Orange-Scented Olive Oil Cake Minis {Recipe}

When I first started really watching Food TV, one of my favorite chefs was Giada. I used to watch Food TV almost everyday, and I’d always try to be home in time to catch Everyday Italian (we didn’t have DVR at the time…did it even exist 8 or 9 years ago?). I tried many of her recipes back in the day, but one of the most memorable ones, that I never got to try, was her Olive Oil Cake. I wasn’t as familiar with baking back then, and the thought of olive oil going into a cake intrigued me. I really wanted to know how it would taste.


I’ve tried olive oil cakes a couple times since then, but I finally got around to baking my very own just this week.


Since the olive oil flavor seemed light, I decided to pair it with something else. Oranges popped into my mind. Citrus and olive oil are a popular combo, so this seemed like a great idea.


And it was.


The cake was great – with a slightly crisp outside (perfect for those edge-piece cake eaters) and moist inside.


I loved the lightly sweet and barely-there-orange flavors. Possibly best of all for this lazy baker – there’s no frosting required. Just dust your cake with some powdered sugar and you’re ready to dig in!


This cake turned out so much better than I thought…I almost ate hubby’s before he even knew it existed. And since I baked it while he was out playing basketball, I totally could have gotten away with this. Lucky for him, I saved his cake mini without even taking so much as a bite (though I was tempted). I totally could have hidden a small bite with enough powdered sugar.


Orange-Scented Olive Oil Cake Minis

These lightly sweetened, citrusy cake minis would be great after an evening of pasta or dinner al fresco with lots of grilled goodness. Try using a little orange olive oil for an extra orange kick. And I bet an orange-scented quick drizzle frosting would be pretty good, too! Just make this frosting recipe (click) with fresh-squeezed orange juice instead of water. Oh, and if you’re feeling really gourmet, I think these cake minis would be wonderful topped with candied orange zest (whether you purchase it or make it at home).

*Vegetarian, Vegan Options*

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Bake Time: 16-20 minutes
Total Time: 26-30 minutes


  • 3 teaspoons water
  • 1 teaspoon ground flaxseed
  • 6 tablespoons flour (I used unbleached all purpose)
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • pinch salt
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons sucanat (or sub sugar for a sweeter flavor)
  • 2 tablespoons milk (or vegan milk, like rice milk)
  • 1/2 teaspoon grated orange zest
  • powdered sugar, for garnish
  • orange peel, optional, for garnish


  1. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees F. Prepare 2 3-inch diameter ramekins with non-stick spray.
  2. In a small bowl, combine water and flaxseed. Stir and set aside.
  3. In a medium bowl, add flour, baking powder and salt. Whisk together (or stir with a fork).
  4. In another medium bowl, add flaxseed mixture, olive oil, sucanat, milk and orange zest. Whisk to evenly combine (or use a fork).
  5. Gently stir wet ingredients into dry ingredients until just combined (batter will be slightly lumpy).
  6. Evenly distribute to ramekins and bake for 16-20 minutes, until top is golden brown and tooth pick inserted in the center comes out clean.
  7. Allow cake minis to cool. Run a knife along the outside edge of the cake mini to release it from the ramekin. Place each cake mini on a plate and dust with powdered sugar. Garnish with orange peel, if using.
  8. Enjoy!


Happy baking!

Reader question: What’s your favorite flavor to pair with olive oil?

9 thoughts on “Orange-Scented Olive Oil Cake Minis {Recipe}”

  1. Here’s our go-to olive oil scenario. My family LOVES this recipe so much, that one August I [as a joke] I commented that I didn’t know why I ever made anything else for dinner. I said I should just make it every night until they got tired of it. They took me up on it! Here’s the embarrassing part; I did! It was well into September when we moved on. It’s so easy, and the best dinner for lots of garden basil and fresh tomatoes. Did you guess? Boil up a pound of pasta, and while it’s cooking chop 5-6 tomatoes, a huge handful of basil, and about a cup of fresh mozzarella. Put that in a big dish. Use a 1 cup plastic container to shake and blend 8 T good olive oil, 5 T balsamic vinegar, salt, pepper, and some minced garlic. Pour that on the tomato mixture, drain the pasta, stir it in and voila! You have dinner for the next month or so. Garlic bread is a must. Embarrassing but true, and so yum.

    • That sounds really delicious, Beth! We make something sort of similar (but with more cooking involved) with tomatoes and fresh basil and buffalo mozzarella, but this sounds way easier! 🙂 Thank you for sharing!

    • That sounds really tasty! I put rosemary in some cookies (recipe on the blog somewhere) recently, and it was really good. I didn’t add olive oil, though. Perhaps I can try a variation?

  2. This made me laugh for two reasons: (1) I try to get home from work in time to watch Giada and Ina, too! And (2) I can’t tell you how many times I eat hubby’s portion when he didn’t even know he had treats comin’!


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