Easy to Make Citrus Olive Oil Cake

Citrus Olive Oil Cake – tender and moist ricotta olive oil cake, infused with lemon and orange.

Citrus Olive Oil Cake - tender and moist ricotta olive oil cake layers with lemon and orange zests. #holidaycake #oliveoilcake #holidaycakerecipes #christmascake #bestchristmascakes #bestchristmasdesserts #holidaydessertideas #christmascakeideas #christmascakerecipe #oliveoilcakerecipe

Don’t Miss This

Happy Monday, friends! We’re less than two weeks away from Christmas and I still have a couple new holiday cakes to share with you.

Today’s cake is simple and humble, a lot like the birth of our Savior Jesus Christ. In fact, I made this cake as part of an episode of “Don’t Miss This,” that I recorded with the hosts and my friends, David Butler and Emily Freeman, about the birth of Jesus Christ.

“Don’t Miss This,” is a video and podcast study guide to go along with scripture study outlined by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. In today’s episode (December 14th), David and Emily are discussing the birth of the Savior and sharing some beautiful thoughts to go along with the real reason we celebrate Christmas.

A few weeks ago they asked if I’d want to join them in today’s episode for the discussion and if I’d share a cake that could go along with the lesson.

I adore David and Emily and everything they do, especially “Don’t Miss This,” as it’s completely helped, enhanced and enriched my study of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. So, today, I’m sharing a new cake and my love of this wonderful Gospel.

You can catch the episode of “Don’t Miss This” and my Citrus Olive Oil Cake tutorial below:

Citrus Olive Oil Cake

I specifically chose to make an olive oil cake for the episode with David and Emily because when I think about Christ and His birth, I think about simplicity and humility and knew that I wanted a very basic, easy and humble cake to go along with their lesson. Plus, olives are used in allegories throughout the scriptures and a Jerusalem Olive Oil Cake is something very traditional of that region.

Ingredients You’ll Need For This Cake

  • Ricotta
  • Olive Oil
  • Flour
  • Lemon zest
  • Orange zest
  • Baking powder
  • Sugar
  • Salt
  • Eggs

Tools You’ll Need For This Cake

  • One 8-inch round cake pan
  • Mixing bowls
  • Hand mixer or electric mixer

How to Make a Citrus Olive Oil Cake

Room temperature ingredients: To make this Citrus Olive Oil Cake, you’ll want to make sure your ingredients are room temperature. This includes your eggs and ricotta. Allow these items to sit at room temperature for a couple hours so they are no longer cold. Room temperature ingredients better mix together and are better absorbed by the dry ingredients, which helps your cake to rise better.

Measure correctly: Also make sure you measure your flour correctly. You can use a kitchen scale to weigh the flour or you can spoon the flour into your measuring cup and lightly scrape off the excess from the top of the measuring cup.

Don’t overmix: once you add your flour to the wet ingredients, make sure to mix on low speed, just until your ingredients are blended.

How to Serve a Citrus Olive Oil Cake

This cake is delicious on it’s own, but could also be served with a drizzle of honey, plain fresh whipped cream, or whipped cream with a little ricotta or mascarpone in it.

Make Ahead

This cake is a great one to make ahead of time. Once it cools and reaches room temperature, just wrap it in plastic wrap and freeze. Let the cake thaw for a couple hours before serving.

Homemade Ricotta

This cake calls for ricotta, which can be store-bought or homemade. I love, love, love homemade ricotta. It’s really easy to make and incredibly delicious. You can check out my recipe for homemade ricotta as part of my Ricotta Beet Cake.

Citrus Olive Oil Cake - tender and moist ricotta olive oil cake layers with lemon and orange zests. #holidaycake #oliveoilcake #holidaycakerecipes #christmascake #bestchristmascakes #bestchristmasdesserts #holidaydessertideas #christmascakeideas #christmascakerecipe #oliveoilcakerecipe

Citrus Olive Oil Cake

4.89 from 9 votes
Tender and moist citrus olive oil cake.
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 20 mins
Total Time 35 mins



  • 1 1/2 cups (180 g) all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons (6 g) baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon (2.5 g) salt
  • 1/2 cup (109g) olive oil
  • 1 cups (200 g) sugar
  • 2 eggs room temperature
  • 1/2 tablespoon (3 g) lemon zest about one large lemon
  • 1/2 tablespoon (3 g) orange zest about one large orange
  • 1 cups (250 g) ricotta cheese at room temperature



