Maialino's Olive Oil Cake

By • February 11, 2014 • 142 Comments

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.
Jump to Comments (142)

Comments (142) Questions (9)


8 days ago Barbara Moss

It must be a different two inch pan. I used a 9 inch springform and it was fine but it must be at least three inches tall.


8 days ago Caro GF

Yikes! I took "a pan that is at least 2 inches deep" to mean if it's 2 inches deep you're good but this things is going up, up, up! It's at least 2 more inches above the pan lip. looks very cool but I wish now i had divided. I assumed because it was a dense cake that it wouldn't rise too much but I was wrong, eep


11 days ago Madfolle

Amazing recipe. I substituted Grand Marnier by Rhum Orange Liqueur (c) Santa Teresa Rhum and they are made for each other. Also great with Cream cheese icing.


15 days ago James A. Morris

For a commercial convection oven I would drop the temp 25 degrees f. and possibly reduce the time by 5 minutes depending on the load in the oven. This cake browns easily so watch it closely if using convection!


16 days ago Cathy Cugini

Any time/temp recommendations for a commercial convection oven??


23 days ago DLP

Can you substitute almond milk for the whole milk in this recipe?


25 days ago KtMcB

I made this before and forgot what I substituted Grand Manier. Can I ust double OJ?


25 days ago WinterGal

don't see why not! I think I had read that someone else had doubled the oj and the result was just as good!


15 days ago Autumn Lilly-Harari

I've used only juice (both lemon and orange) and had great results. Just doubled the amount called for.


about 1 month ago phyllisc

This is so easy and delicious! Next time I'd cut the sugar. I can see it being a basic fall-back with many possible variations -- limoncello and lemon zest and juice, amaretto, sliced almonds and a little extract. I used a 9" springform, baked for the entire hour, and it was perfect. I weighed the flour rather than measuring. The cake gets golden quickly, but I agree that it needs that hour. I love the easy cleanup - 1 bowl, 1 whisk, measuring spoons.


2 months ago Rachael Lahren

We LOVED this cake. Because of it's density it is well suited for tea and coffee-style parties rather than after dinner dessert. I prefer to use table salt to kosher salt in dessert recipies as kosher has a bite-back salt taste. I served each slice with a dollop of marscapone frosting. Anticipating this, I cut the sugar in the recipe to 1 1/2 cups. The cake was just as delightful. I found 1 hour was not long enough to bake the cake, so I cover it lightly with foil, shiny side down, and continued baking for 15 more minutes (in 5 minute intervals) . Enjoy!


2 months ago Maureen Jones

I am going to make again using Cup 4 Cup flour along with the almond flour and I will use a citrus flavored olive oil, either in whole or part. I did not have Grand Marnier but Triple Sec worked just fine.


3 months ago Christine

I followed the recipe exactly and it is delicious! I love that it is very simple and uses pantry ingredients. I agree with others that the flavor is better the day after baking. Next time I will use 1/2 cup of Grand Marnier and skip the OJ.


2 months ago daisybrain

You had some left the following day? Mine never last that long.


3 months ago Maureen Jones

Thanks for the tip. I will look. I made it with almond flour and added more when I saw how thin the batter was. Another reader said her batter was thin and lumpy even with AP flour. I made it and it is difficult to cut and I would cut the oil back even more. I cut it to 1 cup and if I chill it, I think I can cut and serve.


3 months ago James A. Morris

Cup4Cup is a wonderful gluten free wheatflour substitute created by Thomas Keller and crew. It might be what you need for the gluten free version. Available at William's Sonoma


3 months ago daisybrain

I have been enjoying this recipe and have made several cakes. I've been wondering though, what would happen if I added cocoa powder? Today I made two and added 1/2 cup of cocoa powder, 1 tsp. vanilla and a little extra milk to one of them and the results were scrumptious. I eliminated all of the orange. The other cake was the standard recipe. It's amazing to whip up a cake like this with so little effort and time. 15 min. (Tops) at the counter, 1 hr in the oven and 1/2 hour on the cooling rack It's a dream. Top with a dusting of powdered sugar.


15 days ago Autumn Lilly-Harari

I tried this and it was love at first taste! Thank you so much for sharing :)


3 months ago Maureen Jones

Help!! Someone talker earlier about substituting almond flour for AP to make it gluten free. I just subbed cup for cup and the batter is way too loose. Any ideas without using AP flour to thicken


3 months ago Ami

The batter for this cake is very loose, like nothing else I have ever seen. It's normal. You know the ribbon that forms with regular cake for which you whip eggs, etc.? That doesn't happen with this cake. The batter for this cake is loose and lumpy. Without having seen your batter, I can't be certain. But try baking as it is? Good luck!


3 months ago Lee Atendido

Awesome moisture and perfect crumb for my taste. I added an orange cream cheese frosting for a little extra indulgence - it was so perfect with a good hand pour cup of coffee.


3 months ago chichichicken

Great recipe and very delicious! I made a little tweaks to fit to my taste. I put only 1 cup of sugar instead of 1 3/4 cup and it was right sweetness for me; I increased orange juice to 1/2 cup because I didn't have Grand Marnier. I think that's the reason it has a strange sour and bitter taste at the end. It still tastes really really good though! I'd also note that I found it a little too oily so I will probably reduce it to 1 cup.


4 months ago Shari

I was surprised this turned out as well as it did. Delicious!


4 months ago Patricia Calvert

I've made this cake at least 6 times, mostly at tasting events to showcase olive oil that we produce. Everyone has raved about it; how moist it is, great flavor, "this is made with olive oil?" speechless. Greatest olive oil cake recipe I use, and I am constantly looking for new recipes to highlight our oil. Thanks for posting.


4 months ago SM

My hubby loved this cake. So easy to make. Great texture. I used 1 cup of olive oil instead. Also added chopped pistachio nuts and tsp of vanilla to make flavor more intense. Will definitely make it again. Wonder if I can use pineapple juice next time for a different flavor.