Portuguese Orange Olive Oil Cake

This Portuguese orange olive oil cake has an unforgettably tender crumb and a citrus smack thanks to fruity olive oil, winter navel oranges, and orange zest.

A Portuguese orange olive oil cake, dusted with confectioners' sugar on a silver cake stand.

It may not look it, but this orange olive oil cake recipe was, without a doubt, the hardest recipe to develop for my first cookbook, The New Portuguese Table. We made 13 versions of it until I knew it was as good as the recipe I got at Papas, the tiny restaurant up the hill from my apartment in Lisbon. The problem was—and I have no idea if this was intentional—but they gave me a recipe for a classic chiffon cake. Yet their mighty bolo de laranja was dense and rich, and just one slice could satisfy even my appetite.

Portuguese Orange-Olive Oil CakeFriend and Portuguese food scholar Janet Boileau was also smitten with Papas’ orange olive oil cake and went to work with me and my recipe tester, Cindi Kruth, trying to figure it out. In the end, it took a call to Lisbon chef Fausto Airioldi to help me get a handle on the dessert. He agreed with me that this was no stinking chiffon cake. It was too full of the bold flavors of Portugal. That’s when Cindi and I started from scratch. Several weeks later, we came up with this cake.–David Leite

Portuguese Orange Olive Oil Cake

  • Quick Glance
  • (64)
  • 20 M
  • 1 H, 30 M
  • Serves 14 to 16
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Special Equipment: 12-cup Bundt or tube pan (Make sure to use a light-colored Bundt pan. A dark one will turn out a cake that sticks and is unpleasantly brown. The pan David uses is Nordic Ware's Anniversary 15-Cup Bundt Pan.)


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Position a rack in the middle of the oven, remove any racks above it, and crank up the heat to 350°F (180°C). Coat a 12-cup Bundt or tube pan with baking spray and set aside.

Finely grate the zest of 3 oranges and then squeeze the juice from 4 of them. You should have 1 1/2 cups orange juice; if not, squeeze the 5th orange.

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

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment or with a handheld mixer in a large bowl, beat the eggs on medium-high speed until well combined, about 1 minute. Slowly pour in the granulated sugar and continue to beat until thick and pale yellow, about 3 minutes. Switch to low speed and alternate adding the flour mixture and the oil, starting and ending with the flour and beating until just a few wisps of flour remain. Pour in the orange juice and zest and whirl for a few seconds to bring the batter together.

Gently scrape the batter into the prepared pan and bake until a cake tester comes out with a few moist crumbs clinging to it, about 1 1/4 hours. Check the cake occasionally and if the top begins to brown a touch too much, loosely cover it with foil. 

When the cake is done, place the pan on a wire rack and let the cake cool in the pan for 15 minutes. (Don’t forget to come back after 15 minutes. Seriously. If the cake remains in the pan too long, the sugars begin to cool and stick to the pan.)

Turn the cake out onto the wire rack and let it cool completely. (We know. Resist the temptation.) Place the cake on a covered cake stand and let it sit overnight. (Seriously. This dense, moist, fruity cake only gets better with age. Don’t even think about taking a bite until the day after you make it—or even the day after that.) Just before serving, dust with confectioners’ sugar. Originally published October 11, 2010.

Print RecipeBuy the The New Portuguese Table cookbook

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Recipe Testers Reviews

This orange olive oil cake is an epiphany. It is literally the most fantastic, wondrous creation to ever grace my kitchen. The smell while it's baking tantalizes, the taste when it’s removed from the oven mesmerizes. Thank you, David, thank you. I cannot wait to make this for everyone I know and let the worshiping begin!

I made the recipe exactly as written. Has anyone tried this with another citrus?

After reading the description of this orange olive oil cake, I couldn't wait to make this recipe. The cake turned out just as wonderfully delightful as I had imagined. I waited the full 2 days before cutting into it and I'm glad that I did. It's moist and decadent.

I made this cake for Easter brunch and I was nervous the cake may be too sweet for a few of my guests who don't eat sweets, so I cut the sugar down to just under 2 1/2 cups with great success. Surprisingly, I could have enjoyed the cake a bit sweeter, and I usually don't like cakes too sweet, so I imagine the 3 cups would make a perfectly sweet and fabulous cake.

The cake was displayed on our counter in a glass-covered cake dome for about 5 days and it remained moist until it finally completely disappeared.

Here’s the hit of a recent charity bake sale! Easy and a real keeper—the note advising not to cut into the cake on the first day was my first clue how perfect it would be for a bake sale or other need to plan ahead. I did cut into it on the first day, though, and it was very moist, but not at all in a negative way. It was equally wonderful and perfectly moist on the second day, and I cannot report further, as it was completely devoured on day two—or sold, as it went to a bake sale. Customers loved the cake and specifically inquired about it. If I make this for a public event again, I’ll attach little tags with a link to the recipe on this site! It’s easy to make and quietly delicious.

I noted the 12-cup Bundt pan specified and divided the recipe into a 9-cup Bundt pan, four mini-Bundts, and a 3-cup “garden bug” Bundt pan that makes five different varieties, including a dragonfly and a ladybug. The bugs were not only charming but tasty. They and the mini Bundts, attractive and impressive, were both standouts at the bake sale for their visual appeal as well as their taste. The first time I made the cakes, I poured all the batter into these two pans; on my second test batch, I didn’t fill the molds quite as full and made a second set of the bugs in the 3-cup pan. I had no trouble reducing the baking time down for these smaller cakes, and, in fact, the quick bake time for them added to the appeal of this cake. And on top of the delicious flavor and charming Bundt shapes, it’s a lovely yellow color, sunny, upbeat and attractive.

It took the full 5 oranges to make the required amount of juice. I used a handheld mixer with successful results. After the 15-minute cooling period, the cakes turned out perfectly from the light-colored Bundt pans I used.


#leitesculinaria on Instagram If you make this recipe, snap a photo and hashtag it #LeitesCulinaria. We'd love to see your creations on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.


  1. Made this in 2018 and it was very good, however blood oranges are here. What would you say to giving them a go?

  2. I made this a couple of years ago and it was all good, I just made N/Y style lemon cheese cake where strips of lemon peel were whirled up with the sugar in the f/p.The lemon flavor really got punched up with this technique, it would be much faster to peel the 3 oranges then whirl them up with the sugar even though having to take the f/p is an extra step and clean. Do you think this would work here? Thanks.

    1. That’s a very interesting technique, low and slow, and I can see how it would really amplify the citrus flavor. I think it could work here with the orange zest, though you’d need to take care to make sure your zest ended up very finely minced in the food processor, and I’d only use a bit of the sugar to the food processor, and add most of the sugar earlier in the recipe where you’re beating it with the eggs, and then add the sugared zest along with the juice after the dry ingredients have been added. If you try it, do let us know how it goes. I’m very curious to hear if it works!

  3. A perfect partner for this orange olive oil cake during the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays is traditional cranberry sauce. Sigh. Just right.

  4. Hi David! We made this and love it!! Great tip about waiting 2 days to eat, we tried both ways and it definitely gets even better. I have meyer lemons 🍋 that are ready on my tree and was going to try use them in this recipe. Do you have any suggestions for modifications if any? Obrigada!

    1. Lisa, so delighted that you enjoyed the recipe! I don’t have any suggestions for making a lemon version. I don’t think you can’t use an equal amount of lemon juice, as it’s far more sour than orange juice.

  5. I’ve made this several times over the last few years and it never disappoints. The number of oranges (stated in the ingredients list) needed to make the 12oz. juice needed is always exactly 4 somehow. Magic? This recipe is a keeper.

  6. Maybe you have been asked this, but this looks like a perfect candidate for a really good gluten-free orange cake, with the late addition of flour and oil.

    So I’m keen to try this and see how it compares with the Sicilian Orange Cake. That’s been consistently popular with patrons at the Truro Farmer’s Market, and I’ve been asked for a gluten-free version. Conversion of that one is difficult because it uses a lot of butter and yogurt or sour cream.

    So I’m excited and looking forward to trying this.

    Cheers – Miles Thompson

    1. Miles, we’ve never tried it with gluten-free flour, but some of our readers have successfully been able to do so. Do let us know how it turns out!

    1. Morning, Kiki! And glad you found this recipe! It does sorta matter, you’ll actually find that in step 4 where it says… “Switch to low speed and alternate adding the flour mixture and the oil, starting and ending with the flour and beating until just a few wisps of flour remain.” Kindly let us know after baking and devouring it what you think!

  7. I will be making this for our Fourth of July picnic — for the fourth time in two months! It is my daughter-in-law’s new favorite, and she has requested it.☺️ Just wondering if the recipe can me made into cupcakes with equally yummy results, and whether liners would be recommended, either paper or silicone?

    1. Pm, I’m delighted to hear this! And I wish you and your family a great Fourth of July. I’ve never made the cup as cupcakes, but I do know others have. And I know there are some restaurants throughout the country that make mini Bundt cakes. Those that do make mini cakes use silicone forms.

  8. This is my go-to recipe and this latest I made for my friend Paula for her 2 restaurant’s re-opening in stage 3 of covid-19 in upstate NY. I made a glaze of armanac and seville orange marmalade and used toasted cardamon seeds.

    1. Gorgeous, Christiane! You have a lucky friend with lucky customers. So pleased this worked out so well for you and everyone! We so appreciate you taking the time to let us know…

  9. Hi David – I made the cake today – sadly didn’t have a Bundt pan and ended up making it in a loaf pan, so it looks like an ordinary pound cake, but I am trusting it will taste far superior! My question is regarding storage – we have arid desert summers here and temps inside the house probably range around 25-30 degrees celsius. Would you still recommend storing outside the refrigerator? It’s resting overnight for now, but in case it lasts us more than 2 days, would you recommend refrigerating? We don’t have a covered cake stand so it is tightly wrapped in film (after cooling).

  10. Hi David, I made the cake today! It’s an excellent recipe. The cake turned out moist and very flavourful. I did find it a little sweet for my own preference, but overall really really good. I will decrease the sugar amount by about 1/4 cup less. Thank you!

    1. Liliana, that’s fantastic! I’m delighted you enjoyed the recipe. It is a wee bit sweet, but get this: I reduced the amount of sugar from what they call for in Portugal!

    1. Joey, no, I never did. There are a lot of changes you need to make when using honey instead of granulated sugar, so I suggest if you want to attempt that, do a bit of research so you have success!

  11. Orange cake is my husbands all time favorite cake, and I’ve made plenty of orange cakes. This is by far the most AMAZING orange cake I have ever tasted! Delicious and moist crumb with such an aromatic flavor. I am forever grateful to you for sharing the recipe and will never need to try another orange cake recipe again.

  12. I made this cake using the metric measurements by halving the recipe and baking in a 24 cm round cake pan since I didn’t have a bundt pan and we are just two people eating it. I reduced the sugar to 214 grams instead of 300g which is around 28% reduced from the recipe given as I thought it would be too sweet. It turned out delightfully sweet anyway and the reduced sugar didn’t cause any problems with the texture. The pan was unfortunately dark so I reduced the temperature to 155 degrees Celsius (25 degrees lower than given) and it took exactly 1 hour to bake in my oven and the top was also not too dark. I had coated the bottom of the pan with baking paper and the sides with olive oil and a tiny bit of flour. I took the cake out immediately after it was done and put it on a cooling rack so there was no sticking. It’s a great cake with a moist dense crumb. Was certainly better on the second day but my boyfriend couldn’t help but eat one slice on the day it was made.