  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Prepare one 8-inch cake pans with spray, parchment paper and spray again. Set aside.
  • In a medium sized mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside
  • Cream the olive oil and the sugar on medium speed in a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment for one minute. Stir in the lemon and orange zests.
  • Add the eggs, one at a time, until incorporated. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.
  • With the mixer on low, alternately add the flour mixture and the ricotta, starting and finishing with the flour. Combine until incorporated.
  • Pour cake batter into pan and bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out with just a few moist crumbs.
  • Let cool in pan for about 5-10 minutes before inverting onto a wire rack to cool completely. Once cooled, you can cover with plastic wrap and store in your refrigerator overnight or freezer for longer.
  • Serve with homemade whipped cream.
Cuisine Cake
Course Dessert
Keyword citrus olive oil cake, olive oil cake

Courtney Rich

I’m a self-taught baker, obsessed with cake.

I long ago ditched box mixes in pursuit of melt-in-your-mouth, to-die-for flavor combinations, fillings and textures. I believe cake must be decadent, life-changing and worthy of celebration! And I believe anyone should be able to bake that kind of cake – and I’m here to teach you just that!

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Recipe Rating


  1. Really looking forward to making this cake! A quick question about the printed recipe – step 1 says 1 8″ pan and step 6 talks about distributing the batter among 3 pans. How many pans are needed?

    1. There are some recipes online for dairy free ricotta. You could try that or Kite Hill makes a ricotta alternative.

  2. I would love to make this but my daughter doesn’t eat dairy. I watched the “Don’t Miss This” episode and you mentioned that you had an idea for a dairy-free cake. What can I use instead of the ricotta? Please share! Thank you.

    1. There are some recipes online for dairy free ricotta. You could try that or Kite Hill makes a ricotta alternative.

  3. Hi! Excited to make this for the holidays! Couple questions though:
    1.) Is this for one or three layers? In one place it says it makes one 8in cake round, another says to divide the cake evenly among three cake rounds.
    2.) if for multiple layers, can this be for 6in rounds? If so, how many and bake time?
    2.) is this cake nice for a ‘morning’ came as well? We don’t like anything too sweet or heavy in the mornings usually.

  4. 5 stars
    This cake looks delicious! I saw this on the Come Follow Me episode. Would you please include the gluten free/dairy free recipe as well? Thank YOU and Merry Christmas!

  5. Hi! What dairy-free, gluten-free cake would you recommend for Emily? I have the same allergies. Thank you for sharing your talent and testimony!

  6. 5 stars
    My picky eater hubby, Hal (tall and thin), had three pieces of this cake last night in rapid succession and declared it “one of the beat cakes I have ever eaten”. I am so glad that through Courtney, I have not only stumbled upon a recipe that will join our simple Christmas Break Traditions list, I have also found out how to make my own ricotta cheese in my instant pot. 🙏🏻❤️

  7. Hi Courtney, I just listened to this Don’t Miss This episode (I’m a little behind.) I loved how you mentioned that you realized one of the ways you hear God is in the kitchen. Anyway, I was wondering how this cake would be without the citrus zest. I just don’t love fruity cake. I’ve never made an olive oil cake before and would love to try it. Also, would doubling it and putting it in a 9×13 pan work?

  8. 5 stars
    This is delicious!!! I made this cake on Christmas Eve last year as part of our “Bethlehem” meal (lentils, fish, pomegranate seeds, dried fruit, crusty bread…). It tasted so good, we will make it every Christmas Eve going forward.

  9. 5 stars
    We have a Jerusalem Dinner by candlelight every Christmas Eve, with Mediterranean foods, served on the floor with pillows and blankets for reclining. Last year when this recipe was first published, I couldn’t help but add this to menu. ABSOLUTELY STUNNING, easy, delicious, and put a nice bow on the entire experience. Thanks so much, Courtney!

  10. 5 stars
    This cake is heavenly! We make it every Christmas and Easter. I added a lemon glaze that is perfection! Thank you for this delicious recipe!

  11. 4 stars
    This cake tasted fantastic but it did not cook in the middle at all. I had it in the over for 50 minutes and ended up taking it out. I cut out the wet raw middle and ate the edges which were delicious. Any ideas why? Maybe a 9” pan instead?

    1. You need to let it cook longer. Until you put a toothpick in the center and you get a few moist crumbs

      1. Unfortunately the top was browning and the edges were becoming super dry and brown. I’m definitely making it again because what I could eat was delicious