Meyer Lemon-Olive Oil Cake

lemon olive oil cake

I’d heard tale of this cake for many moons before I finally tried making it myself. The thought of using an entire half-cup of fancy and expensive extra-virgin olive oil in a cake was what put me off it for so long. Fortunately, after 3+ years of cooking for a living, my miserly ways have become dulled so much that when I received a 10 pound bag of homegrown Meyer lemons from my friend Kristina and a lemon olive oil cake was suggested by a community member, I didn’t even bat an eye.

This is a not-too-sweet cake that works well for breakfast or tea or snacking. If you’d like to make it a little fancier, you can drizzle with the lemon glaze from this lemon pound cake recipe or top with a spoonful of whipped cream. You know what else would go well and be stunning next to a slice of this cake? A scoop of this grape ice cream. Because of all the oil, this cake stays perfectly soft and delicious several days after baking.

Oh! And one more thing, I normally hate when people specify “organic” or “grass-fed” or “high-quality”-whatever in recipes and I avoid it as if it were the plague and I almost always stop reading recipes that use adjectives like that because in almost all cases, it makes no difference to the recipe at all. But, I do think it’s relevant here. I used 4 pasture-raised eggs in the cake I made for the photos on this recipe post. If you’ve ever done a side-by-side comparison of pasture-raised eggs vs standard eggs you’ll see a marked difference in the color of the yolks; the former being much deeper goldenrod yellow than the latter. This quality is what gives the cake such a beautiful lemon-yellow color. So, there’s that. If you want a pretty yellow cake like this one, use some fancy expensive eggs to go with your fancy expensive olive oil and fancy (and free in my case) Meyer lemons. Make a fancy cake!

meyer lemon cake


Meyer Lemon-Olive Oil Cake

5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star

4.7 from 19 reviews

  • Author: Hilah Johnson
  • Prep Time: 10 mins
  • Cook Time: 45 mins
  • Total Time: 55 minutes
  • Yield: 10 1x


  • 4 eggs
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 cup Meyer lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt


  1. Oil a 9-10″ springform pan and line the bottom with parchment paper. Set oven to 350ºF.
  2. Whip eggs and sugar together on high speed until fluffy and very pale, almost white (about 5 minutes).
  3. Turn speed to low and stream in oil, lemon juice and zest and vanilla (I mix these all together in a large measuring cup with a spout and pour them in).
  4. Whisk flour and dry ingredients together and fold these in by hand. The mixture will be very fluffy and foamy.
  5. Pour into prepared springform pan and bake 350 for 45 minutes. The top will become quite brown, as will the edges.
  6. Allow to cool 30 minutes in the pan, then unhook and remove from pan, cool completely on a rack.
  7. Cake keeps at room temperature, covered, for up to 7 days without suffering loss of texture or quality.


Meyer lemons come into season November-January in the US. Regular lemons can also be used if Meyer can’t be found.


  • Serving Size: 1 slice
  • Calories: 236
  • Fat: 12

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For more recipes using Meyer lemons, check out Kristina’s site: GirlGoneGrits! She’s got a HUGE Meyer lemon tree in her yard and every year spreads the lemon love throughout Austin, collecting the recipes we all create on her site.


  1. Kristina on January 12, 2014 at 6:38 pm

    Oh your cake looks really good. I made an olive oil cake years ago and forgot how delicious it was. Thanks for reminding me with your gorgeous pic, and thanks for the blog love as well.

    • Hilah on January 13, 2014 at 10:17 am

      Of course! It was real good, and rich. A small slice will do ya. Thanks again for the lemons!

    • Karen on March 24, 2021 at 3:06 pm

      Loved this recipe! A very moist, spongy, and perfectly sweet and citrusy.

  2. Mike on January 15, 2014 at 9:36 pm

    Miss you girl – my other YouTube subscriptions don’t satisfy. Hope you’re feeling better.

    • Hilah on January 16, 2014 at 9:51 am

      Thank, Mike. I’m feeling much better after some time off. Will return with videos in February!

