Floriole’s Lemon Olive Oil Cake

Thanks for a great week, everyone. I’ve had fun celebrating the past two years of Lottie + Doof and am looking forward to the year to come. Thanks to Bryan and Dorie Greenspan for their contributions to the week, and thanks to all of you for the great comments and kind emails I have received. You are the best! Before we wrap up the celebrations and start dealing with the piles of apples that are invading the farmers markets, I have one more special treat. This week would not be complete without a contribution from my favorite Chicago bakery, Floriole.

I like being a regular. I’ve always valued my relationships with the businesses and places I frequent. Living in an urban area, I think it is important to carve out your own little community. When Floriole opened just a couple of blocks from my office, it meant that I could be a very regular regular at my favorite bakery in Chicago. Having spent a lot of time there over the past few months, I continue to be impressed not only with the amazing food coming out of the kitchen, but also with all of the wonderful people who work there: from the folks behind the counter who are always so helpful and friendly to the super cool crew of ladies in the kitchen who always seem to be having a good time baking. Floriole, I salute you—and I’m really proud to be one of your regulars.

I am also happy to call Sandra Holl (the chef/owner) a friend. When I asked if she was willing to share a recipe with all of us, she immediately agreed in her usual, generous way. What better way to celebrate two years of Lottie + Doof than to allow all of you who don’t live in Chicago a taste of what I like to eat here. This olive oil cake, which I have ordered more often than I care to admit, is one of the most perfect examples of this type of cake I have ever eaten.

It is perfectly moist and rich and has a really satisfying crumb. It somehow manages to be both hearty and elegant at the same time. You can throw in a handful of fruit, depending on the season, raspberries are great and peaches would be lovely. I know you’ll all get even more creative. Enjoy this, and thanks to Sandra for the contribution.

UPDATE: I originally made the cake using the paddle attachment, my mistake. Use whisk! Much easier! Sorry!

Lemon Olive Oil Cake (recipe courtesy of Sandra Holl/Floriole)

  • 200 grams granulated sugar
  • zest of 2 lemons
  • 100 grams melted butter
  • 200 grams olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 250 grams all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 4 large eggs
  • about 1-1 1/2 cups fruit (raspberries, blackberries, blueberries, peaches- whatever is in season!)

Pre-heat oven to 350° F. Butter and line the bottom of a 9″ cake pan with parchment paper.

Combine lemon zest and sugar in a bowl, rub zest into the sugar to release essential oils—set aside. Combine melted butter, olive oil and lemon juice in a medium bowl. Sift together flour and baking powder.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, combine eggs, sugar mixture and salt. Beat at high speed until very pale yellow in color and has about doubled in volume. You are looking for the batter to hold a “ribbon”. With mixer still running slowly add oil mixture to egg mixture. Sandra calls this the mayonnaise method – you are slowly emulsifying the oil into the egg mixture. If you do this properly the mixture will not break.

Remove the bowl from the stand mixture and fold in the dry ingredients, being careful not to over mix.

Pour about 2/3 of batter into bottom of the prepared cake pan. Sprinkle whatever fruit you are using on top. Cover with remaining batter and bake for approx. 35-40 minutes or until the cake is set. You can use a toothpick to test, it should come out clean. I like a sprinkle of confectioner’s sugar on top.

60 comments to “Floriole’s Lemon Olive Oil Cake”

  1. i just took this out of the oven. smells heavenly and can hardly wait for it to cool. i didn’t have any fruit to add so it’s just the plain cake. still think i can choke it down though! next time i’d like to use a meyer lemon infused olive oil to give it even more of a lemony kick! thanks for sharing this recipe with us. happy new year tim!

  2. I made this for a friend’s birthday last week, but added toasted and chopped walnuts rather than extra fruit. It was amazing. The olive oil left a delicate legacy, perfectly balanced with the lemon; even after a hearty dinner the cake tasted light and uplifting. And I beat the egg mixture by hand! So it can be done, people. Really great recipe, thank you!

  3. Just have this in the oven as I write. My oven is a little wonky as it’s taking a lot longer than 40 minutes – had to cover it with foil to to avoid it browning too much. I also have to confess (and I have a feeling I may have screwed up) but I had to use – gasp – frozen raspberries as we do not have fresh at the best of times in an Australian summer, let alone winter. Yes, it’s cold and rainy here, folks…wish me luck!

  4. I think it’s going to be okay!! Phew! The proof will be in the tasting…

  5. Oooh! Excited to hear how it turns out!

  6. Hi Tim – Wow. It worked REALLY well. I think I’ve just discovered my new ‘go-to’ cake. The variations seem endless. Would consider adding some polenta to the batter next time to give it a bit of ‘grit’. I couldn’t get over how light it was. I used an olive oil that my husband was involved with pressing here in Western Australia. Added a great flavour. And while the thought of fresh raspberries is great, to be honest, when we do get them here, they are SO expensive that I would just flat out gobble them up rather than ‘waste’ them in a cake. The frozen seemed to work just fine. Added a lovely tang and I’m pleased to report that it looked exactly like yours. Thanks for the encouragement. I made some major friends at our staff afternoon tea yesterday! All the best!

  7. By the way. I’m with you on the whole ‘measuring by weight’, thing. It’s so easy. And I love it because a US cup and an Aussie cup are slightly different (ours usually have beer in them – haha…nothing like a cultural stereotype to keep things moving…) and I have to dig out the appropriate measures depending of the provenance of the recipe. With weights – it just takes a flick of a switch of my scales to move from ounces to grams. And we WILL convert you all to Metric eventually. I hear Canada is planning an aggressive campaign soon. As soon as you guys sort out the ‘debt ceiling’ issue. Although we think Metric might actually be a tougher sell. Until then – convertible scales!!!

  8. I just found your blog and am really enjoying it. I used to live a couple of blocks from Floriole when it first opened and went their every day. I moved a couple of years ago to a different neighborhood but still drive over there before work at least a couple of times during the week for breakfast and drag my partner their one day on the weekend because it’s my most favorite place to go–there’s not one thing I have disliked on their menu–ever. But I’ve never tried this cake so I think I may have to. My new favorite is the Gateau Basque! Looking forward to reading your blog!

  9. Thanks, Scott. Glad to hear from another Chicagoan and Floriole fan. It is the best. I’m lucky to work nearby, I’m there all of the time.

  10. Thank you for having the most glorious blog and recipes! You are my favorite. I am about to make this cake for the millionth time. Are you based in Chicago?