  13. A new family favourite. Extraordinarily moist and popping with orange flavour. I made it exactly according the directions, and it was magnificent.

    1. Thank you, Pam! We so appreciate you taking the time to let us know how much you enjoyed it.

  14. As an experienced home chef I was very disappointed that I was unable to remove the cake from the pan. I Used a Bundt pan, waited exactly 15 minutes and sprayed the pan well. Thinking now I should’ve floured it even tho the recipe didn’t call for it. I ran a skewer around the pan and when it finally came out it left a huge chunk attached to the pan. Delicious but in pieces, had to display upside down. Very sad.

    1. Natalie, I’m so sorry that the cake stuck. Especially during this holiday time. Did you use baking spray with flour? Because plain cooking spray won’t work well. And I have found that using spray and then flouring it can also cause the cake to stick.

    2. Natalie, I am a professional pastry chef who happens to love this cake. I generally make it in a Turk head pan. This is the way I treat the pan:

      1. Pelt butter
      2. Take a pastry brush—you can even use an unused paintbrush from the hardware store–and paint the inside of the pan with lots of butter
      3. Put the buttered pan in the freezer for 20 minutes
      4. Remove pan from the freezer and butter a second time then back in the freezer
      5. When you are ready to pour the batter into the pan, pull out the twice frozen pan, pour the batter in and put it in the oven to bake
      6. when the baking is done remove the pan from the oven and put it upside down with the center hole of the Turk head pan over the neck of a wine bottle–or something similar.
      7. Wait 15 minutes, loosen the cake from the sides of the pan with an offset spatula if necessary and gently tap onto a wire cooling rack.

      I have never lost so much as a crumb sticking to the side of the pan with this method.

  15. It’s about time I put my own comment in this group. I have a huge navel orange tree in my back yard that produces the sweetest and juiciest fruit and I’m always looking for something different to use them up. I remembered seeing this recipe years ago and so glad I was able to find it again. The words dense and rich just caught my eye. Well, that is exactly how this absolutely delicious cake tastes!!! I admit to taking a teeny tiny piece the first day, but yep, the second and third day, it was addicting! It WAS so rich and I can’t believe how the olive oil made it so bright and fruity!! We loved this cake and will definitely be making this again in the Fall, when my tree produces our oranges again. Thank you!!

  16. Question: I notice there’s no vanilla or almond extract in the recipe. Is that correct? I’m thinking almond extract might enhance. Thoughts?

  17. Hi, I’m from Pretoria and would like to know where does one find fruity olive oil? I’ve got this recipe for a while now but could not yet find fruity olive oil. I hope you can help me in finding it.

  18. I made this for Christmas gifts over the holidays. It turned out beautiful and it was so simple to make. I did make one change and that is I used very sweet fresh tangerine juice for the liquid in the mix. I used 4 oranges for the zest. It exploded with flavor after letting it sit for the two days. It was perfect for sharing and eating. So delicious. This rates a Big 5!!

    1. Love that you made this recipe your own by subbing in fresh tangerines, Vida. Such a perfect holiday gift.

    2. I just made this cake and it came out of the oven beautifully. I’m waiting until tomorrow to cut it though.

      Since I was making this cake, and I had a great batch of lemons to use, I thought I would also try the recipe with them. Everything about the two cakes was the same; recipe, technique, ingredients, pans and oven. The ONLY difference was one was orange, the other lemon.

      The orange cake is solid and beautifully golden. It looks perfect. The lemon version developed a separation between the cake and the outer layer, like a crust that has fallen away, leaving a strange-looking dense cake. I will see how it tastes tomorrow.

      Any ideas why the orange worked but the lemon did not? Any thoughts on using lime?

      1. Ken, I’m delighted you enjoyed the orange cake! Lemons are too acidic. They most likely interacted with the leaveners causing the problem. Lemons and oranges aren’t interchangeable. The same with limes. They aren’t interchangeable.

    1. Hi Evonne. Good question. While we haven’t tried it in a stoneware pan, as long as you have a well-seasoned Bundt or tube-style pan with a 12-cup capacity, it should work. Do let us know how it goes!

  19. I made the orange olive oil cake for Christmas this year. I made it one day ahead. It is absolutely divine. The moistness, the density, the flavor! The crumb is so even and the top so crisp and sweet. I will definitely make it again!

    1. Jane, you made our day letting us know this! Magnificent to hear you love this as much as we do and thank you so very much for taking the time to let us know. Yes, if you can restrain from demolishing it the first day, it does make all the difference. We so appreciate this. And we look forward to hearing which recipe on the site you try next!

  20. Love this recipe and I make it every Christmas. It is such a hit, that I never have enough! I’m considering giving the cake it a gift at Christmastime next year (although I’ll probably have to reduce it mini-bundt size). This year I attempted to make it in mini-loaf pans but it was a bit more crumbly, so I plan to experiment with mini-bundt pans. Has anyone attempted to make it in advance and freeze it? How’d that go? How far in advance do you think I could make it before it starts to deteriorate?

    1. Thank you Liz! It really is a spectacular cake. Do let us know how the experimenting with mini-Bundt pans goes. We’d love to hear what sizes and bake times worked for you. The cake freezes beautifully. We recommend you let it sit for a day to allow the flavor to develop, then wrap the cake well before freezing. It should keep, without deterioration, for up to 3 months.

  21. So I haven’t even finished making it yet….. it smells divine…. the batter was so smooth and flavorful…. I cannot wait to try this Cake. I have no doubt it is sumptuous.

    1. Guess what?! It’s so fabulous! Thank you David. You’re such a talent. I think I’ll make this cake over and over again!

  22. This cake is fabulous! It did, unfortunately, stick to my light colored bundt pan, but I suspect that it was due to the pan having a very complex pattern (Nordicware Jubilee). Maybe too many nooks and crannies for such a moist and sugary cake. Next time, as added insurance, I would also flour the pan! However, even pried out in pieces and eaten shortly after baking, this cake was a revelation and I cannot wait to make it again and taste it after the waiting period. This is going to be a new family favorite.

  23. I have not yet made this cake, so I can’t rate it. I do have a question though. If I made this in advance and wanted to freeze, should I freeze day of baking or let it sit on the counter a day or two and then freeze? Thanks.

  24. This is the most sophisticated cake I have ever made in terms of flavor profile. I made a slight adjustment to the recipe because I didn’t have enough oranges. I found myself 1/3 of a cup short. So like any resourceful person I added Grand Marnier to make up the difference. I also had to reduce the cooking time to 1 hour and it came out perfect.

  25. I made this amazing cake for a labor day BBQ this weekend. It was a hit and my guests said it was “award winning!” I love to bake and have made many great excellent desserts over the years so that’s a real compliment to you! I made it 2 days ahead as you suggested and used orange olive oil that we bought in Italy. I was nervous that the oil would make it come out too orangey ,but no, it was perfect! I also added an orange glaze with orange zest in it which I poured over the top of the cake. It was a good addition and I would make it the same way next time! Thank you for the fantastic recipe! It will be repeated again very soon!

  26. Keep going Mary. Baking is lots of fun and it sounds like you are on the right track. Happy anything I said helped you. Diane

  27. Mary you have now discovered not only the orange cake to beat them all but the value of a good cookbook. Do get David’s Portuguese Table. I have almost 4,000 cookbooks—many were sent to me but I admit to buying at least half of them. I once worked for a chef who published a few cookbooks and bragged that he never put the “whole” recipe in his books. But David’s books are so well done that if you follow the recipe you ALWAYS get the result you wanted. This recipe was one David says was the hardest one of all the recipes in his book to get right. As a pastry chef I say “well yea.” Pastry is technical and requires good technique and impeccable measurements. Look at all all the comments on this one recipe. This much excitement is not entirely due to the great recipe but also to the fact that good directions that work are hard to find!!!! David can do pastry and I have been encouraging him to do a book on Portuguese pastry. As for the “orangie-ness” factor, David says he uses winter naval oranges in this recipe. I use ripe Valencia’s because a friend ships them to me from Indian River, Florida..Keep a little spoon by your mixing bowl and taste the batter. You may want to adjust based on that tiny taste, Pick oranges the size of baseballs.They should be juicy enough to drip down your chin when you suck on them. And have fun with the lime cake! You’ve got a cooking companion in David’s books that won’t let you down.

    1. Thank you, Diane!! Excited to give this another try. I appreciate yours and David’s guidance and suggestions!!

        1. David and Diane, My second attempt with larger oranges/more zest was WONDERFUL !! Oh, it’s heavenly! Now I want to try the Lime Coconut Macadamia and the Chocolate Sour Cream Bundt. So many cakes, so little time! Thank you both, again, for your advice!

    1. Mary, any olive oil that’s fruity, rather than grassy or peppery, is perfect. There are some orange-flavored olive oils, and they’re great but expensive.

    2. Mary if you try this cake, you will be hooked! I am a pastry chef and I have made this cake at least once a month for years. It is absolutely the best recipe out there for Orange cake and I’d also suggest you give David’s lime cake a try. You will not be disappointed.

      Just made the orange cake this morning for a cook out tomorrow. I guarantee not a crumb will come home with me tomorrow night.

      1. Diane, Got me some Colavita and some oranges and “went to town”! De. Lish. Ous!

        So dense and moist. Just the way I like my cakes! Just curious…the orange flavor in mine was very subtle. Some of my testers didn’t know the flavor BUT some who do not like orange desserts liked it!! Just wondering if it’s supposed to be subtle or I should add a little more zest.

        Thank you for encouraging me to make this! Now, because of your suggestion, I’m going to try the Lime Macadamia next!!

        Happy Baking! Glad to find David! Want to read his book! He is an excellent writer!

          1. Wow, David! You know your stuff! Yes, my oranges were small. The ones at my grocery store seem hard, so I bought some at Walmart, when I went for olive oil. They were small but smooth, soft and seemed to be juicy. I zested 6 of them for about 3 Tablespoons of zest. Should I use the large ones, even though they feel hard, with thick peel? Thank you for your feedback. Looks like I might need to try again.

  28. If I were asked to rewrite “How to Make Friends & Influence People,” this recipe would be featured on the first and only page. Because in reality, you really don’t need an entire book. Just this cake.

  29. oh my goodness, this cake was so delicious i couldn’t even believe i made it myself! i love to cook but, aside from an occasional batch of cookies, i am not really a baker. i am 40 years old and this was the first cake i’ve ever made from scratch, and i’ll never look for another cake recipe again! i baked it using Breville’s largest countertop convection oven so i was having anxiety on two counts (first cake and using non-full sized, convection oven), but it came out absolutely perfect, and as moist and dense as i was hoping for! i can’t wait to make it again.

    one quick question… i live by myself so next time i make it, i was thinking of making it in two loaf pans, so i can give one to a friend and not be “forced” to eat the whole thing by myself. would two, 9×5 loaf pans be enough for all the batter? knowing how much the bundt cake rose, how full should i fill the loaf pans? i would use my main over for this one as i’d be concerned about air flow in the Breville using 2 loafs (although that oven can fit a full sized turkey!).

    1. Chris, I’m tickled orange that you liked the cake. And that it was your first baked-from-scratch cake! I do hope you’ll explore and try some of our other incredible cake recipes.

      As far as using two 9-x-5-inch pans, that should be fine. Next time, take a photo and upload it at the bottom of the comment box!

