Maialino's Olive Oil Cake

By • February 11, 2014 • 110 Comments

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Author Notes: Olive oil cake at its best has a crackling crust and an aromatic oil-rich middle, which, if it held any more moisture, would be pudding. Pulling this off should be easy -- there aren't even egg whites to whip and fold, or butter to cream -- but it isn't always. This one, however, is perfect, and will ruin you for all others. Recipe from Maialino Restaurant in New York City. Maialino also serves it at breakfast in muffin form, and they've been known to turn it into a birthday cake, layered with mascarpone buttercream.Genius Recipes

Makes a 9-inch round cake

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 1/4 cup whole milk
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon grated orange zest
  • 1/4 cup fresh orange juice
  • 1/4 cup Grand Marnier
  1. Heat the oven to 350° F. Oil, butter, or spray a 9-inch cake pan that is at least 2 inches deep with cooking spray and line the bottom with parchment paper. (If your cake pan is less than 2 inches deep, divide between 2 pans and start checking for doneness at 30 minutes.)
  2. In a bowl, whisk the flour, sugar, salt, baking soda and powder. In another bowl, whisk the olive oil, milk, eggs, orange zest and juice and Grand Marnier. Add the dry ingredients; whisk until just combined.
  3. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 1 hour, until the top is golden and a cake tester comes out clean. Transfer the cake to a rack and let cool for 30 minutes.
  4. Run a knife around the edge of the pan, invert the cake onto the rack and let cool completely, 2 hours.

Comments (110) Questions (5)


4 days ago Magdalen

I found this recipe easily fills two eight-inch round pans. I used lemon curd between the layers and on the top, which I decorated with fresh raspberries.


16 days ago Maureen Jones

Has anyone tried this with almond flour yet, cup for cup? I have bought the almond flour but not tried yet.


16 days ago Susan Young

Made this cake over the weekend. Used 2 nine inch pans. It was so moist and tasty. Everyone loved it!


19 days ago nannydeb

I made this cake today and wish I had read the comments first because I will definitely reduce the amount of olive oil next time I make it. Great flavor, just too oily. Also, I checked on the cake at 45 minutes and tested it since it was starting to get too dark on top and it was done. Of course, not a crumb will go to waste!


19 days ago JohnL

It's true that after 45 minutes in the oven, this cake may appear to be getting too dark in the middle but don't let that fool you into thinking its going to burn. If it bakes for the hour, I find that the top browns evenly all over, and the cake will certainly not be overcooked, even if you think it's testing done at 45 minutes. If under baked by 15 minutes, one would get the impression it is too damp or oily. It is a super moist cake, but hey, it's an olive oil cake and it needs to be baked the full hour in order to develop a proper crumb, unless your oven isn't properly calibrated. I've made this cake at least 4 times; the recipe works as written, and its not an overly sweet cake, either. I think it tastes better the 2nd day, and the cake will keep nice and fresh for up to a week covered at room temp
It is easier to get out of the pan if it sits overnight. If you want to fancy up this very plain but delicious cake, you can sprinkle the top with powdered sugar or google mascarpone buttercream for a very simple recipe that goes well with the cake (mascarpone, powdered sugar and butter). I keep the buttercream in the fridge in a covered container and scoop out a little to serve with each slice of cake. It also keeps well (in the fridge) for a week.


19 days ago saragrad

I have made this cake twice, once with orange and the other time with lemon zest and juice instead. My husband and I agreed that the orange version is way better! The flavour of the olive oil is more pronounced, the orange is obvious but not at all overwhelming and both flavours complement each other very nicely. Anyway this cake is so good for a "plain" type of everyday cake.


24 days ago Gotowanie Girl

I made this cake this weekend and it turned out wonderful. There was a small raw patch in the center of the time I think I will pull it out a little ealier to make for a larger patch! The perfect breakfast cake for guests in town...


26 days ago Deedles

Made 2 versions of this cake yesterday, using two different oils, Quail and Olive lemon oil for the lemon/blueberry cake, and mandarin orange oil for the orange/cranberry version. Both were extremely yummy, and were enjoyed in sample form by many folks. Baked both in an oblong 9x13 rounded edge baker, worked just fine with about 40-45 min. baking time ay 350 degrees. A go-to recipe that can easily be added to. Thanks!


