New Recipe: Savor Recipe: Orange & Cardamom Olive Oil Cake

Olive Oil Cake -- Photo: Craig Bowman
Olive Oil Cake — Photo: Craig Bowman

I’ve been a big fan of olive oil cakes for many years. I love the color and the texture, as well as the subtle flavor. This version kicks it up a notch by turning the classic into an upside-down fruit cake.

The addition of the cardamom with the candied oranges is sublime, and the finished cake is absolutely gorgeous — especially if you can get blood oranges, which are in season at the moment.


Candied Orange

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 crushed cardamom pods (or 1/4 tsp ground cardamom)
  • 3 oranges, very thinly sliced

Cake Batter

  • 2 eggs
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/3 cup plus 2 tablespoons (really good) extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tsp vanilla bean paste (or extract)
  • 1 tsp ground cardamom
  • 2 tsp finely-grated orange zest
  • 2 Tbsp freshly squeezed orange juice
  • 1/8 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 3/4 cup plus 2 Tbsp all-purpose flour


1. Scrub the oranges, then with a very sharp knife, cut thin slices (.15 inches) crosswise.

Olive Oil Cake candied oranges

2. In a saucepan on medium heat, combine the candied orange ingredients — sugar, water, and cardamom. Bring to a boil, turn heat to medium low, add sliced oranges and let simmer for 15 min. Preheat the oven to 350°F.

Olive Oil Cake candied oranges

For the batter, beat eggs, sugar, and salt using a whisk or an electric mixer, until the mixture becomes pale, light, and fluffy.

4. Slowly drizzle the olive oil in the egg mixture, mixing well.

Olive Oil Cake batter -- Photo: Craig Bowman

5. Add the vanilla extract, orange zest, orange juice, cardamom, and baking soda to the mixture and mix well.

6. In a separate bowl, whisk the baking powder and flour together. Sift them into the egg mixture, then gently fold in the dry ingredients.

7. Brush an 8-inch springform pan with oil, then line the bottom and the sides of the pan with parchment paper. Next, arrange all the syrupy orange slices on the bottom of the pan, overlapping as necessary. Reserve the remaining syrup.*

Olive Oil Cake -- Photo: Craig Bowman
Olive Oil Cake — Photo: Craig Bowman

8. Gently pour the cake batter over the orange slices and bake. Place a rimmed cookie sheet under the springform pan to catch any syrup that may seep out.

Olive Oil Cake batter -- Photo: Craig Bowman

9. Bake for 30-35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean. Allow to cool for 10 minutes before removing the sides of the pan. Flip the cake onto your serving platter and brush syrup on top of the orange slices. Drizzle a tiny amount of olive oil directly on the cake slices just before serving.

Olive Oil Cake -- Photo: Craig Bowman
Olive Oil Cake — Photo: Craig Bowman

Please! Do not discard the leftover orange and cardamom simple syrup. It is amazing in cocktails, especially an Old Fashioned.

Olive Oil Cake -- Photo: Craig Bowman
Olive Oil Cake — Photo: Craig Bowman

Questions? Text to Craig at 202-217-0996 or email

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