  30. I really believe that you are either a cook or a baker. I consider myself a cook. I always fail at baking because I tweak too much. Here is a picture of before (tweaked) and after (followed recipe exactly.) I had volunteered to bring a cake for the celebration of my friend Sue’s antique shop closing after 30 years, Barking Dog Antiques. I futzed with the recipe and on the left is that attempt. I was mortified so I began again following the recipe exactly (almost). Right is the final product. The only tweak that I added was fresh lemon thyme and then glazed with a combo of Seville orange marmalade and Grand Marnier. Large crowd and it disappeared in seconds.

    Two cakes: the left a failed Portuguese orange olive oil cake, on the right a successful one

    1. Umm, oh my, Christiane! That certainly is an…interesting looking cake on the left! But this is a perfect example of: “Just follow the recipe and you’ll be a baker!” The cake on the right looks marvelous.

  31. I adore this recipe. I usually have to adjust recipes for my fathers taste but I serve this just the way it is. I found your site while looking for a recipe using the most oranges, we have a tree. Everyone who tries this deliciousness falls in love. This is the second holiday season I have made this cake. The first year they came out of the pans perfect but I had trouble this year but do not know why but both cakes stuck in my pans at the top a bit but it did not affect the cake and I made slices to serve from a tray so no one knew my cakes stuck a bit. They were still perfect and got rave reviews from all and is now a regular requested favorite. I followed the cake removal directions but if anyone has any other tips that would be great. Thanks so much for sharing the amazing cake!

    1. Sherry, first I am totally envious: an orange tree? How I wish I had one. Second, the cake can stick for several reasons. If the cake pan has tiny bits of cake still in it from the last time you baked (no judgment on your cleaning ability; it happened to me!), it can stick, Also, what kind of baking spray did you use?

  32. I have not made this yet, what do I use in place of the non stick spray with flour? I do not bake much at all so really do not want to purchase any. Thank you.

    1. low and slow, you can use cooking spray without flour. That will work. If you don’t have that, you can generously brush the inside of the pan with olive oil. I wouldn’t suggest flouring the olive oil, as I did that once, and the cake stuck terribly!

  33. As others have noted this recipe is fantastic. I am a pastry chef and I have made over 2 dozen different orange cakes BUT stop right here and make this one because it is the best of all. Not only is it delicious but it stays moist for days—-should it last that long— by virtue of the olive oil and the crumb is unequaled. This cake is so rich that it was not meant to be iced. However, I make a 10X buttercream and pass it in a small bowl so each person can put a dollup on their slice. It’s kind of an orange hard sauce which I thought of because this orange cake is always on my holiday table with the plum pudding.

    1 stick room temp butter
    8 oz cream cheese
    1 tsp orange zest
    1 T Gran Marnier
    1 T Mexican Vanilla
    4 cups—1 US Box— 10X sugar (powdered sugar)

    Whip the butter and cream cheese with the paddle attachment of a stand mixer until well combined. Add the zest, Gran Marnier and Vanilla and mix well. Add the 10X by 1/2 cup measures until the icing reaches the consistency you desire. If you add too much 10X, thin with Gran Marnier. Pass in a small bowl with a large spoon so each person can put as much on their slice as they like. NOTE: Vanilla is native to Mexico. Mexican Vanilla is available on Amazon. It is floral in flavor and goes very well with orange and lemon. Once you have tried it you will never use another vanilla.

    1. Diane, well, this is going with my cake this holiday season. It sounds absolutely incredible. Thanks for sharing it with our readers. Everyone, I hereby request you try this recipe this Christmas.

    2. Diane, thank you for the icing recipe. Sounds amazing. Do you think baking the cake in 9 inch cake pans and icing it with your icing would make it too rich? I LOVE this cake and would love to be able to use it for a birthday celebration. Thoughts?

      1. Sue as a pastry chef I spend a fair amount of time in the land of flavor excess. I try not to become a permanent resident. This icing will be very rich so make it a thin layer on the outside and cut a smaller piece at first. No on second thought that will not work. This cake is just too good. I say go for it.

  34. This is an amazing cake and the flavor just gets better the day or two after it is baked. I have made it countless times since it was first published here years ago. I often make a glaze with powdered sugar and orange juice and pour over the cake when it’s still warm. My bundt pan is too small to hold all the batter but I use the extra to make a small 6” round cake. It freezes well and tastes just as good defrosted.

    1. Margaret, I’m delighted you have the strength of character to hold out for a day or two. It’s damn hard, but the flavor does improve. Greatly. Tell me, for how long do you bake the 6-inch cakes?

  35. This orange olive oil cake is a monthly favorite in our household for the most delicious reasons! This cake is infused with fresh orange juice, zest, and olive oil that permeates each subtle yet flavorful bite. I make this cake for my husband when he travels so that he has something to snack on that gets better as the days go. While it’s tough to resist eating a fresh slice, this orange olive oil cake is incredible when you allow it to develop the flavor over 2 days. Serve it with a crisp glass of Pinot Grigio on an autumn day, or a snifter of brandy at night. Any day or season, this is a perfect entertaining cake to make ahead of time. David provides recipes in his cookbooks and blog that are so rich in Portuguese heritage. When it comes to his recipes, there’s a no tweaking allowed policy, because they are perfection! If you love his cakes, you must try the chocolate rum savarin and his marble cake. This is where you come to be an inspired chef!

    A white plate with a orange olive oil Bundt cake

  36. This is my husband’s all time-favorite cake now. It really is a labor of love – juicing all those oranges! With a baby and another on the way we don’t have time to cook dessert from scratch anymore, but I’m making it for our 4th anniversary today (the ‘fruits & flowers’ anniversary), and just had to stop and say how beloved it is in our household. We’ve tried many similar dishes at restaurants, but they are never as good. Thanks for this wonderful recipe!

    1. Alyssa, first–Happy Anniversary! I’m honored that my cake is part of your traditions. And thank you for your very kind words. Your husband is a lucky (and well-fed) man!

  37. Hi David.

    This cake is like first loves…it keeps going and coming to one’s mind and life. It is now orange season in south-east Brazil, and I’m going to bake some. This cake is excellent and stands out by itself, but I have used often a thin layer of lightly sweet orange/lemon curd to glaze this cake but could you give a tip on a suitable orange syrup like ‘dressing’ for it? Thanks!

    1. Jorge, you can make a thick orange glaze by mixing confectioners sugar with a bit of orange juice until it’s pourable. Then in one steady motion, pour it over the cake. You can also make a thin orange glaze by boiling 1 cup of orange juice and 1 cup of water until the sugar is dissolved and makes a syrup. Then you can brush the glaze on the cake. Hope this helps.

  38. I was so so so worried about making this cake and how it would turn out. I sent David a DM on instagram to ask some questions and he was SO helpful. I cannot express how much you have to pay attention to the directions. Also, he warned me about the dark bundt pan and I freaked out because I just bought mine and it ended up being darker that it looked online however, I found a fix. I baked my cake at 20 degrees less that the recommendation to make sure I didn’t burn the outside crust and it helped! David, thank you for responding to my messages and thank you for this recipe. I’m not an avid baker but you truly helped give me confidence! I made it today (Wednesday) to be eaten on Friday/Saturday – super excited to see people’s reactions!

    A large Bundt orange olive oil cake sliced into with slices of orange on top on a white plate

  39. My first ever bundt cake! My first ever olive oil cake! It smelled amazing and came out like a dense pound cake (not sure if that is the correct texture in reality, but still tasted great). Was slightly more oily than my preference (not necessarily in taste, but leaving a lot more oil marks on the napkins than I would like) but that may just be the way of the olive oil cake. This was one of the few recipes I found with a ton of zest and juice, and I loved how a true orange flavor came through. But I was really worried about the method here with adding the juice all at the end after already getting the wet/ dry into a lovely batter. Doesn’t this overmix too much (and hence the denser texture, on the border of being too dense)? Is it possible to mix in the juice earlier in the recipe?

    1. Shana, I’m delighted you like the cake. The texture is exactly as you say: a dense pound cake. Th proportion of oil is pretty standard for Portuguese cakes. Did you eat it right away or did you let it sit for a day or two? And, sure, you can add the orange juice earlier, but it won’t make the texture lighter. It’s definitely a dense cake.

      1. Thanks so much David! We definitely followed your advice and waited two days (it smelled so good right out of the oven it wasn’t an easy feat to wait!). This recipe was the first one of tried of yours but it is definitely a keeper!

        A orange olive oil Bundt cake with a slice removed sitting on a red cake plate

        1. Shana, if that is your first Bundt cake, then I have a bakery for you to invest in. That is glorious! Just perfect. Waiting is the hardest part with this cake, but it’s worth it. Wishing you and yours a happy holiday season.

  40. My new go-to cake recipe for keeping EVERYONE thrilled! Everyone who tries it swoons, and it makes the house smell fantastic, to boot.
    One caveat: I found the amount of salt overwhelming — it created a salt crust on my cake. I reduced it to 1/2 t. and that works fine. I also suggest coating the (greased) bundt pan with toasted challah bread crumbs before filling with the batter. It makes the cake easier to release and also adds a nice texture to the cake. I also couldn’t resist adding a little Gran Marnier to the orange juice for some added oomph. Other than that — perfection! Thanks! (Also, FYI: this makes a LARGE cake. If you have a small household, it freezes beautifully.)

      1. Hey, David, I really don’t remember, but it’s quite possible. I guess you’re suggesting that I use table salt instead? Will remember this for future referfence.
        Thanks for taking the time to reply!

          1. Thanks for the clarification, and thanks for that crazy-good-looking chocolate chip cookie recipe this week — I can never have too many in my repertoire! (BTW, I LOVE the website, and this is one of the very few that made the cut when I culled my e-subscriptions.)

  41. The BEST of simple, moist, fruity delicious cakes. I have learned to stock up on the “Zoe” olive oil specifically for this cake. I have made it over a dozen times to lots of request for the recipe. For family and special friends, I have given a copy of the recipe with a small tin of olive oil, so that they can’t go wrong. Thanks for the wonderful stories and recipes!

  42. I made this cake last weekend using kumquats from a friend’s greenhouse — since kumquats are too fragile to zest the normal way without squirting juice everywhere, I juiced enough to get the required 1 1/2 cups liquid, then cut the zest away from the flattened rinds with a sharp knife and finely slivered enough of that to get about 3-4 tablespoons. It came out bright and orangey and beautiful– but I may not have beaten the batter enough or baked it quite long enough, as there was a pudding-dense inner layer in about 1/2″ from the outer edge. Matters not, it still vanished by the end of Day 3!

    1. Lynn, sorry to hear about the the pudding-y middle. Definitely not right. Is your oven properly calibrated? Nonetheless, love that you played with the recipe and was happy with the results!

  43. This recipe would be better if you added about 2 teaspoons of orange zest. The juice alone does not give it a sufficient orange flavor.

  44. Wow, this is delicious. I just made it for the first time and it is the best orange cake of all! As citrus cakes are one of my favorite sweets, I have made quite a few different orange cakes, trying different recipes. Some were too dry, some too heavy, and this one is perfect! I followed the recipe exactly as written, except for a bit of orange liqeur I added (also cut down a bit on the sugar and added a bit more orange juice). Thank you David for this great recipe! I will be making it many times more.

  45. My cake just came out of the oven – what a heavenly aroma! I cannot wait to dig in!

    I’m considering a chocolate glaze for the top – I love the combination of chocolate and orange – before the powdered sugar dusting.

    Wanted to add some Amaretto; alas, none in stock! Next time – for my son’s and future daughter-in-law’s engagement party this coming August.

