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UPDATE: I originally made the cake using the paddle attachment, my mistake.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. totally agree w/you tim on being a regular!!!
    & since i enjoy baking olive oil cakes & am in nyc…
    i thank you for this great cake recipe by sandra holl.
    great tip…rubbing the zest into sugar to release oils…
    love the methods…printing out to bake this week.

  2. Tim, the pictures are beautiful. Thanks for including us in your 2 year celebration week!

  3. Fruit + olive oil cake sounds sublime. Love the idea of those bright tart sweet pockets…

  4. Looks great, but recipes with measurements in grams make me nuts!

  5. love Floriole – especially their canneles. thanks for this wonderful recipe.

  6. Jodi, get yourself a scale! It is so so so superior for baking. If I could only bake by weight, I totally would. Also, the rest of the world is full of wonderful recipes that are all in grams, we don’t want to miss out. ; )

  7. I love olive oil cake…and lemon and raspberries to boot?! Sold. A little taste of Chicago is on the menu:) Thanks for sharing!

  8. Superfan.

  9. This looks positively lovely. Congratulations on 2 years! We’re bookmarking this…the flavors are simply mouthwatering…!

  10. Wishing Floriole was more convenient for me! Somehow I never seem to find myself in the vicinity of the bakery, but perhaps I’ll have to make more of an effort to be in the neighborhood….

    This looks lovely and I’m bookmarking it. Just the sort of simple elegant cake I love to bake.

  11. Never heared of this cake before, it looks wonderful

  12. A grand thank you, Tim, for the terrific bag which arrived in Saturday’s mail. Uber-cool, just like you. I jove it so much I just may carry it as a handbag for a while.

    Looking forward to making this pretty cake.

    Congratulations again on your milestone.

  13. How wonderful. This makes me want to be more ‘present’ at the places I frequent. Connecting with those places and making them part of your home and community makes such a difference to the experience.

    And what a delicious and perfect example of an olive oil cake – adore them!

  14. This is getting dumped directly into Yummy Soup and bookmarked as the next thing I’m making (after the marbled bundt cake from Baked – I’ve already got the ingredients measured out to stir it up tonight – yum!).

  15. Yum! My best friend in Chicago is obsessed with this bakery and so I’ve heard more than my fair share about it…but now I get to try something out from there! Thanks :) I’m looking forward to actually going to the bakery next month when I’m back in town.

  16. Sorry Tim, but I agree with Jodi on the mix of metric with English measurements. Metric actually makes more sensefor baking, but should be grams for dry ingredients and ml for wet ones. Nevertheless, the cake sounds sublime and I will muddle through.

    Congratulations on 2 years of marvelous recipies and thoughtful commentary on food. Love the recipies you choose.

  17. Hi! the recipe sounds great but since I have never tried neither baked with olive oil, I assume it is regular olive oil, not virgin olive oil, right? (just to be sure).

  18. Caroline Shields @ carolineskitchentable says:

    September 13th, 2010 at 11:39 am

    Thanks for sharing this recipe with all of us… love Floriole… happy 2 years. Kudos!

  19. Sandy, I used an extra virgin olive oil. Make sure it is something you like the taste of and you might want to pick one that is milder and buttery. The olive oil you pick will definitely affect the flavor of the cake.

    Marne, no need to be sorry, we don’t always have to agree. The gram measurement of the liquid ingredients really should not cause you much trouble. Good luck!

  20. I have tried to go there many times and keep ending up around the bakery on Mondays when they are closed! This has inspired me to make a special trip. Perhaps I can connive you into a little coffee break soon.

  21. Just wanted to chime in to say that baking by weight is so much easier, faster, and neater. I admit to having wondered why Lottie & Doof doesn’t include weight measurements in recipes. If you weigh your ingredients, you don’t have to fiddle w/measuring cups; just dump the ingredients into the bowl. Mostly, I use the chart in the back of Rose Levy Beranbaum’s Xmas cookie book because she has weights for sifted, lightly spooned, and unsifted flour. (FYI, though, everybody else has decided that one cup unsifted all-purpose flour weighs 5 ounces.) As long as you know that and that one cup sugar weighs 7 ounces, you are more than half way there.

    BTW, this olive oil cake looks divine & I say that as someone who usually ignores recipes that don’t call for BUTTER BUTTER BUTTER!

  22. Cake cooling right now. Added a few drops of lemon bitters to enhance the flavor. We’ll see…

  23. I made this today, using fresh blueberries, a little orange zest, and a spash of Grand Marnier. It was delicious! The texture is amazing – slightly crispy on the top and super moist inside. Thank you for posting this recipe! These are the measurements I used for those who don’t bake by weight:

    1 cup granulated sugar
    7 tbs melted unsalted butter
    .8 cup (14 tbs) extra virgin olive oil
    [2 tbs grande marnier]
    2.25 cups all-purpose flour

    Hope this saves some people time :)

  24. Hi Tim. I have a general question. If I want to substitute the sugar in any given cake for honey, what is the equivalence? How much honey for each cup sugar? thanks a lot

  25. Hi Sandy, I honestly have no idea. This isn’t something I would ever do. Replacing granulated sugar with honey will have pretty serious implications on the baked good. It will not taste at all the same. Maybe try googling around to find some good recipes designed to be made with honey?