  3. Rachael Macry on January 21, 2014 at 11:17 am

    Hilah, I made this cake yesterday as my (grown-ass) son’s birthday cake. Meyer’s lemons were on sale at HEB this week so I thought I’d give it a shot; it is fantastic! I was wondering how a half cup of olive oil would work out in a cake.. well I have never had such a soft yet toothsome crumb to a cake! So moist.. so fulfilling! A little slice *did* satisfy. It was wonderful! And deceptively easy. Well deceptively easy to me, for I am not a baker. I ended up using probably twice as much zest but otherwise followed the recipe to a T. I used more Meyer’s lemon juice to make a lemon sugar glaze for the top, to make it birthday-fancy (just swirled on, not covering the cake completely).

    And now I am brainstorming: What would happen if I use Stevia instead of sugar? Cooking is half science/half art. I can be arty as hell but, doesn’t matter if the science won’t work! I think I will test it out!

    • Hilah on January 22, 2014 at 10:20 am

      Hi Rachael! So glad y’all enjoyed this. It is very rich, so it’s a good thing it keeps so well.
      I’ve never tried baking with stevia. I’m not a fan of the taste in drinks, which is the only way I’ve ever had it. But you are so right that arty doesn’t matter if it doesn’t work. 🙂
      Let me know if you try it, how it goes!

  4. Kendra on January 22, 2014 at 8:31 am

    That cake looks wonderful and I’m straight digging the fact that it isn’t overly sweet. I’m glad to hear you’re feeling better, Hilah. 🙂

    • Hilah on January 22, 2014 at 10:20 am

      Thanks, Kendra. I think it would be good with orange juice, too. 🙂

  5. Tata on January 23, 2014 at 4:36 pm

    Baked yesterday, very tasty, used juice lemon plus orange half and half

    • Hilah on January 24, 2014 at 2:29 pm

      Ooh, that does sound good. Thanks, Tata!

  6. Donna on February 3, 2014 at 2:22 am

    Made it today, used Gluten free flour it was totally yummy, moist. I also used Trucua/sugar blend. It was great. Your right, I bought some local fresh eggs and it was a beautiful shade of yellow. I have an orange tree so I will adapt it for Easter
    Thanks and glad your feeling better.

    • Hilah on February 4, 2014 at 10:51 am

      Oh marvelous! So happy to hear it works with those changes for GF And low sugar. And oranges will be delicious. Maybe with some rainbow sherbet on the side for Easter. That would look beautiful.
      Thanks, Donna.

  7. Rebecca Owens on April 25, 2014 at 9:39 am

    I just made this cake on Wednesday and three of us had a slice and then brought what was left to work the next day and it vanished in seconds. It was delicious. Next time I will make two pans and put some of my home-made lemon curd in the middle and lemon cream cheese frosting. Perfect for an afternoon tea. Thanks Hilah

    • Hilah on April 26, 2014 at 1:44 pm

      That sounds lovely, Rebecca. Thanks for writing.

    • Gee on May 12, 2014 at 5:12 am

      Please let me know whether Meyer Lemon Juice is fresh lemons from the produce dept or bottled lemon juice. I’m confused. I look forward to your response. the recipe for this cake looks interesting.

      Thank you,

      • Hilah on May 12, 2014 at 9:19 am

        Hi Gee,
        Yes I used fresh lemons from the produce department for the juice and for the zest.

        • Gee on May 13, 2014 at 5:04 am

          Thanks Hilah

    • Kim Quinn on February 27, 2017 at 6:04 pm

      What you would do with two cakes sounds amazing. Meyer lemons are worth their weight in gold. Lemon curd, yum, and lemon zest in the topping…omg! I love citrus especially lemons and grapefruit. Thank you, Hilah, for a wonderfully easy recipe. I make Frances Mayes Southern Lemon cake and always swap out half the butter for olive oil and use more zest than called for. 🙂 It’s a good thing.

  8. Therese on January 3, 2015 at 11:59 am

    Hilah, I’m having problems getting olive oil cakes to rise. Do you think I’m not leaving it in the oven long enough, or perhaps the heat needs to be calibrated? It wasn’t soft and fluffy, it was dense, almost like a pie. Thanks, Therese

    • Hilah on January 3, 2015 at 5:03 pm

      Hi Therese,
      Olive oil cakes will always be a little denser than a butter cake because you don’t get to beat air into the batter as you do when creaming butter in a butter cake.
      But… sounds like yours might be even denser than it should be. Is it possible your baking powder is expired? Your oven could also be too cool. I’d check the baking powder first and then check the oven temp.