    Thank you for this divine cake recipe!

  46. I’ve tried many olive oil cakes through the years. Some were good, some not so good. But this cake, without a doubt, is the BEST olive oil cake I’ve ever made. Absolutely delicious, tender, moist, flavorful. FANTASTIC!! Since it’s only my husband and me eating cake, I cut the recipe in half and made it in my Nordic Ware heavy duty aluminum (silver) 6 cup bundt pan. Some recipes can’t be cut in half and I worried a little about the eggs, but no problem. I beat a 3rd egg and only used half, so in all, 2 1/2 eggs. Everything else was easy to cut in half. Two large navels yielded 3/4 juice and I used the zest from both oranges. The cake baked in my oven for 55 minutes and rose perfectly. No need to remove batter if using my pan. It was so hard waiting to try a slice, but as I made it at night, I put the cooled cake under my cake dome and had a slice this morning. BLISS!! I poured some coconut cream on top, just because I love the stuff, but it doesn’t need anything. Some powdered sugar is about it. Thank you so much for this wonderful recipe. You came up with a winner!! This cake takes the cake (I know, a little silly, but I love it that much)!!

    1. Michael, all good questions. I’ve never made it with gluten-free flour, so I can’t tell you how that would work. I do think the Meyer lemons would be fine, though.

    2. I have made this cake (as I have almost all the other cakes in my repertoire) with a gluten free cake flour (Doves Farm, in the UK) as we have celiacs in the family and it worked fine although, as with all gluten-free cakes, it is not as fluffy. It still tastes and looks great.

  47. So, a question about the pan…I’ve recently acquired a couple of drop-dead gorgeous Nordic Ware pans that have that lovely bronze casting/coating that some of their pans do…do those qualify as what you refer to as “dark” pans? I’d love to use this recipe in one of them for my inaugural cake, but don’t want to risk ruining the crumb, losing the intricate detail to stickiness, etc.

  48. I use Stevia as a substitute for sugar in almost everything. Is it possible to use Stevia instead of the sugar in the olive-oil cake? It is our favorite cake and I would like to use a lot less sugar.

    1. Yvonne, I don’t know, frankly. I’ve never used Stevia to bake, so I don’t want to steer you wrong. If you’ve successfully used it in baking before, I’d used the same conversion. And if you do, please tell me what you did, for those readers who would like to do the same.

  49. Best cake in my (vast and storied) repertoire! I have one in my 1930’s oven right now. My neighbor is moving away and I know this will keep in his suitcase!

  50. I live in Portugal for a few years and this recipe is fantastic!!! I lived in an apartment once in a rented room in an elderly Portuguese woman’s home. She used to make orange cake like this and eating this recipe takes me back to those days. I truly have “saudades” of my time in Portugal and this takes me back every time!!! I spent a week on Sao Miguel in the Azores this summer and the bed and breakfast I stayed in had this cake one morning for breakfast… Thank you so much for sharing this recipe!

  51. Hi David! This Portuguese Orange-Olive Oil looks wonderful. I have a 6-cup Bundt version of the recommended Nordic Anniversary 10-15 Bundt pan. I find that 10-16 servings bundt cake is too big. So can I halve this recipe and bake in it in the 6 cup Bundt pan? Thanks in advance for your answer.

    1. Melanie, that should be fine. But just to be safe the first time, remove 1 cup of batter and make that in a separate small pan, if you have it. I’d hate to see you have to scrub burnt batter from the bottom of your oven!

  52. On an earlier post we said we are doing the version with boiled oranges.
    We also now do the new version with pistachio flower and white chocolate ganache, we replaced the orange in this version with lemon. It needs to be a non acid lemon. We use either sfusato di amalfi ( a deep skin lemon) or citrus medica (we call it cedro) I think the englis translation is citron. That is the lemon used for candied fruit here used in many recipes (panettone, panforte, cannoli) so it is quite easy to find.
    So you can use lemon but try to find thick rind and not underipen lemons.

  53. Hi David,

    Just saying thank you for this recipe, my foolproof cake. I just have to say thank you. I have baked this over and over, dropped the sugar, added nutmeg, I’m trying to test this with lemon? Or maybe grapefruit.

    Again Thanks, David. Definitely reblogging, I’ll link back.

    1. AliceDCL, thank you for your kind words. So glad you like the recipe. And thank you for linking off to the recipe rather than copying and pasting. It’s always the best and most polite way! Happy holidays.

  54. This cake is fantastic! Every other olive oil cake I’ve made has been dry and quite flavorless. This one is perfect. I’ve made both the original recipe which I followed exactly and a lemon version. For the lemon version I substituted the zest of two lemons and 1/2 cup of juice mixed with 1 cup of milk. It turned out delicious! Overall a foolproof recipe that is easy and tastes amazing! Thanks David!

  55. I agree this is an absolutely divine recipe. It’s one of the best things I’ve learned to bake. That said, I am in Lisbon for a few days and wanted to compare what I can do to the original that inspired you. Can you give a more exact location for Papas?

    And I’m not finding bolo de laranja in the bakeries I’ve stopped in. In it’s native country, is bolo de laranja a seasonal dish? If so, which season?

    On the road,


    1. dragrider, I checked Google maps, and I believe it’s gone. The address was Rua Limoeiro, 13. I lived just above the antiques store down the street in Largo do São Martinho. While Papas had the cake just about year around, orange cake is often more a winter cake.

      1. We walked that area of town and agree–sadly, so sadly, that Papas is gone.

        On my birthday we made a binge of it and bought the three bolo de laranja we could find.

        None were as potent in their orange flavor as your recipe, so once again you have our compliments.

        And we pine for Papas, your inspiration.

  56. I’m going to try making this today! I’ve really have been trying my baking ability the last month or so. Made an apple coffee cake last night to get rid of some apples. So I searched for a recipe for the use of some oranges and came across this. I’m excited. I hope it turns out as good as it sounds. But I’m confident that if I just stick to the directions I should be fine.

    By the way…I now plan on looking for your cookbook. And plan on returning to this website!

    1. Aimee, first welcome to the site! I do hope you’ll stick around for a long time. And you’re absolutely correct: This cake should turn out perfect if you follow the directions. Ping me when you’re done and tell me how it went.

  57. A question from a reader in Germany… what does it mean to use a 15 cup bundt pan? Would that be a ten inch or 24 cm pan? 11? And right now we only have a darker bundt pan (10 inch)… and I’d like to make this soon… so I suspect I will use the darker pan and cut my losses.

    Warm wishes, Thomas

    1. Thomas, we measure Bundt pans by volume in the States. So that would be 3.5 liters. As far as dimensions, my pan is 10 inches wide (inside) by 4 1/2 inches high, or 25 centimeters (inside) x 11.5 centimeters high. I hope this help.

      1. That does help a lot, David. I’ll see what I can find in the stores as I just discovered that my lone bundt pan, which also doubles as a springform pan because of a removable bottom, is actually 28 cm wide. Far too big for a cake like this and I would hate for this recipe to not work out.

        Side note: Bundt forms are called Gugelhupf Backfom in Germany. And it appears after some research that there are just two sizes: 22 and 25 cm. The vast majority of all these are dark, not light.

        We just started buying oranges in bulk that get shipped to Berlin directly from Sicily and they are the best tasting oranges I’ve had for a long time (and the skin/peel is untreated) so I am really looking forward to being able to make this in the next month!

        Best, Thomas

        1. Thanks, for the info, Thomas. If you have to make it in a dark pan, then, well, you have to. I understand. But there really is a color and taste difference to the cake when made in a lighter pan.

          When you do make it, let me know what you think. My proudest moment with this cake was when I discovered a fancy-pants bakery was serving it in…wait for it…Paris.

  58. This is a perfect recipe as is. But has anyone tried subbing grapefruit juice and zest? Or other acidic fruits?
    I have a grapefruit version in the oven now. Smells divine!

  59. David

    By now this orange cake is becoming popular among the staff, researchers and guests here at REGUA … the ladies in the kitchen entirely approved it. They have ‘tropicalised’ it a bit by adding zested nutmeg and a spoon of fresh ground ginger. This post is to let folks know that the recipe works also very well with self-raising flour. The majority of Brazilian households use self-raising cake flour for baking any kind of cake, so I decided to give it a try because it would be much easier to pass on the recipe for local people here featuring that kind of flour instead of all purpose flour (known here as ‘Trigo’) and baking powder (no baking soda here). It worked very well! – The cake rose a little bit more than usual (7-8 mm) but the crumb was perfect, dense and moist. I now wonder if some of the troubles I had before were due to poor measuring of baking powder (you know… a teaspoon is quite variable from place to place). And yes… I decided to buy a good mixer!

    1. Jorge, that is fantastic news! I’m so thrilled that the cake gets the stamp of approval from the women and that it translates well to a foreign country. I thank you from the bottom of my heart for being such a great New Portuguese Table ambassador. Muito obrigado.

  60. David
    I submitted them via Let’s tawk…. Well, I went back to the kitchen and decided to repeat first the Epicurious lemon-olive oil cake because I live in a nature reserve in the countryside and have limes all around the place. It turned out perfectly. The toothpick test was ok and the cake done this time. The trouble is the oven, it goes either very low or very hot (>280 C), so I decidee to risk a litle bit on the high temperature side and keep an eye on the cake while baking, covered it with foil around 30m baking and took it out around 40. I think that because I’ve open the oven around 30m, it shrunk a little. I inverted the cake and it stood the test and then took it out very nicely when it cooled. So, now I’ll go back to your cake halving the recipe…still have to buy the oranges :). Thank you!

      1. Hi David,

        I finally made the orange cake again, halving the recipe for 3 eggs, 270g flour, 330g sugar, 230ml orange juice and baked it for 45 minutes using the same (and only) oven I have around here. I’ve put aluminum foil over the top at around 30m of baking and it came out perfect. Actually I think it was probably done around 40, but just didn’t want to risk.

        The ‘raisin-like’ crumbs on top of the cake are chopped pieces of apricots (120g), but I didn’t managed to get them distributed randomly through the batter, they “dove” to the bottom and cause some extra stickiness and a small “accident” when I took it out of the cake pan. Usually with another orange pound like cake recipe (with butter) it works by rinsing the chopped apricot pieces in 5-10g of flour and folding then to the batter. Any idea on how to fold pieces of dry fruits or nuts on this type of batter, like English fruit-cakes, so that they don’t drop to the bottom? The apricot flavor combines delightfully with the orange tanginess. A solution would be to add a light sugary orange glaze with these chopped apricot pieces on top.

        I’m quite happy with the result, and will be making it more times (orange season is just starting here in Portugal), especially if I find a standing mixer, because beating those eggs with a hand whisk to ribbon stage takes a little more than 40 minutes (that is why I halved the recipe to 3 large eggs :)! – Thank you very much for sharing this delicious recipe!

        Jorge's Orange-Olive Oil Cake

        1. Jorge, first you must be commended for 40 minutes of hand beating. I think there’s an Olympic category for such a feat.

          Anytime I want to add dried fruit, chocolate chips, nuts, etc. to a cake batter, I first rinse them with water and toss them in flour. Then into the batter they go. But that’s for a butter-based cake. This oil-based cake (which between the orange juice and olive oil contains a lot of liquid) may have a different density, and therefore the pieces do a swan dive. I suggest cutting the pieces much smaller and seeing if that helps.

  61. Does the cake go into the refrigerator when cooled, or is one supposed to leave out on the counter in a covered cake holder?

