Basil olive oil cake is an amazing fresh twist on the classic Italian olive oil cake. The sweet basil lends a beautiful aromatic flavor to the cake without overpowering it.
The olive oil makes this cake rich but not overly heavy. It is really easy to make too with all the ingredients going right into the blender to mix and then the cake pans for baking.
If yo have ever tried a classic olive cake, you may have found that it can lack a little something or maybe it was too heavy. This basil olive cake is none of that. It is really just an amazing dessert.
Steps to make this olive oil cake:
- Add all of your wet ingredients into a blender and blend well.
- Add all of your dry ingredients into a separate bowl.
- Mix the wet and dry ingredients together until incorporated.
- Pour into prepared cake pans.
- Bake and then cool
Very easy and I promise, anyone can make this olive oil cake recipe. It is such an essential recipe to have in your repertoire.
This Italian olive oil cake is great served in the summer when basil is plentiful but nice any time if you can't wait. This will definitely be a dessert that will impress anyone you make it for and they will never know how easy it was to make!
For the ingredients, they are fairly basic and things you will most likely have already in your pantry. Possibly the only thing you will need to purchase is the basil.
Ingredients you will need for this olive oil cake are:
- all purpose flour
- olive oil
- fresh basil
- and baking powder and baking soda
I really love making this Italian olive oil cake as a special dessert (even though the effort that goes into making it is really simple). It is always loved by everyone who has eaten it.
Why I love this Italian Basil Olive Cake recipe-
When I think of desserts to make for someone, I always try to find recipes that are not just easy to make. I try to think of recipe ideas that do not require elaborate decorating skills.
I have to be honest here, I am a cook more than a baker and decorating a cake is really not my thing. It is more than that, I am terrible at it and not from lack of trying.
In all things we do, it is good to be honest and know your strengths and weaknesses and accept that for what it is. I long ago realized that rustic desserts where a great option for me and they just happen to taste amazing!
The whipped cream for this olive oil cake recipe:
When I serve this, I love to serve it with fresh whipped cream that is only lightly sweetened with sugar to leave the natural cream taste in tact. Anytime I make a whipped cream (or a frosting), I will always only use a small amount of sugar. I just do not like a sickly sweet topping. You can totally adjust this to your taste though and there will be no judgement.
You can also opt to leave out the whipped cream if you do not have cream available or substitute your favorite dairy or non-dairy whipped topping. If you have powdered sugar on hand, that is plenty for the topping and how I already decorate this cake before serving.
Referring back to what I said above, I'm not a cake decorator so for me powdered sugar is the unsung hero in my kitchen when I serve cakes. Now you have this as a tool to use too!
This basil olive oil cake is perfect for dessert (the most obvious use) but it is equally as delicious as a snack or for breakfast. It is light and not overpowering despite having basil and olive oil in it.
This cake is also great served at a summer BBQ since it will not spoil. Just omit the whipped cream out if your event is outside.
Some more event ideas for serving this Italian olive oil cake:
- Birthdays (especially for adults who do not really care for traditional birthday cakes).
- BBQ or cookout.
- Church picnic or gathering
- When you are entertaining for guests.
- As a dessert to go with an amazing Italian dinner like this Spaghetti and Meatballs or this Italian Baked Zucchini.
- An afternoon social gathering with friends or family
The uses for this cake are plenty and there is no wrong way to present this cake to someone. My favorite way of eating this is as an afternoon pick me up with some tea or coffee if I have any leftover from the day before. Everyone will love it no matter what the event or when it is served.
Update! Making this cake gluten free and healthier:
I always love hearing from readers who have tried my recipe and changed things up to suit their diet and preferences.
A wonderful suggestion from a reader who had great success with her substitutions to make this cake gluten free and lighter:
Substitute Almond Flour for All purpose flour. Make sure that you sift your almond flour to keep your cake light!
Substitute Agave Sugar for Granulated sugar.
If you make this recipe and change anything, send me your photos and what you have changed. I love hearing from you.
Tips for making this basil olive oil cake recipe:
What olive oil should I use for this olive oil cake?
You can use whatever olive oil you have on hand it it will turn out great. I like a regular mild olive oil for this recipe which you might see sold as everyday olive oil or not labeled extra virgin. If you have a great high quality fruity extra virgin olive oil that you would dip bread in that would be fine too. I have all of them in this recipe and they all work well.
Should I refrigerate the olive oil cake?
I always leave it on the counter under a cake dome for just the the first day and then place it in the fridge after that. The cake will last for a couple days in the fridge. Just take it out an hour before you want to eat it to take the chill off of it.
Give this a try and you will see why the Italians love their olive cakes! If you are a fan of Italian desserts like I am then you may also want to check out my Italian Berry Cake with Mascarpone. It is really simple, beautiful and delicious.
Basil Olive Oil Cake
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 ¾ cups sugar
- 1 ½ teaspoon of kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
- 1 ⅓ cups of regular or extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 ¼ cups whole milk
- 3 large eggs
- zest of 1 lemon
- 11 large basil leaves course chopped. Large means each basil leaf measures about 2 ½ to 3 inches long usually they get this large when grown hydroponically. If you have smaller basil leaves (usually they are when grown in the garden) increase this amount by double, or 22 small basil leaves.
- Whipped Sweet Cream
- 1 cup of heavy whipping cream
- 1 tbsp of powdered sugar
- Pre-heat the oven to 350° F.
- Oil, butter, or spray a 9-inch round cake pan with cooking spray and line the bottom with parchment paper. You want a standard cake pan that is at least 2 inches deep.
- In a large bowl, sift your flour, sugar, salt, baking soda and powder.
- Now, with a blender, add your olive oil, course chopped basil and milk and blitz on high speed for about 2 minutes until the basil is fully incorporated into the liquid and the olive oil milk mixture turns a light lime green.
- In another bowl, add your eggs and lemon zest and mix well.
- Now pour the basil mixture from the blender into this bowl and mix well. Next, add the dry ingredients; whisk until just combined
- Pour the batter into the prepared pan and give it a light tapping (just lift the pan about an inch above the counter surface and drop it lightly) to get out any air bubbles.
- Bake for 1 hour, until the top is golden and a cake tester comes out clean. If you see any jiggle in the middle of your cake when pulling it out of the oven, add a few more minutes of cooking at a time until it is firm and set.
- Transfer the cake to a rack and let cool for 30 minutes. Invert your cake on to a plate and remove parchment paper on the bottom.
- Sweetened Whipped Cream
- With a hand mixer, stand mixer or whisk, mix your heavy cream and 1 tbsp of powdered sugar (that has been sifted) until it starts to stiffen and form peaks at the tip of your whisk.
- Add a dollop to each slice of cake and enjoy!