  9. Melody on January 11, 2015 at 3:06 pm

    Hey Hilah! Looking forward to trying this sometime. Just fyi, the little “Save” option in your recipe box doesn’t work anymore. Looks like ZipList went out of business.

    • Hilah on January 12, 2015 at 9:47 am

      Hey Melody!
      Yes, ziplist closed down a couple months ago. I haven’t had time to find out if there’s a good replacement. Know of one you’ve seen on other food blogs?

  10. laura on March 4, 2015 at 11:46 am

    I don’t own a springform pan and want to try this. any ideas if I could use a regular cake pan? silly question but I really don’t know the answer.

    • Hilah on March 5, 2015 at 3:05 pm

      Hi Laura!
      You can, but you will need to line the bottom of your pan with parchment paper. The reason to use the springform is so you can easily remove the cake from the pan. The parchment will help with that. Also be sure to oil the sides well.

  11. Molly on March 15, 2015 at 8:13 am

    I normally don’t comment, but my husband walked in this morning as I was watching some of your videos, and he asked who you were and I said you were the lemon cake recipe. He asked if you had a comment section and if you did I needed to comment.

    So, here it is:

    I made this awesomeness yesterday for my hubby and two 16 year old boys. They at first were all like, “I don’t really like fruity desserts.” I said just try it. I think this could be my new favorite non-chocolate cake. Then, I came in the kitchen an hour later and all but 1/4 of it was gone. Gone. Crumbs on the plate gone. Thanks for a great recipe!!

    • Hilah on March 15, 2015 at 8:24 am

      Hahaha! Yay! Thank you for writing, Molly 😀
      You just made my morning. I’m so happy everyone liked the lemon cake. Happy Sunday!

  12. Kristi on March 26, 2015 at 6:07 pm

    This recipe is absolutely delicious, didn’t change a thing.
    Thank you Hilah!!

  13. Eva Holman on June 15, 2015 at 5:51 pm

    This cake looks yummy. However, I do have a technical question. Since this dessert uses lemon juice, why is baking powder used? I thought that baking soda was to be used when the batter is acidic in order to create lift.

    • Hilah on June 17, 2015 at 9:55 am

      Hi Eva!
      This is a good question. You are right that recipes which have an acidic ingredient like lemon juice usually call for baking soda. Baking soda reacts with acids to create carbon dioxide bubbles and lift baked goods. Baking soda also thereby neutralizes acidic ingredients and if you use too much soda for the recipe, you end up with a gross metallic taste in your goods. Baking powder is just baking soda that has already been mixed with an acid and becomes activated when liquid is added, and then again when it hits the hot oven, making even more bubbles.
      In this recipe, most of the lift is provided by the eggs and the small amount of baking powder provides additional leavening without “using up” the acid in the lemon juice. Baking soda would dampen the tart lemon flavor. This article on Fine Cooking is the best, most thorough explanation of baking soda vs baking powder I have ever read.
      Hope that helps. Thanks for writing!

  14. Alice on June 27, 2015 at 7:36 pm

    Just made the cake. Delicious and easy! I added a bit of flax seed flour for a bit of extra texture. Thanks!

  15. Diana on October 10, 2015 at 12:23 pm

    This cake was absolutely delicious. My husband and I ate 1/3 of it in one go. (Little piggies). I have been searching for a moist cake with tender crumb for a long time. This gave me both without the hassle of whipping whites in a separate bowl. I am wondering if I substitute buttermilk for the lemon juice, whether I can use this as a base cake, double the recipe…add some filling and…voila…the best cake ever!? I almost didn’t do this cake because there weren’t that many reviews, but I am glad I did. I followed everything precisely, except for the grated lemon rind…I used the whole large myers lemon I had and it yielded approx. 1 tablespoon (a little less). Thank you, Hilah.

    • Hilah on October 11, 2015 at 10:09 am

      So happy to hear, Diana! I don’t know about using buttermilk. It’s not as acidic as lemon juice, so you’d probably have to adjust the baking powder somehow.