  62. Wow…thank you very much David, for such a quick answer! I think you’re right…I will follow your advice on the oven.

    The cake I inverted immediately was another one: olive oil & lemon chiffon-cake from Epicurious, which is why I inverted it promptly. That was not your recipe. Yours turned out a beautiful cake, easy to unmold (have you seen the two photos?). However, in both cakes the default test failed to reveal a still unfinished baking batter. This is what really struck me! – I think now that oily batters may reach an almost done stage where they become dense enough not to adhere to a metal blade. I will try another material soon.

    I know that mixing by hand takes more time. So, this is how I have done it: It took me something like > 30 m to whip the 5 eggs, 1 Tspn orange juice and the sugar to the ‘ribbon-stage’ (ponto de letra) using a medium-large silicone balloon whisk, I guessed that was like doing ‘Pão-de-Ló’ starting from whole eggs (yolk and white not separated); then I emulsified 1/5 of the olive oil and 1 Tspn of Nutmeg + orange zest into the whiped egg mixture, then proceeded to add the flour (sifting over batter) alternating with the rest of olive oil as stated on the recipe; lastly added the orange juice. I did this more folding than beating, until ingredients were combined and the batter turned out smooth and mostly homogenous. I DID FORGOT to add the SALT!

    Baking for me is like doing experimental research (I’m an Insect Taxonomist), so I will try again halving the recipe (3 eggs are much easier to whip to ribbon stage in a similar fashion that a stand-mixer would do) to a cake the size of those I usually bake. I guess it will take between 45m-1 hour to bake. You might have a point on batter handling and so I would like to downsize the problem just to oven and cooking time issue, getting rid of wrong doings while preparing the batter.

    If I get it right this time, the next I will add a variation that works wonderfully with saturated fat based popular Brazilian orange cakes: add 160g (average 1 cup) of raisin size chopped dried apricots (alperces, damascos). It does wonders with the orange flavor.

    Thank you very much again David!

    1. Sorry, Jorge. I misunderstood about the inverting.

      I look forward to hearing about your results. For the next time I’d suggest a few things: You don’t need to sift the flour. You also don’t need to fold in the orange juice. The batter’s not that delicate, like a pao-de-lo.

      I didn’t get the pictures. It’s best to submit them here: Let’s Tawk.

  63. David, I’m from Lisbon and have been living in Brazil for almost two decades. My grandmother from Trás-os-Montes used to bake mostly with olive oil…so I decided some time ago to go from butter to olive oil in cookies and cakes.

    I’ve just baked your Orange Olive Oil cake, and I’m using this fabulous cake to ask some questions related to baking olive oil cakes. I have a kind of rustic industrial gas oven that is a ‘quick’ oven type. Usually medium to larger cakes take 30-40 m to bake in it. I have no idea on how much the temperature rises inside it, but I could go near 300 C… so for medium temperatures I just switch the maniple to ‘half’ position empirically. The cake came very nice for a ‘first-time’, but featuring a denser crumb than most pictures I’ve seen from it in such a way that it might still be a little bit undone after 1 hour. I took the cake tree times out of the oven, the last two times the standard ‘insert-a knife’ test came clean but something told me the cake was still undone and the thumb-pressing test flattened the surface but it didn’t ‘came-back’ to its original resting position. After 1:10 h I decided to take it out for once, especially because even with aluminum foil, it was starting to burn on top. My distrust from the ‘toothpick’ test came because the same thing happened with a kind of lemon olive oil chiffon cake recipe (from Epicurious website) that I tried before. I made the standard test for cakes and it was ok… so took it out of the oven and inverted it immediately (alas…chiffon cake) just to see its interior (miolo) drop off with a disgusting sound… actually the outer ‘skin’ of the cake clunged to the pan as expected for a chiffon. A close inspection of the crumbled baked batter revealed it was still undone, very dense and similar to some olive oil ‘empadinhas’ (small pies) my grandmother also did.

    My question is: can the universal ‘toothpick’ test for cakes be reliable in Olive oil cakes? If so, what might have gone wrong?

    I send a photo to see how dense it is (and I have beaten the eggs and sugar by hand until ribbon stage as for a ‘pão-de-ló’!) and one can see a darker area where the batter is more dense. Is this because of low temperature, low cooking time…or may be just a more humid batter?- I followed the recipe quantities exactly. It is the second time (100% of my tries) the standard test for cake baking time fails with an olive oil cake!

    1. Hi, Jorge. I think there are several things going on here.

      1. I suspect your oven isn’t calibrated properly. Without a true dial with numbers, setting it halfway is a guess. With baking, everything is a formula–like chemistry. Accuracy is crucial. I’d suggest buying several oven thermometers and place them at different spots in the oven. Set the oven for 350°F and let it heat completely, about 30 minutes, Check the thermometers, If they’re off (high or low) that’s part of the problem.

      2. The cake can go as long as 1 1/4 hours in oven. If it was burning on the top, place the foil on sooner.

      3. The recipe says to wait 15 minutes before turning out the cake, but you inverted it immediately. That will cause it to stick because it hasn’t cooled down enough to pull away from the sides a bit.

      4. Did you use a nonstick pan? That is very important.

      5. The mixing times in the recipe are specified for a stand mixer. Mixing by hand would take a lot longer–and a lot more work! It’s possible you didn’t get to the right stage for the cake.

      6. As far as the toothpick/or cake tester (I use bamboo skewers) test, it does work–at least for this cake.

      Bottom line, I think you under beat the cake, baked it in too cool of an oven, didn’t cover it with foil early enough, and didn’t let it bake as long as it needs.

  64. I have so far made this cake to be served at three weddings, including my own last October. I got nothing but compliments on it, and it is now my standby cake-for-an-occasion. Thank you so much!

  65. I made this last night and marbled it with a molasses cake batter. I love the two flavors together and it has a fantastic texture. Thank you as always.

  66. David – Thank you for this fabulous recipe! I was specifically looking for a recipe where I could make the best use of some beautiful tree ripe California Navel Oranges and some wonderful Extra Virgin California Olive Oil. As I did not have a very large light colored bundt pan that would fit all of the batter – I used 2 medium and 3 small bundt molds that I Iightly greased with some olive oil and dusted with flour. I adjusted the baking times of each until finished. All of the cakes released and turned out great. Most importantly, the taste was amazing! We are a small family, so I double wrapped and froze one of the medium bundt cakes. I am sure that it will hold well, and we can enjoy this wonderful cake once again in the near future!

  67. I bake, a lot, and this is by far my all-time favorite citrus cake. Silky, dense, moist…fabulous all around! I will be sharing my experience with this cake on my blog tomorrow. Can’t wait for my readers to have a bite of it!

    Orange Olive Oil Cake Recipe

    1. Wow! Wow! Wow! Kate, this is stunning. Simply stunning. I can certainly see why it’s become a family standby. Many thanks for taking the time to share it, both with us and with your readers.

  68. once again, I’m wondering if you’ve ever tried to freeze the cake and if it freezes well?

    1. Hello bit late, if you look above, you’ll see one of our readers said the cake freezes beautifully. I have never tried it, as it never lasts for than a a few days!

  69. David: The cake looks amazing–could you make it w/almond flour? I’m not gluten-sensitive but my best friend is, and I’m looking for an incredible cake for her b’day. Thanks so much!

    1. Hey, Annie. Some people have. I haven’t, so I can’t stand by that variation. One reader used pistachio flour and loved it. (Could you die?!) I say give it a go, and if it works, let us know in a comment for future readers! (And if it does work, you won’t be disappointed.)

  70. Is this supposed to be with 5 eggs or 5 egg *yolks*? Recipe says 5 eggs but video seems to say yolks.

      1. Thank you! I made it and it came out great. If I wanted to make a lemon version of this cake, could I just substitute lemon zest and fresh lemon juice for the orange zest and juice?

        1. Hi cakequestion. No, you can’t make a one-to-one substitution. The reason is lemons are far more acidic than oranges. I’d try 3/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice and the zest of 6 to 8 large lemons. That should be a good starting point. Please write back and let me know how it turned out!

          1. Thank you so much. I’m sorry I have so many questions. I loved this cake and want to experiment, but am not an experienced baker. Could I make this cake in a loaf pan also? I promise this will be my last question! And I will definitely update after trying the lemon version.

  71. Where I live (Perth, WA), the navel oranges are noticeably smaller than what I remember in the US. Can you please let me know the approximate weight that is expected for the 4 to 5 naval oranges?

  72. I tried this recipe and it came out really awesome and flavorful cake. It’s delicious!! David, thank you very much for sharing this wonderful recipe.

  73. We teach this cake every once in a while (not really Tuscan but it has an equivalent). We make this recipe differently: the oranges are boiled for 2 hours and then, thinly sliced, drained and stirred. This makes the flavour a little more bitter because of the cooked skin, but the texture is much more dense and it is easier to get it right. It also has less flour and calls for ground almonds. There is a cover of chocolate glaze that works perfectly with the taste of the oranges.

    PS on our books suggest a Sephardic Easter origin.

    1. Manuela, that sounds lovely. Some Portuguese cooks add ground almonds to orange cakes, as they’re plentiful in the south, where the orange groves are. And I’ve used a chocolate ganache glaze on my cake. It makes it entirely non-Portuguese, but it’s still great.

      1. Chocolate has and has not to do with Portugal. It really depends when you set the timing for being original or not. Chocolate came in with tomato and potatoes, eggplants, vanilla and no one can say that they do not belong to Portugal, or Italy. Certainly Portugal has more historical relation with Central and South America than Switzertland, where we assume chocolate is traditional!

        We did an experimental variation, instead of almond flour we did pistachio flour and white chocolate glazing. Some judged it the best cake they ever had!

        1. Manuela, I love the idea of pistachio flour. I have GOT to try that. Regarding chocolate and Portugal, certainly they crossed paths, especially with Portugal’s navigation past. What I meant is you don’t see many chocolate desserts in classic Portuguese cookbooks. Egg sweets are what won out.

  74. David, to my ears, you seemed to express a measure of disdain for the chiffon cake in your story. Having never baked or eaten this cake or a chiffon, I was wondering if you could tell me what you feel distinguishes them as they are both based on an oil as the fat component. As a person with a food allergy, I’m really interested in confections that don’t require butter.

    1. Chris, no disdain at all. A chiffon cake is a mighty and lovely cake. It just wasn’t the cake served at the Lisbon resto. A chiffon cake is a much lighter cake, and gets its lift and lightness from the beating of egg whites until they’re stiff then folding them into a batter made with the yolks. Here the eggs are beaten in whole. While the cake isn’t heavy at all, it’s denser and firmer than a chiffon cake. Hope this helps.

      1. David, I tried this recipe on the weekend, and I’m adding my voice to the rapturous commenters’ chorus. It’s moist, dense, sweet and orangy, just as advertised. I think the texture might be similar to pound cake. My lab notes: while baking the cake rose and would have overflowed the pan had I not divided some into a separate mini tin earlier. Perhaps my bundt pan is smaller. My cake was done (and getting quite dark at the edges) at 1 hour, but ovens vary. As it baked, the top split early on – I don’t think I care.

        As I mentioned, I find the cake quite sweet, and as you mentioned in one of your podcasts, the Portuguese prefer their confections even sweeter than Americans. What’s the effect of reducing the sugar, chemically and mechanically? Experimenting is expensive so I’m asking you first.

        Finally, does this recipe absolutely require a bundt pan or can it be made in other vessels, i.e. 8/9-inch round/square, 9×13-inch, cupcake tins, etc.?

