Moist and fluffy, this easy vanilla olive oil cake will be your go-to-cake recipe for every birthday or special occasion that comes your way!
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 bake with olive oil
You are probably thinking, “But, Laura, butter is better.” Seriously? I didn’t write an olive oil cookbook just because I was bored. I love baking with olive oil. And everyone who has eaten my cakes, especially my olive oil cakes, have never once told me, “Hey, this needs butter.”
Baking with olive oil is much easier and more healthy than baking with butter. Yes, I just said this cake was healthy. Well, you know what I mean. Save the butter for your butter cream frosting.
Is this olive oil cake moist? Yes, it is.
Is this olive oil cake fluffy? Yes, it is.
What kind of olive oil should I bake with?
Does this olive oil cakes taste like, well, 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.
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.
How much does this vanilla olive oil cake 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.
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 1/2-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 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.
Is this vanilla olive oil cake vegan?
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 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. He can eat eggs in baked in goods at a certain ratio and he is able to eat this cake without trouble. I have not tried this recipe using almond milk and flax eggs, but I’m fairly confident that it will work.
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 1/2 teaspoons of ground flax seed and 3 tablespoons of water for 1 egg. For full instructions on how to make a flax seed egg, check out this post. If you do try this vanilla olive oil cake with the flax egg substitution, please let me know how it turned out.
Final tips on baking olive oil cake
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)!
- 1 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 2 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 1/4 vanilla extract
- 2/3 cup whole milk
- 3 large eggs
- 1/2 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.
- Frost as desired.
This recipe yields a 2 layer 9-inch cake with layers approximately 1-1/2 inches thick. Pictured above is the same recipe baked in 6-inch pans.
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Serving Size:1 slice
Amount Per Serving:Calories: 328 Total Fat: 13g Saturated Fat: 2g Trans Fat: 0g Unsaturated Fat: 10g Cholesterol: 57mg Sodium: 243mg Carbohydrates: 48g Fiber: 1g Sugar: 26g Protein: 5g