29 days ago sabrina



about 1 month ago Kate the brownalegirl

looks simple and delicious. can't wait to try it!


about 1 month ago Taryn

This cake was amazing! I was short on cooking time, so I made it in two rounds instead of one. I also reduced the olive oil to a cup and used a combo of orange blossom water, OJ, grapefruit juice, and lemon juice for the liquid. It's so tasty!


about 1 month ago Zita Vigier

Made it this evening and it is so good. Added a lemon raspberry glaze my fiancé loves it.


about 1 month ago sophie

I have an olive oil cake recipe very similar to this. I use the best Californian olive oil - it's amazing what quality, grassy, flavor oil (like Corto or California Olive Ranch)can do.

In my recipe, the eggs and sugar are whipped with an electric mixer until they're super frothy and a very pale yellow. I find that this kind of whole-egg meringue adds a lightness to the cake which is much needed after so much oil. My cake also only uses a cup of oil and it's plenty. Lemon zest and juice is a very nice substitute for orange.


about 1 month ago theresa94010

By far the best recipe I have come across in a long time. Made it for family tonight and it was a total success, enjoyed by all, not a crumb left. I used 1C ap flour and 1C whole grain pastry flour and cut the sugar by 50% and it was delicious and moist.
Can't wait to make it again next weekend. Thank you for sharing this fool-proof yet fantastic recipe.


about 1 month ago hobbes1948

just made this with 1 c almond 1 c ap flour, reduced sugar to 1 1/4 cup and used skim milk and was still like the mailino version (which i enjoy often with coffee at the restaurant)


about 1 month ago Cathy

This cake sounds delicious! I'm going to bake one today. My mouth is already watering. Thanks for this recipe!


about 1 month ago Sheryl

This recipe is amazing! Very moist and delicious! I made it without the liquor and added some orange juice instead. It had to bake longer in the oven for an extra 15 mins but that's it!


about 1 month ago Marta

What a cake!!! I am from Spain where we have many types of olive oil cakes but this one is unbelievable!! I didn't have whole milk so I used 2% instead but it didn't affect the cake at all. So moist, so delicious, and so easy to make too. Oh my, I am in trouble…!


about 1 month ago Ashley R.

Tastes good but is way too greasy. I reduced the olive oil to one cup as per some others' suggestions, but it didn't get crumbly at all. Anyone else have that problem? Looked great coming out of the oven but the next morning...a little soggy. Still tastes good, though!


about 1 month ago Geni

I used a springform pan with good results. Flavor was light and delicious, but I thought it was too oily and a bit too sweet for my taste. Thanks Margot and Autumn for their suggested changes. I will also add more orange zest and reduce the salt by 1/2 tsp. I look forward to making this using lemon juice/zest instead of orange.


about 1 month ago Margot Alexander

Great, easy cake (and you've probably got everything on hand). Used springform pan which worked perfectly. Made it twice: First time (Friday) substituted more orange juice for the liqueur; Second time (Sunday, as I had almost single-handedly eaten the entire first cake)I used cointreau, and a little less oil (first cake was a tad too oily). First cake had better orange flavor, second cake had a bit better texture and maintained its crunchy exterior better. Definitely better the next day, great for breakfast. Next time - which will be soon - I will try cutting down the sugar a little.


about 1 month ago Autumn Lilly-Harari

I was thinking of cutting back a bit on the oil too. How much did you use? Did it help?


about 1 month ago Margot Alexander

I used 1 cup plus a few drops (had been going to add the 1/3 cup and then decided to cut back). The cake is lighter but still extremely moist without being quite as saturated. Next time I will use just the 1 cup, only orange juice plus extra zest, a bit less sugar.


about 1 month ago Autumn Lilly-Harari

Thanks Margot! I can't wait to test it out tomorrow :) (btw, I cut the sugar by a ¼ c. and I think it's perfectly sweet.)