        Thanks again for publishing this recipe.

        1. Hi, Chris. So glad you liked the recipe. It is a winner. As to your notes, Bundt pans really vary in size. This cake need a big one. Mine is a 12- to 15-cup pan. It’s the only cake I make in it. And, yup, you can make it in other pans. I’ve seen it made in loaf pans, cake pans, brownie pans, you name it. You have t adjust baking time, obviously. As to the browning, it could be because your oven runs hot. My cake is never done at one hour, so there’s a clue. And the splitting…well…I love that. Plus it makes no matter, as the cake is flipped and sits for at least two days before you eat it.

          Now, as to using less sugar. Sugar does all sort of things to the cake. It adds sweetness, moisture, structure, etc. I’ve never cut the amount of sugar, so I can’t really give you a hard and fast answer. But my suggestion is to use 1/2 cup less the next time. That shouldn’t hurt the cake at all. If that’s still too sweet, I’d try another 1/2, but no more. That would be more than 1/3 the sugar, which will change proportions, volume amounts, and chemistry.

  75. OMG. David, this cake came out so beautifully. I love many things about it. First, it has a lovely, lightly brown crust which adds flavor, then the inside is moist and tender with a delightful orange flavor that is light and refreshing. It is a welcome flavor in the frigid, snowy Minnesota winter. I probably have made hundreds of Bundt cakes (they are my favorite thing to make) and this one is a thing of beauty! Thanks so much for sharing it. I will be making it for many of my friends and will sing your praises!

  76. SMITHBITES, the cake is gaw-geous! I’m so happy that you and your family enjoyed it. It’s one of my favorites, and it’s also one of my most requested desserts!

  77. The Professor bought me your cookbook a year ago for Christmas, and THIS recipe was the first one I made–took it to the nursing home for Grandma’s 91st birthday last year and everyone raved . . . And when we were asked to join our Cincinnati family for a Spanish Tapas-style New Year’s Eve bash, this cake was specifically requested for dessert . . . David, I cannot tell you how fabulous it was. Thank you, thank you, thank you for putting the recipe in your book! It really is one of the best cakes ever–moist but not heavy, silky and a bright citrus flavor that is pure heaven during the winter months here in the Midwest. People who said they were too full from dinner kept going back and taking little slices of the cake . . . there wasn’t a crumb left anywhere!

    Orange Cake

  78. I’m going to try making this later in the month for my birthday, but first I have an olive oil question to add to the many above! Is the olive oil relevant for the olive aspect (for the flavour) or the oil aspect (for the texture)?

    I scour import shops to find Portuguese extra-virgin olive oil, because I prefer the flavour (I grew up in Portugal, it’s no coincidence), but the flavour is reasonably strong. ‘Mild’ olive oils in UK shops tend to look and taste no different from sunflower oil. I’d hate to use my precious stash, only to find that it ruined the cake!

    1. Briony, classically produced Portuguese olive oils are too strong for this cake. The new oils, which have a milder flavor, are best. But there is indeed a difference between mild (not light) olive oil and safflower oil. So I’d opt for a good fruity Italian or Spanish olive oil, and keep your Portuguese stash for wonderful bacalhau dishes!

  79. Made this cake for a new year’s eve party. It was dense and moist and fabulous! The orange flavor was not as strong as I wanted, but I think my oranges were not of the best quality. Or maybe I got lazy with the zesting and didn’t add enough. Also I only baked it for 65 minutes. Served it with St. Cecilia sauce which is whipped cream with powdered sugar, egg yolk and Cointreau to taste. And as others have stated, it was even better by day 3. Think I’ll go have another piece right now! Thanks for this recipe.

    1. Sherri, so glad you enjoyed the cake. It’s one of my very favorites. The mild orange flavor would definitely be due to the zesting. You need to get all of it. And it also could be due to the size of the oranges. But this time of year, navel oranges are in season, so they should be pretty large, hence more zest!

  80. This cake looks delicious. I love baking with olive oil. My favorite here in Spain is a cake made with chunks of apple, yogurt, and extra virgin olive oil. I love tasting the oil in the cake. Thanks for this recipe, I’ll be trying it soon!

  81. To follow up on my previous post, I did carefully measure my dry ingredients so I don’t believe that is the issue. My baking time was longer than specified in the recipe but that may have been due to my extra liquid addition to compensate for the doughy nature I encountered. Of course, baking time is dependent on many factors so I simply tested along the way until the toothpick came out clean. The texture and crumb of the cake is wonderful. The taste is somewhat bitter but it is a keeper nonetheless! Using a fruity olive oil this is I am sure a wonderful cake to make and I will try it again soon.

    1. Kathy, I’m glad you liked the cake nonetheless. If you make it again, and I hope you do, please take some pictures and send them to me. Maybe I can help figure things out. Also, regarding the bitterness, I’m sure you didn’t grate any pith into the batter?

  82. I tried to make this and it is baking as I write this note. I found a problem with the proportioning in that there was not enough liquid to support the flour/oil additions. The batter began to turn to dough. I had to add the orange juice plus more liquid before the flour/oil could be completely added. In the end it did appear as batter. The second thing I would like to add is that I used a medium priced Extra Virgin Italian olive oil of a non-fruity tasting character. I am afraid that while this oil is good for table use it is not appropriate for a cake. I tasted the batter and it had a bitter overtone. We’ll see how the cake is, but I would recommend that one consider the character of the olive oil they use for appropriateness in this recipe.

    1. Kathy, I’m so sorry you had some problems with the cake. First, how did you measure the flour? If you have a heavy hand, you can add almost up to an extra cup of flour. It’s always best to stir the flour with a knife, gently dip the measuring cup into the flour, and sweep the excess off with the knife. It’s called the dip and sweep method. And, yes, you want to use a very good, fruity olive oil. Poor quality oil can indeed taste bitter. Please let me know how it turns out.

  83. I made this cake here in Montauk NY tonight! It stole the spot light from the entire dinner party! I highly recommend this cake. I added the seeds of 2 vanilla beans just because I needed to use them before they dried out & I added some orange slices to the bottom of the bunt pan and sprinkled ginger on the top just before baking and the flavors really complimented each other with a great balance! The original make of this cake would have been perfect as is!

  84. David, this is definitely on my list to make. But my bundt pan is, I’d say, a medium color (non-stick by OvenStuff). I also have an aluminum angel food cake pan (that is not nonstick). Which should I use?


    1. Hi Neera, definitely the Bundt pan. But make sure to really coat it well with the cooking spray. You want it plop out perfectly, with no crumbs clinging to the pan.

  85. It would be very helpful if you could recommend easily available brands for certain ingredients like olive oils (I realize that this will involve extra work in doing taste tests, but it would be VERY helpful.  Not everyone has access to a gourmet store that does olive oil tastings, and we can’t all afford to buy every olive oil at Whole Foods or Trader Joe’s to see which one is the mildest).  Thanks for a great website!

  86. Soniep44, I developed the cake for olive oil and have used nothing but. I think the flavor would definitely be different if you use canola. If you try it, I’d love to know your results.

  87. This cake was amazingly delicious! I noticed on the video that one of the cakes was glazed instead of having powdered sugar sprinkled on it. What do you recommend for a glaze?

  88. An interesting recipe that I shall try over the next few weeks.

    What really makes me, along with all our family, laugh is the name Bundt–which until the “My Big Fat Greek Wedding” film none of us had ever come across–always referring to the tin as a tube tin. Thanks for the memory … oops recipe.

  89. Looks like a great recipe which I am definitely going to try. One question though, can I use a normal cake tin instead of a Bundt tin?

      1. Hi David,

        I have just made it and it’s still baking. It’s been nearly 2 hours. The worrying thing is that a small part of the middle section is not baked yet. Not sure what to do. Just gave it another 10 minutes without increasing the temp. Afraid if I increase the temp, the cake will be black up the top. Any advice?

        1. Wow, that’s far too long. In the Bundt pan, it’s about 1 to 1 1/4 hours. Cover the top with foil and keep baking. How big is the pan? (When it comes to baking, it’s always best to follow directions to the T. I’ve messed up so much trying to shortcut or use different pans. It’s frustrating.)

              1. Or I was thinking I could halve the recipe. Would that be ok do you think? My cake pan was a little bit too small for the whole recipe so much so that the cake rose a fare way out of the cake tin. I don’t think I can wait til tomorrow to try it. :) Waiting for it to cool now.

                1. Sharon, it’s always best to have the right pan for the job. But if you can’t wait, you can try to halve the recipe. Just make sure the batter comes up no more than two-thirds the way up the pan.

  90. OMG this looks fantastic! I work at an olive oil and balsamic vinegar store/tasting room, and I found your blog while looking for recipes to sample in the store to show customers the amazing things you can make with olive oil. I wonder if you think the orange juice could be replaced with something else when oranges aren’t in season? I think I’d like to try making it with our Blood Orange olive oil (made by pressing whole Tunisian blood oranges in the same press along with the olives).

    1. Jaime, you can certainly replace the orange juice, but you would also have to replace the zest, too. What to replace it with? Perhaps some other citrus, but the problem is all proportions would be different. I’ve make the cake year round with oranges on hand and have never had a problem!

  91. Hey, I was just redirected here by the pioneer woman (and I’ll be bookmarking this blog btw:) I was just wondering how you’d go baking this in a sheet pan? For bite size portions? Thanks! It looks wonderful!

    1. Erin, first welcome! Second, good question! And one to which I wouldn’t hazard a guess without trying it myself. I don’t even know if there’s enough batter for a half sheet pan. Clearly the cooking time would be less–considerably. FWIW, I’ve cut 40 samples from the Bundt version for readings at bookstores, and it was fine. My biggest fear of baking in a sheet pan: It would dry out from all that exposed surface.

  92. David, thank you for this cake. It is a gem of a recipe and I am smitten by the fact that it improves over the day or two after it is made — delicious *and* convenient to schedule do not always come in the same package, as well you know.

    I made it just this week for a friend’s birthday celebration and served it with two sorbetti, a Sicilian almond/orangeflower and a caramel/Cointreau. Not quite Portuguese, perhaps, but certainly not too far away, either.

    1. Hanne, I’m delighted you enjoy the cake so much. It a true winner for us here at Chez Leite. And don’t fret over your additions. I think they’re marvelous!

  93. Love the recipe and it turned out marvelously divine with tea in the morning. As suggested, kept the cake for two days before digging in and it tasted even better the day after.

  94. Making this today, to be served on Friday for my three-year anniversary. May serve with some sugared-Rosemary grapes. I’ll let you know how it came out. So excited to make it; even more excited to taste it! I love olive oil in desserts!

    1. Renee, well, happy, happy third! May you have many more. All I can say is follow the recipe exactly and definitely use a light colored pan. Makes a huge difference.

      1. So…that cake came out PHENOMENAL. I usually need some sort of icing/filling, so I was surprised by how moist it was and that it did not need ANY topping.

        The BF loved it, too. Thank you so much!

  95. David, I made your orange cake and it was SOOOOOO GOOOOD! Of all the deserts served after our Christmas dinner, my orange cake cleaned house! There were no leftovers! Muito obrigado e um Feliz Ano Novo!

  96. David: Thanks so much. I have to say that this is my favorite cake. You make us all look fabulous. JT

  97. Hi, David. Just made the nutmeg cake. Very tasty; Thank you. However, your Orange Olive-Oil cake “how they say?”….definitely takes the cake. :) My guests always love the intense orange flavor. However, I’d like to cut the recipe in half and make it in a loaf pan. Any suggestions on how long the bake time would be in the smaller pan? Thanks for your help, as always – and the very best to you during the holiday season and as well as incredible 2011.