  16. heather marchant on November 24, 2015 at 7:15 am

    Hi- I want to try your recipe…looks yummy. One question, do I need to use cake flour or can I use all purpose flour? Thnx.

    • Hilah on November 24, 2015 at 4:12 pm

      Hi Heather,
      I think it would work okay with AP flour, but I can’t say for sure because I haven’t tried it myself.

      • Kris R. on January 27, 2016 at 8:21 pm

        I used AP flour tonight. The taste was fantastic, but I had some trouble incorporating the flour completely. I was trying to fold gently, but found as I was pouring it into the pan that there were still bigger and smaller lumps of dry ingredients. Some didn’t bake out. It didn’t affect our enjoyment while eating. So good!!!

        • Hilah on January 28, 2016 at 7:57 am

          Thanks for letting me know how it turned out!

  17. Edolin on November 27, 2015 at 1:37 pm

    Hi Hilah, what kind of cup do you have in mind for measuring out sugar, oil and flour? Those things will have to match with the other ingredients for the cake to turn out as good as yours. Thanks for answering.

    • Hilah on November 28, 2015 at 11:37 am

      Hi Edolin,
      The recipe uses an 8 ounce (volume) measuring cup. 8 ounces is about 240 mL

  18. Kate on January 14, 2016 at 8:06 am

    Hi Hilah,

    I made this cake today and it was absolutely amazing! So easy to make, and I also find that oil-based cakes are easier to clean up after than butter ones. Thanks so much for the recipe. Quick question: My oven tends to make the top of cakes really brown (and even black sometimes), which is really unsightly. Could I put foil over the cake while it is baking so that my cake will come out looking less charred?


    • Hilah on January 14, 2016 at 12:19 pm

      Hi Kate!
      Super glad the cake worked out. As for your oven, you could try laying some foil over the pan around the half-way point. I’ve never done it before but it works for pie crusts getting too brown. The important thing I think is that you use a deep enough pan so that the cake doesn’t rise up over the edge and run into the foil. For this recipe, that shouldn’t be a problem since we’re using a springform pan that’s 3″ deep or more. Have you tried lowering the heat of your oven and baking longer? Or putting the cake on the lowest rack possible?

  19. Aggi on March 24, 2016 at 2:19 pm

    Can I use canola oil for this recipe?

    • Hilah on March 24, 2016 at 7:14 pm

      Technically, yes, you could I think. It would definitely taste different and I don’t know how good it would taste, but it should still work.

  20. Delphine on December 28, 2017 at 3:55 pm

    I’ve made this cake many times, and my house loves it! I usually dial the sugar down a little, am always generous with the Meyer lemons and serve with a raspberry coulis. It was just my husband and me for Christmas Eve this year, so I divided the recipe in two turned these into cupcakes (makes 6). They were phenomenal, and my husband, who is not a dessert person at all, had seconds.

    • Hilah on December 29, 2017 at 4:25 pm

      That’s fantastic, Delphine! Also, I love your name 🙂 Thank you for the cupcake tip! Great to know as I have not tried that.

  21. Diana on April 28, 2018 at 10:13 pm

    I made a 1/2 recipe and baked it in a loaf pan. It seems like very little flour for all the liquid, however it turned out just fine and browned. It is wonderfully delicious. It did sink however and it is not an attractive cake. DO NOT put icing on top – it makes the whole thing mushy – even a small drizzle reduces this cake to an atrocity. Powdered sugar (as above) would be just fine.

  22. Ash Braddock on March 5, 2019 at 2:33 pm

    I’m not sure if it’s the recipe or error on my end, but this cake turned out to be a pancake. The amount of liquid to flour doesn’t make sense, but I tried it anyway.

    • Hilah on March 6, 2019 at 10:43 am

      Hi Ash. I’d like to venture that you forgot to add the baking powder or didn’t whip the eggs long enough. Most people have enjoyed this cake.

  23. Carmela Y. on April 9, 2019 at 12:34 pm

    This is my third time baking this cake in a month as it has become my family’s favorite. It is so moist, full of lemon flavor, and just delicious! I don’t have to worry about it getting stale as it’s usually gone in 2 days! Thank you for sharing this recipe!

