Lemon Olive Oil Pound Cake

Breakfast, Desserts

I realized something about myself today. Olive oil is my thing.

When I was 12 or 13, I received a spa cookbook for my birthday and became hooked on mixing up oatmeal masks, honey hair treatments and avocado masks. Why my 12 year old self needed any sort of facial mask is another story. But  I think I just liked the idea of cracking eggs in my hair and slapping oatmeal on my face; it seemed so neat and kinda retro. Now, the thought of slathering avocado all over my face sounds sort of weird, and plus, I’d probably just end up eating it anyway, which is even weirder. I know.

Anyway, I didn’t think much of it when I picked this pound cake out of a book of 200 or so recipes. Lemon Olive Oil Pound Cake? I’m there. Sooo there. I then went to get ready for the day and grabbed my olive oil face wash and then put on this olive oil body lotion. And then I stopped. Whoa…I umm…really like olive oil. I guess I’m not so far off from my 12 year old self. I still put food on my face thinking it’ll make me pretty. Hmmm…interesting.

And my obsession with olive oil doesn’t stop with lotions. I love fish poached in olive oil, salmon especially. These olive oil pancakes still  have my heart. I also wouldn’t dare fry up an egg in anything but olive oil. Not sure what to say. Olive oil is my thing.

Wanna know what’s not my thing? Measuring with my eyes. When I first read over this recipe I noticed the 8 1/2 x 4 1/2 loaf measurement. I grabbed my pound cake pan out of the cupboard and sort of shrugged off the idea of it not being the right size. I figured it’d work out just fine. Wrong. Dead wrong.

When I realized my flub, I ran to the store and was sort of bummed when they didn’t have a real pan. My inner snob doubted the ability of the foil pan, but the cake came out perfect. It was moist, and delicious with a strong hint of olive oil and a whole lot of lemon flavor. Olive oil won’t ever let you down.

Lemon Olive Oil Pound Cake with Glaze

Recipe by Karen Demasco from The Craft of Baking

Print this recipe!

The olive oil flavor wasn’t as pronounced as I would’ve liked it to be, so I think next time, instead of using a medium grade–which is what I used–I’ll use a higher quality oil.

Makes one 8 1/2 x 4 1/2 – inch loaf


Unsalted butter, softened, for the pan
3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons unbleached all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
2 large eggs
1/2 cup granulated sugar
Finely grated zest of 1 lemon
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 1/2 tablespoons whole milk
1 1/2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice, strained
3 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

1 tablespoons Demerara sugar (I happened to have this in my pantry, but if you don’t, not a big deal)


1 cup of powdered sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons of milk

Preheat the oven to 350F. Line the bottom of 8 1/2 x 4 1/2-inch loaf pan with parchment paper, butter the pan and the paper.

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

Fill a medium saucepan with 2 inches of water and bring it to a simmer. In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine the eggs, granulated sugar, and lemon zest. Set the bowl over the saucepan of simmering water and whisk until the mixture is warm to the touch, about 2 minutes. Transfer the bowl to an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Beat on medium speed until the mixture thickens, is pale yellow, and forms ribbons when the whisk is lifted, 5 to 6 minutes.

Meanwhile, in another bowl, whisk together the extra virgin olive oil, milk, and lemon juice. When the egg mixture has thickened, slowly drizzle in the oil mixture with the machine running. Reduce the speed to low, add the flour mixture, and mix just to combine. Drizzle in the butter and mix just to combine.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan and sprinkle the top with the Demerara sugar. Bake, rotating the pan once after 40 minutes, until the top of the cake is golden, the center bounces back when touched, and a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean about 50 minutes. Unmold the cake from the loaf pan and let it cool completely on a wire rack. While still warm, prepare the glaze. Mix the water with powdered sugar until completely combined, without lumps. You might need to play with the consistency a bit to get it to your liking. Pour over the pound cake and let it dry, which should be fairly quickly. Once at room temperature, eat away!

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Leave a Reply

  • Reply Erin Ellen February 24, 2014 at 10:33 am

    Just made this delicious cake!! Substituted coconut oil for butter. Also put on a lemon juice/powdered sugar frosting glaze 🙂 thanks for sharing!!

  • Reply Ellie June 16, 2013 at 1:47 am

    ‘Strong hint’??

  • Reply Holly Henderson August 7, 2011 at 6:36 pm

    Your photos are lovely! Very nice site. And the cake sounds (and looks) delicious. : )

  • Reply Mary Katherine January 20, 2010 at 4:26 pm

    I love olive oil too – so much so, in fact, that I recently posted an Olive Oil Cake that you should totally try….


  • Reply Megan January 17, 2010 at 7:47 pm

    Wow! This looks like perfection! And what’s better than citrus desserts?

  • Reply Kat January 15, 2010 at 3:22 pm

    Yum! I love lemon cake. This looks spectacular.

  • Reply Catherine January 14, 2010 at 12:04 pm

    I personally go to try this pound cake. and OH BOY was it Delicious and Moist!!! Perfect to go with a nice cup of coffee or just to have as a sweet snack that is nice and light for any time of day. YUM! can I have another slice Please?

  • Reply Cafe Pasadena January 13, 2010 at 3:32 pm

    What is your fav olive oil?
    How R U gals with cream puffs!?

  • Reply Adrianna January 13, 2010 at 12:37 am

    Debbie, I actually was forced to go to the store and buy a disposable foil pan that was the right size. It worked out perfectly! The 8 1/2 x 4 1/2 pan is a small loaf–not too big so I wouldn’t suggest halving the recipe.

  • Reply Debbie January 12, 2010 at 8:28 pm

    That sounds really interesting. I’m not sure how olive oil would taste in a sweet dish like this cake…hmm. I may have to try this. What happened when your pan wasn’t the right size? What if I halved the recipe?

  • Reply Risa January 12, 2010 at 11:05 am

    Oooo I love olive oil, and since this is a lemon dessert too I can totally trick hubby into eating it!

  • Reply Laurie January 11, 2010 at 7:12 pm

    Mmmm, that looks really yummy! Lemon is my favorite dessert flavor.

  • Reply Katherine January 11, 2010 at 1:22 pm

    This looks amazing. I too love olive oil. Lemon is a great compliment to such a dense cake!!