    1. Hello, Joan. If you make enough batter to fill a 9-by-5-by-3-inch loaf pan, try baking it between 45 minutes and an hour. Check it carefully the first time, so that you don’t overbake it.

  98. David, another great recipe. Thanks for the great seasonal Hanukkah-Palooza web site. We love your book and the free samples at your book signings. We attend a number of chef book signings and clearly not all are approachable and kind-hearted as you. Happy Holidays

  99. Hey David:

    I think I’ve found the recipe for a Saturday afternoon Chanukah party! Will follow your recommendation: bake on Friday and serve next day. I know you mentioned it should sit covered overnight. Does it need refrigeration? Leftovers?

    Best of luck with the book. I remember when…

    – Jeff

    1. Hello, Jeff! So good to hear from you after all this time. (Folks, Jeff was part of the LC team almost a decade ago.)

      Regarding the cake, no need for refrigeration. If you have leftovers, just keep the uneaten portion wrapped or in a cake dome, and you’ll be fine. Happy Holidays.

      1. Hi David, thanks for the recipe for the orange olive oil cake. Can I the replace olive oil with Omega III sunflower oil?

        1. Hello, Glynnis. I can’t vouch for the sunflower oil, as I never made the cake with it. But try it, and let us know how it turns out. It would be good learning for all of us.

  100. The cake looks scrumptious! I’ve had your book for almost one year, inspired to pick it up after making the rounds in Newark’s Ironbound. After seeing the Today Show clip (who was your helper, by the way?), I will definitely put this on the long list of what to cook next. I’ve really enjoyed the Eggs poached in Tomato Sauce, and the salt cod hash entree’s. Also brought back to the Midwest a slew of fresh Portuguese style sausages from the area, too. (Nothing like that in Chicago.) Thanks for a culinarily inspiring book!

    1. Hi Jackie. I hesitate to recommend one because there are so many on the market, and not every cook can get the same. I often use Fairway brand, which is through our local store. But you want a fruity oil; a peppery or grassy one would throw off the flavor. The best thing to do is check out the oils when your local store has an olive oil tasting and find one that you like.

  101. I tried making your Orange Cake, just because growing up my mom always made it but with butter and it’s always been one of my favorite cakes. So I figured I would try it a different way, and I love it! My moms recipe comes out a little like a orange flavored pão de lo. I like the texture on this cake much better. Thanks again for all your recipes…all of them are so close to home and it’s much easier reading your recipes than asking my mom and her telling me, “A little of this, a little of that.” Congrats on appearing on the Today Show.

  102. Finally got around to trying your cake and mine side by side. The first day, mine was better.The second day, about even, and on day three, yours ruled supreme.

    Then I did a second test, with six tasters plus myself: Mine was baked the same day, and yours was baked three days earlier. Your cake came out slightly ahead.

    Conclusion…if it’s to be consumed the same day, I’ll bake mine. If baking ahead…I’ll bake yours. It’s good to have both recipes. The textures of each were different. I liked yours, as I like a heavier/denser cake than most people I know. To me that is home baked; the lighter cakes generally remind me of a box mix. (Yuk.)

  103. Congrats on the Today Show appearance! Oranges will soon be in season, and I look forward to trying this recipe–I promise not to change an iota, considering how hard you and Cindi worked on it! :)

    1. Clotilde, so lovely to hear from you! Thanks for the kind words. Do let me know how it turns out. And remember: let it sit for at least 24 hours. The flavors really develop. My next attempt is to use the batter to make financiers and muffins. Curious to see how it turns out. I got the idea from Bianca Henry Borges, the food stylist on the show.

  104. Fresh and Fruity! Wonderful job, you looked great on the TODAY SHOW and the recipe is obviously a winner! I hadn’t known about using a light colored bundt pan, that is a great tip. I do have a question though, why kosher salt? I see a lot of recipes use it and I’m curious as to why. Would our salt from Cervia work too?

    Thank you,


    1. Hi Lael, Thanks. I use kosher salt because it’s what I’ve always used, and I don’t like having one salt for cooking and another for baking. (Many bakers use table salt in baked goods.) You can use other salts, but you need to check them by weight, because different salts have different densities and crystal sizes. Also some salts have a saltier taste, too. I figured kosher is a relatively constant product.

  105. You are improving with experience on those guest spots on TV! Congrats. I also have an Olive Oil Orange cake recipe, clearly similar, but requires Valencia oranges as it’s SPANISH. Got the recipe from chef Luis Zambrano of Viva in Glendale, Massachusetts while researching a story for foodie mag Dinnerwhere. Had a blast translating his rough notes to decent copy. Didn’t bake it as many times as you did, however. You rule David!

  106. Funny–I just got a call from the local kitchen ware store THIS MORNING that the same Nordicware Bundt Pan I had ordered through them just arrived. The Orange-Olive Oil cake will be the “initiation cake” for the pan!

    1. Chiyo, please write and tell us how it comes out. I find that Nordic pan to be the best one for the job.

      (Oh, BTW, I went to college in Rochester. Visited the gallery many a times.)

      1. I’m going to make a GF version on wed. I’ll have pictures on FB and Twitter around 5 ish pst. Looks great.

  107. Hi, David. I’m eating a piece of “our” :) cake…which freezes beautifully by the way. So—of course, I thought of you. I’ll get over to the Chinese Grocery store and will send you the address as soon as I get it. JT

  108. Popped out of bed. Ran to the refrig. Cut a tiny sliver. Now: Heaven! WOWO. This cake is REALLY fabulous. Texture—different from traditional cakes; Orange flavor—exceptional. Thank you, David Leite for baking 13 cakes to nail this. Worth it. I’m skipping the egg white experiment. I’m afraid to mess with perfection. :)

    Thanks so much for personally answering our questions. You KNOW we appreciate that.

    BTW – Did you ever go to Jeffrey’s Meat Market for his butchering class? AND…did you find the Chinese grocery store for the chestnuts? If you didn’t–I’ll get the exact address for you. Winter’s coming. Perfect time for your sauteed chestnuts, onions and bacon!!

    1. My dear Joan. I’m so glad you enjoyed the cake as is, without any fiddling. To me it’s one of the best cakes I’ve ever developed. And thanks to Cindi Kruth, my trustworthy and hard-working assistant, who never flagged once in those 13 trials.

  109. Hi, David:
    This sounds wonderful. Who can resist the taste – and smell – of orange. Question: Can I use 10 egg whites instead of the 5 eggs? I’d like to cut cholesterol if possible. Do you think it will change the taste/texture? FYI—so far—one of my signature deserts is is Ina Garten’s lemon yogurt cake. I substitute egg whites for eggs there; no difference. I need to branch out…and I’ve tried two chocolate cakes recently which have not worked well. I guess I’m destined to present fruit—and lighter—options.

    Help is always appreciated; thank you.


    1. Hi Joan, yes, it will change the texture. The cake is marvelously dense. Using egg whites will change the structure of the batter, making it a bit tougher (yolks provide fat and tenderness). I think the only way to really know is to play. I’d make it once the way it’s written—so you know how it’s supposed to be—and then with whites and see the difference. It might be you like it.

      1. Oh…what’s a few egg yolks! :) I’m going to give it a whirl for my next dinner party. Baking is always sooo exact. Thanks, David. (I think Ina’s worked okay because it had yogurt and oil…very dense…but tons of other moisture in there.)

        1. Joan, this cake has a lot of oil in it, too, but without having tried your version, I’d hate to give you the thumbs up. But do write back and tell us the results. I’m sure your fellow readers would benefit from your experiment.

  110. This recipe is nothing new to me! I first had it when I was five years old! It made such an impression on me at 5 that when I had to bake a cake for competition in high school I used the orange cake recipe I had saved for so long. I’m not 46. My own recipe for it involves one less egg (XL) and regular vegetable or olive oil, plus 8 oranges worth of zest. It is a nice cake. Those who have served it to me are usually from the main land or Madeira Island area.I have always thought of it as a “Portuguese cake”

    I shall have to try your version to see how it plays out.

  111. Hello there, I’ve been looking for cakes with olive oil and found your webpage. My friend Teri and I have had much success with your Chocolate Chip Cookies (they were gobbled up straight out of the oven by her daughters), so I’m looking forward to trying this recipe out. Will let you know how it turns out. Thanks.

  112. David,

    I was just introduced to you and your website today. Concerning the Portugese Orange-Olive Oil Cake, the video calls for 2 cups sugar and the website lists 3 cups sugar. Would you please clarify the amount of this ingredient?

    I can’t wait to try this.



  113. David,
    can you please tell me what is the best olive oil (by brand) to use for this cake as there are so many to choose from.
    Thank You

    1. Hi, Pedro. I’ve used many different brands, some that are made by local artisans or stores. And not all brands are available everywhere. What you’re looking for is a lighter, fruitier oil. Heavy, overly aromatic oils will throw off the flavor of the cake. One thing you can do is go to olive oil tastings in your area. That will give you an idea of different flavors.

  114. Well I made the cake with 3 cups of sugar and it was a big hit. Several guests wanted the recipe. Although it was fine on its own, we served it with raspberry coulis and creme chantilly. Served the remainder a few days later with sliced strawberries. Perfect both times.

  115. David, I made your olive oil cake yesterday, followed the recipe very carefully. It smelled wonderful and we’ll know the results Sunday. So I thought I’d take a look at your video, which I had not watched before I made the cake. Was I surprised when you had Sonia beat 5 eggs and then add 2 cups of sugar. OMG, I made a mistake becase I added 3 cups of sugar. Then I went back to the recipe itself and sure enough it calls for 3 cups, not 2.

    Well I don’t plan to remake it before Sunday and now I don’t know which is your formula, 2 cups or 3 cups of sugar. I’ll send a report on the 3 cup version sometime after Sunday.


  116. In Peru we have very good oranges and olive oil, so your cake should come out fantastic.
    Could I have the recipe?

  117. This was a big hit at our Christmas dinner! Absolutely delicious! Moist with great orange flavor and a lovely light crust. My daughter commented to her boyfriend, “We need to get a bundt pan!” :-) Thanks for the great recipe, David.

  118. I just made this for Christmas dinner tomorrow. Oh, my! It is gorgeous and smells wonderful. It will be hard to wait.

  119. David – I made this cake and it was simply amazing. The video is not only entertaining (you really have a great TV presence), but it was very helpful. I would have doubted myself about the texture of the batter being so thin, but of course it worked out perfectly. I hope you don’t mind I wrote a bit about it here. I also just got hold of your book. Don’t know what took me so long. I can’t wait to get cookin’. Looking forward to seeing you in February at the Roger Smith conference!

    1. Thanks for the kind words, Tae. I’m happy the video helped; sometimes seeing the process makes a lightbulb blinker on in your head. Write me when you make some of the other recipes. Would love to hear your thoughts.

  120. Thank you for the recipe, David. This cake has become my go-to treat. I’ve made it just for us, gave it to friends, and will bring it to a potluck this week. I love a cake that is easy to make but offers a slightly unusual flavor combination, is absolutely delicious, and looks sophisticated, because it makes it seem like I spent a lot more time in the kitchen than I actually did…

  121. David: I have requested your book for Christmas and KNOW that I can’t wait!!!! My sister and I are in Oregon and are having our traditional Portuguese Christmas. The only thing lacking is desserts! The Orange-Olive Oil cake sounds as if it could be a great start! Please do share this recipe, as well as any other suggestions you may have! We are having Lombo de Porco Recheado (Stuffed Pork Loin), Camarao Mozambique (shrimp Mozambique) to name a couple of items! Hope to hear from you! Happy Holidays!