  26. I was thinking on doing this just to have a new “honey cake” for the jewish hollidays and surprise guests with something completely different, and this lemon and olive oil cake sounded perfect to me for this purpose. I’ll try playing with the amount of honey and leave some sugar. Hope it will come out fine. Thanks

  27. Sandy, if you just want to add some honey for flavor, that is a different story. Totally worth a try. Not sure what the results will be, but a tasty experiment. Let us know what happens…

  28. Rave reviews all around. Don’t want to contemplate the calorie content though…..

  29. Looks great…have you ever given Gina DePalma’s olive oil almond cake a try? To die…especially with the brown butter glaze. Might be a nice way to vary it up!

  30. What a treat to have a bakery recipe. This looks fantastic and I look forward to putting my scale to good use :)

  31. A few years ago, my husband traveled to Chicago for a business trip. It was his first visit to that city, and in the few short days he was there, he fell in love with it. Every once in a while, he still reminds me that one of these days, we need to visit Chicago together, as he’s convinced I’ll love it, too. Your description of Floriole Bakery gives me one more reason to plan that trip! xo

  32. I definitely need to head there – I’m sure it’s even better than the treats they have at the market :). I too have my “neighborhood” bakery – “Bake” in Bucktown. I try not to go all the time but I certainly get more of my fair share. Plus, the cake my hubs got there for my birthday was to die for! congrats to 2 years!

  33. Favorite food blogging site… Hands down. Keep up the amazing work! I look forward to more in the future : )

  34. Olive oil cakes are my fav. I add a meringue & bake it some for a simple frosting. Congrats!

  35. Tim – this cake looks delicious. I have some pear olive oil that was a gift and it’s wonderful and I think I’m going to go for a pear olive oil cake based on this recipe.

    A follow up to Sandy who wanted the honey cake – I made a lemon honey olive oil cake and documented it here: http://www.cakeandedith.com/2010/07/honey-cake-with-lemon-and-herbs.html. Might be of use to her, if she’s still checking out the comments. You could just skip the herbs and throw in some fresh fruit instead.

  36. I don’t know why more people don’t use olive oil in cakes, more often. It works wonderfully and the taste seems to compliment really well.

  37. This recipe was already looking wonderful to me and then I read Kamo’s variation. I especially love anything with Grand Marnier! I’ll be trying that recipe very soon.

  38. Made this cake for friends for lunch this weekend, it turned out perfectly! Delicious, moist and light, easily best cake I have made in years. I think I made it in a too small cake tin however, had to cook it for a lot longer than you stated, but checked it ever so carefully every 5 minutes after the allotted time and managed to avoid it sinking before it was done. Thanks for posting it!!!

  39. I made this the other day for a potluck, and it was a hit. It’s truly a gorgeous cake with a lovely texture. It’s not too sweet at all, and the edges are almost under-sweet (though not quite) where the pan has browned them, and it feels somehow virtuous as well as being delicious. I used blue plums from my friend’s backyard tree, and though I worried when I added the fruit that there would be too much of it (compared with Tim’s photos), it was just right when baked and served. The recipe has already been requested and forwarded, and I’ll definitely be making this again.

  40. I am thrilled to read that so many bakers have tried and successfully made this cake. It truly is one of my all time favorites.

  41. Ambika Kumar says:

    September 21st, 2010 at 3:13 am

    I would love to try this cake with peaches/blueberries!!

    I have a question – If I don’t have stand mixer can i make this cake (the wet ingredients portion) in a food processor?
    And then fold in the dry ingredients?
    Will it work?


  42. Hi Ambika,
    I haven’t tried this so I’m honestly not sure. If you can get enough air into eggs, it should be okay. If you have a handmixer, that might be easier/better. Give it a try and let us know!

  43. Tim, you’ve seriously made me miss Chicago (ok- that’s nothing new)! I will certainly check out Floriole next time I’m in town… this cake looks sooo good. I will surely have to give it a try.

  44. Hi, Tim – I just found your site and want to tell you how truly wondeful it is. As a fellow foodie, who has found an obsession with cooking as of late, I am truly impressed with your photo and contents.

    Question – You mention lighting to be the most important aspect of your photos. Do you have a lamp specifically for your photos? Sounds rather silly, but it gets so dark by the time I’m done making dinner and struggle to snap decent photos. In fact, my photos are quite terrible.

  45. I also think a scale is essential to baking. Can you tll me how many grams of eggs to use? I have been buying my eggs at the farmer’s market. They are wonderful but very small.

  46. this sounds divine! mmmmm

  47. Such a great cake! Made it with Orange Zest and Juice and Cranberries! Definitely a keeper.

  48. Yay, Tiffany! Thanks for letting me know! I’ll give that a try.

  49. Hi Tim – I’m headed to Chicago in the end of January, and I will definitely be making a stop at Floriole. I have a friend who is allergic to dairy. Do you think that I could replace the butter in this cake with coconut oil? Thanks for your help and happy new year!

  50. Hey Sarah,
    I honestly have no idea. I haven’t experimented at all with dairy substitutes. Perhaps someone else will have a suggestion? Have a good trip to Chicago! Not sure when you were last here, but lots of great new restaurants in the last year–make sure David/Lee take you to some of them. Happy New Year!

  51. 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!

  52. 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!

  53. 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!

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

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

  56. 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!

  57. 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!!!

  58. 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!

  59. 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.

  60. 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?

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