  24. Okeydoctors.Com on April 1, 2020 at 6:21 pm

    Thanks so much, Michele. It s one of my favorites for all the reasons you mentioned. Do you have a thermometer in your oven? I found out last year that my oven was running almost 50 degrees hot and had to have it re-calibrated.

  25. Gee on April 4, 2020 at 4:55 am

    Hi Hilah,
    Is it possible to use bottled lemon juice instead of regular lemons. Also is it necessary to use a springform pan.
    Look forward for your response asap. I would love to make this cake.
    Golady 2

    • Hilah on April 4, 2020 at 10:30 am

      Hi Gee,
      I think it should still work with bottled lemon juice – might not be as tasty but the chemistry should be fine. I use a springform because the cake sticks to the pan and it’s easier to get out. If you don’t have one, oil the sides of your pan well and line the bottom with parchment if you can. Otherwise, you may just need to serve it out of the pan.

  26. D on May 20, 2020 at 4:03 pm

    I was definitely suspicious of the low quantity of flour but it turned out delicious! Subbed bottled lemon juice & a splash of orange juice for the fresh Meyers lemon and added a generous sprinkle of sugar on the top 5 minutes into baking to encourage that crackly crust that everyone loves.


    • Hilah on May 22, 2020 at 7:57 am

      Ooh, sugar topping is a great idea, D!

  27. Mari on June 29, 2020 at 7:16 pm

    Blitzed up half a lemon (deseeded) with the 1/2 cup juice. Made the cake extra tart and got yummy nubs of citrus with each bite.
    This was a very fluffy and moist cake. The only thing I didn’t follow was to let it cool completely before slicing. It’s very delicious! I have eaten 2 slices before my water for tea has hit temperature. Oh dear.

    Thank you Hilah!

    • Hilah on July 5, 2020 at 7:26 am

      Oh, delicious idea, Mari!

  28. Priya on July 9, 2020 at 8:48 am

    Am so excited to try this cake but all I have is extra virgin olive oil. Can I use it or do you think it would affect the flavor?

    • Hilah on July 14, 2020 at 12:58 pm

      I think it would be okay …

  29. Fatema on July 17, 2020 at 1:15 am

    Hello Hilah
    Can I use orange instead of the lemon

  30. Miriam on September 18, 2020 at 11:26 am

    Love this cake! I’ve made it multiple times. I often make a berry compote to drizzle over. Heat a bag of frozen berries over medium heat add a tablespoon of sugar cook to desired consistency… enjoy!

    • Hilah on September 24, 2020 at 6:21 am

      Thanks for the berry compote idea!

  31. Nicole on September 23, 2020 at 1:42 pm

    Delish! But I did have issues incorporating the flour..I tried my best to fold in gently but some pockets of flour kept appearing. I didn’t want to mess up the recipe by stirring too much..

  32. SK on January 9, 2021 at 10:36 am

    I am not a fan of dry cake, so I decided I would try an olive oil-based recipe that would use some leftover lemons. This cake is delicious — soft and with a tender crumb, full of lemony flavor! I will definitely be making it again.

  33. Ronnie on January 15, 2021 at 8:54 pm

    I just made this cake and I love it. Subtle, moist and delish! Thanks

  34. Jennifer on May 16, 2021 at 2:14 pm

    Hilah, I have about 1/2 bottle of Meyer lemon olive oil. Is it ok to use that, and will I still need to use the lemon juice?

    • Hilah on May 17, 2021 at 5:35 am

      Hi Jennifer,
      You definitely still need to use lemon juice both for moisture and leavening power. I don’t think I’d try to use a flavored oil here, for fear it would over power and become bitter.

  35. Paige on January 21, 2022 at 4:45 pm

    This is such a delicious recipe, that I have made it at least a half dozen times in the past few months (my potter Meyer lemon tree is heavy with fruit)! I use the fruity Arbequina olive oil and it is just fabulous! Everyone who tastes it just raves!

    • Hilah on February 8, 2022 at 11:41 am

      I’m so glad to hear, Paige!

  36. Anna on March 1, 2024 at 5:47 pm

    Hi, I have a bottle of Myer lemon olive oil. Can I use that? and if so in what proportions?

    • Hilah on March 9, 2024 at 9:15 am

      I suppose you could use that for the regular olive oil. But you will still need the lemon juice in the recipe.

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