    The Leite Sisters…Elizabeth and Joanne

    1. Elizabeth and Joanne, thanks for the enthusiasm! The recipe for the cake is above. And you’ll find lots of great ideas in the book for holiday desserts. One thing to try: Make the Massa Sovada in the book for Christmas Eve and then make rabanadas (similar to a French toast) the next day for breakfast or dessert. I also like the Portuguese Salt Cod Hash, too. Simple and delicious.

  122. Hi David,

    Brought it into the office and people (and these are mostly Singaporeans) are RAVING about it. The lightness is amazing, but the orange aroma and flavour is a knockout. Score! :D


      1. OMG! It’s been just over a year since I made this!!! It’s been too long – I gotta make this again soon!!

  123. Dear David, I’ve finally got round to making this recipe from the book, and as I type this, it’s cooling in the pan just in front of me. It rose beautifully and it smells completely divine, this beautiful bolo de laranja, and I’m going to have a lot of trouble waiting until tomorrow to cut myself a piece. Muito obrigada para a receita!


    1. Ling, you have to tell me what you think. Last night I was at the annual gala of the Portuguese-American Leadership Council of the United States (PALCUS), where I was honored to receive the National Leadership Award for my book, and the biggest topic on people minds was this cake!

  124. I am so excited to get your cookbook. My husband and I traveled to Portugal on a total whim in 2008 (we went to England in January. Bad idea. The weather was miserable so we hopped the cheapest flight to the warmest place. Lisbon!). We fell irrevocably in love with Portugal. The food was so fantastic (you don’t perchance include a recipe for those yummy donuts with orange sugar, do you?) and we found the countryside, the cities, the people terribly romantic. I’ve been plotting to go back ever since. Your recipes will have to tide me over until then.

  125. Okay, okay. The recipe is posted above. (It’s easier than write all 73 of you.). I wasn’t holding out on you, either, I just needed to get permission from my publisher to post it. (Yes, even authors need to get permission.) I hope you enjoy the cake. Live long and baking happy.

  126. Hi David, I’d love to try your Orange-Olive Oil Cake. I’d been waiting anxiously for your cookbook to come out, and wish you a great success with it!

  127. Mr. Leite, I stumbled onto this site a few weeks ago, and this is one of the places I try to visit before I begin my day. I’ve recently begun exploring Portuguese cuisine and would love to have this intriguing recipe, if you please. Thank you!

  128. Went to Portugal this summer and never had a cake like this! Looks delicious. Would love to have the recipe to make for NYWCA event in October.

  129. Por favor, share the recipe! I’m out in the little town of Patterson in the Central Valley, where many of us Portuguese work and live. I’d LOVE to take this cake to the IES hall here in town and wow’em! If you’re planning a trip this way I’d love to show you around, and take you and your wife to lunch or dinner at the local Portuguese restaurant.

  130. I would appreciate the recipe for your orange-olive oil cake described on your website 9.24.09. Thank you for sending the recipe and additional thanks for a great site. Elaine Manna

  131. This looks delicious. I’ve been looking for some trans fat free recipes for at home. That’s a lot of sugar though. Did you try it with less in one of those 13 times?

  132. I enjoy your website so much. “The New Portugese Table” is on my wish list. I would love to have the recipe for your Orange-Olive Oil Cake. Thank you!

  133. My family originally hails from Beja, which is in the Alentejo region of Portugal. The area is filled with olive trees and farms, so it’s no coincidence that olive oil is a regular staple in traditional recipes of the region. The food of the region was meant to survive days in the fields during harvest season without spoiling. This is true of desserts, too. My grandmother would often make a dense olive oil cake that was hardy and sweet. It was a not a tea cake for sure. Oranges are typical of the Moorish influence in the region also, so marrying the two in a cake makes perfect sense. It would be something very traditional to do.

    I’m surprised that you found a cake with olive oil in Lisbon, which in culinary terms, is quite different than the other regions of Portugal. And you reproduce it…kudos! I’m sure it would even fool the natives! Keep up the good work.

  134. I would love to try this recipe. Being Italian, I love olive oil cakes. Thanks in advance. Such a fan of your website.

  135. I had a wonderful olive oil cake at abraco in the east village, nyc. i made one of mark bittman’s olive oil cakes and one of marcella hazan’s, but both were not as rich as the one i tried at the cafe. i’d love to try making the leite’s version. thanks!

  136. David,
    I would also love the recipe for the orange-olive oil cake. I have had similar cakes in restaurants, but I have a feeling this one is going to be much better. Thanks! Anita

  137. I would love the recipe. I’m having people for dinner this weekend, and I think it would be lovely with some orange curd or an autumn fruit compote.

  138. Would love the recipe for orange-olive oil cake. Reminds me of a meyer lemon pound cake i used to make; i always imagined trying to combine it with an orange-cardamom cake recipe i had to see how it would come out—and now it looks like you’ve done it—looks good! i’m going to try the cardamom addition anyhoo, but i bet its just awesome without!

  139. Your cake looks irresistible and from the comments I have read, the recipe is not one to pass up. As someone with a sweet tooth, an amateur baker who also enjoys reading and collecting recipes and who just simply enjoys reading your website, please include me among your admirers for the recipe. Thanks so much.

  140. Did a search for olive oil cake recipe and fortunately landed right here! How did I miss this in my RSS feed from this your fabulous postings? I would love the recipe which will find me here in Oregon and then I will then be sharing it with my Mother in South Africa. Thank you!

  141. I have been smitten with your website these past few months. I have tried some of the recipes I have found and they do not disappoint. I would love to have your orange cake recipe!

  142. Do we want the recipe? Do you have to ask? Of course! Thanks for so many wonderful recipes and much, much more besides.

  143. I have a Portuges husband with quite a sweet tooth. Olive oil- orange cake just might put a smile on his face. Love that there is no butter. Please send recipe.

  144. Thank you so much for this wonderful website, which always has new Portuguese recipes. I have always tried your new recipes and have enjoyed serving them to my family. I would love to get the recipe for the Portuguese orange-olive oil cake. My grandmother is from a small town in Beira Baixa called Granja (next to Amendoa), its almost the centre of Portugal. She always tells us that they used to make all their sweets with olive oil, which is what was abundant in the area. First we found it strange, but once you try it…it is delicious! Thanks again for these fantastic recipes!

    Paulo Manuel Cabral

  145. Cake is good for you! I can’t wait to tell my 13-year old son. He’ll burn it off in cross-country anyway. Cake is good for me! Heavens to Betsy, Mr. Leite, the Orange-Olive Oil Cake sounds divine. I would love to receive the recipe from you, thanks for the generous offer, and congratulations on all the exposure for “The New Portuguese Table.” Are you signing out Pasadena, CA way, or are you strictly on the East Coast?

    Regards from the Triple-Digit Belt,
    Judith Peres

      1. Thank you, David. Any estimated time of circulation for the wonderful recipe?

        Thank you again, I truly look forward to this!

        Judith Peres

  146. David,

    You know this cake is worth every minute we spent and every calorie we consumed testing it. It disappears in a flash every time I serve it. If I am lucky and fast enough to save a piece for later my favorite way to have it is toasted for breakfast. I only wish I could get those fabulous Portuguese oranges.

      1. I am a novice cook. I fell in love with an orange cake in Portugal. This is very close to it but when I made this recipe there were a few things that quite didn’t turn out right but that is also because I probably changed a few things: I used regular olive oil instead of mild extra virgin and I thought the taste of the olive oil was a bit too overpowering. When I squeeze the oranges for juice, do I include the pulp bits into the batter? I strained mine. Also, the batter at the center of my bundt pan rose much more than the sides so when I flipped it when it cooled, the bottom was uneven and rocking… Otherwise, my family loved it because it was so moist and frangrant and orangey. So nice with tea or coffee.

        1. Josephine, a stronger olive oil will most definitely change the flavor of the cake. Some people like it, but I don’t.

          Yes, you can include the pulp. I do. It adds a real burst of flavor.

          The cake does rise a lot in the middle, but are you using a 12-to-15 cup Bundt pan? That helps. Also since the cake is best the day after it’s baked, it eventually flattens when you turn it over on a cake plate and let it sit for 24 hours.

  147. You have tantalized me with the tale of developing your Orange-Olive Oil Cake—please share the recipe; it sounds heavenly! With gratitude, Justine

  148. Yes, please provide the recipe. I try to collect as many as possible that use olive oil and this one sounds delicious.

  149. I would LOVE the recipe, please. I have a Portuguese friend that I would love to surprise with this cake.


  150. I’d love the recipe. I make one that sounds very similar and everyone always loves it and can’t believe it’s an olive oil cake. I’ve had great success with all the recipes I’ve tried from your site and can’t wait to try this one as well.

  151. hi, this sounds absolutely delicious! (and dancers do eat a lot :) the recipe would be wonderful as I think americans (myself included) could always use another reason to make cakes.

  152. I would love the recipe! I’m going wine & olive oil-tasting in Paso Robles next month, and would love to have something to make when I get home with my new oils. :)

  153. Hi,

    I just watched the video of the making of the Portuguese Orange-Olive Oil Cake and would love the recipe.


    1. I would love this recipe and will def. try it i like tryin differently recipe from different states and countries.

  154. I’ve suggested to my husband he buy this book for me for Christmas. Is it possible to get the recipe for the olive oil cake please.I don’t think I can wait till Christmas.

  155. David! I haven’t been to your site in a while, nor have I purchased your book (all in good time!), but I’m glad to have stumbled back in time to read your posting about the cake. This reminds me of Bolo Podre (spoiled cake) which I’m sure you’ve tasted either in Portugal or here in the States, and which I’m sure you’ll agree is definitely not a chiffon cake! I’ve been working on different variations of Bolo Podre myself, and my latest attempt features hazelnuts (avelãs) and figs (figos). Would love to try out your recipe!

    1. João, I certainly am familiar with bolo podre (also known as “rotten cake,” for those who can’t read Portuguese). I was considering adding it to the book, but when I came across this cake, I knew, for me, it bested it.

      1. I made this orange olive oil cake….my….it was delicious…will make it again. and again. Easy to make and it turned out a large bundt cake…..thank you ….will put more orange rind in…I like it….gives the cake a wonderful taste.

    1. I just made this orange olive oil cake….PLEASE MAKE IT…..it is absolutely delicious!!! just had to cut it while it was lukewarm….sooooooo good.

      1. What? Shame, shame, Cecile! You must wait a day! Actually, when I want it warm I heat some butter in a skillet, cut a slice, and brown it on both sides. A perfect breakfast.

  156. Just stumbled onto this site. The cake looked amazing. I am Portuguese myself and am trying to bring Portuguese cooking to my family. The Olive oil cake looks like a great way too start.

  157. I would love that recipe, but I fear I’m calling myself out on the fact that I haven’t bought your book yet. I have every intention of doing so as soon as I get some pocket money!

  158. Thanks for this wonderful website and all the culinary culture it provides. If i could, I’d definetly come to one of your book signings. I live in Norway and just yesterday made a portuguese recipe of Bacalhau, dry cod fish. The portuguese are splendid to say the least. I would love to get your hard to achieve orange cake recipe! My mother used to make it and mine never turned excelent. How can i get it? thanks in advance.

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