hmmph!”
So, I decided to be explicit here in the blog post. The cake pictured in this post with the pink peony on top, was baked in a SIX INCH CAKE PAN. I made this cake for my baby nephew’s first birthday, as well as his baby brother’s first birthday (check out the woodland cake).
The recipe below makes this fat 6-inch round 2-layer cake. You can also use the quantities listed below to make a 9-inch round 2-layer cake, but the layers will be about 1 ½-inches thick (versus the 3-inch thick 6-inch round cake). The cake with strawberries layered in it and on top of it was baked in two 9-inch round cake pans.
If you want 2 fat 9-inch layers, you will have to DOUBLE THE RECIPE. You can also bake the cake in 2 8-inch cake pans (which is what I used in the video) and the layers will be about 2-inches thick.
I have mixed feelings about fat layered cakes. First, I love cake, so yeah, the fatter the cake, the more delicious cake there is to savor. But, when I want to spread layers of fruit in between the layers, those fat layers are just too much.
And with people trying to eat healthy, of course eating too much sugary sweets is not good for you. I’m finding more and more of my guests don’t want huge fat pieces of cake. So you decide how fat you want your cake layers to be and adjust the recipe accordingly.
Vegan vanilla cake
As written below, this vanilla olive oil cake contains eggs and milk. One of my baby nephew’s is SUPER allergic to dairy. He’s so allergic that if you have eaten something with dairy on it and you kiss his cheek, his cheek breaks out in hives.
You can easily substitute the milk in this recipe with almond milk. I have done it many times and the cake still turns out beautifully. It is a little smelly, but I have found that is the case when baking with almond milk!
My baby nephew is also mildly allergic to eggs. I have made this olive oil cake vegan by substituting regular eggs in this recipe with flax eggs. The vegan version of this cake is not as yellow as what is pictured here. But my little nephew and everyone who tried it, loved the cake and flavor.
The basic ratio for the flax seed egg is 1 tablespoon of flax seeds and 3 tablespoons of water to replace 1 egg. This recipe uses 3 eggs, so triple this amount. You will have to grind the flax seed into powder and whisk it with the water before adding to the cake batter.
If you have already ground flax seed, then use 2 ½ teaspoons of ground flax seed and 3 tablespoons of water for 1 egg. I have written a separate post with explicit directions on making a vegan vanilla cake here.
Recipe tips and FAQs
Here are just a few more tips on successful baking. A few I am totally guilty of forgetting myself, so it’s a great reminder for me, too! First of all, please make sure your baking powder isn’t old. It really can make the difference on how well your cake rises especially for this cake.
Please don’t blame the blogger because you used old expired ingredients. Yes, I am speaking from experience. What a difference a brand new can of baking powder can make!
Second, measure your pans and make sure you know what size you are using. I have grabbed my 8-inch pans thinking they are the 9-inch ones many times. I am constantly measuring them because these companies do not put the pan size on their darn pans! Duh!
For even baking and to prevent that dome from creating Mount Olympus on your olive oil cake, use these baking strips. You wrap them around the sides of the pan and it help distributes the heat evenly while baking.
I actually have a set of these and always forget to use them (hence the uneven layers that I did not slice off from the 9-inch cake below)!
Have I inspired you to bake with olive oil yet?! My friend Beth from OMG Yummy has a fabulous olive oil shortcake made with roasted strawberries.
I use these for EVERYTHING! They are great for scraping down the sides of your mixing bowl with cake batter or for making scrambled eggs. They come in a variety of sizes (small one is perfect for scraping out the small cans tomato paste) and the silicone ones are heat resistant, perfect for melting chocolate and candy making.
Does this olive oil cakes taste like, well, olive oil? Your baked goods are only as good as the ingredients you put into it.
Do not choose a peppery olive oil to bake this olive oil cake. Do not chose a cheap olive oil to bake this olive oil cake.
DO use a late harvest, mild flavored extra virgin olive oil to bake this cake. And it won’t taste like olive oil.
Save the butter for your butter cream frosting. Taste the oil by itself and remember this is the flavor that will be added to your cake. For this vanilla cake, I chose a mild olive oil. Some olive oils even have a buttery flavor profile. Either would great in a cake.
ABSOLUTELY! I regularly bake with extra virgin olive oil instead of butter. I do this for bread, scones, cookies, muffins and yes, even cake. Baking with oil not only yields a moist muffin, scone or cake, but it can also add flavor, depending on the flavor of your olive oil.
If you have a recipe that uses butter, there is a simple ratio to use if you want to substitute it with oil. It is a great starting point for when you are making substitutions. For every cup of butter, swap out and use ¾ cup of olive oil.
- 1 ¼ cup granulated sugar
- 2 ¼ cup all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
- ⅔ cup whole milk
- 3 large eggs
- ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
- Preheat oven to 350ºF.
- Coat 2 9-inch round cake pans with non-stick spray and line bottom with parchment paper.
- In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder and salt.
- In a large bowl, using a stand or hand mixer combine sugar and olive oil until combined and mixture resembles wet sand.
- Add vanilla and milk into sugar mixture. Scrape the sides of mixing bowl and mix again.
- Mixing on low speed, add eggs one at a time, scraping down sides in between.
- In batches, add dry ingredients and mix into wet ingredients until just combined. Again, scrape down sides of the bowl to combine thoroughly. Do not over mix the batter.
- Divide batter into prepared cake pans and bake until edges are golden, approximately 20-23 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.
- Place on rack to cool before removing cakes from pans.
- Once cooled, frost as desired.
This recipe yields a 2 layer 9-inch cake with layers approximately 1-½ inches thick. Pictured above is the same recipe baked in 6-inch pans.
Choose a late harvest, mild flavored extra virgin olive oil to bake this cake. You can also use a lemon or orange infused olive oil, too.
To make this cake vegan, swap out the milk in this recipe with almond milk, or any non-dairy milk. Swap the eggs for a flax seed egg: 2 ½ Tablespoons of ground flax seed mixed with ½ cup of water for the 3 eggs in this recipe.
Serving Size:1 slice
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 328Total Fat: 13gSaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 10gCholesterol: 57mgSodium: 243mgCarbohydrates: 48gFiber: 1gSugar: 26gProtein: 5g
PS If you try this recipe, why not leave a star rating in the recipe card right below and/or a review in the comment section further down the page? I always appreciate your feedback.
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