Maialino's Olive Oil Cake

By • February 11, 2014 • 179 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 cups sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 1/3 cups extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 1/4 cups whole milk
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons 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 (179)

Comments (179) Questions (9)

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13 days ago Wen

If I made this as muffins, how long would it need to bake?

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13 days ago Ami

I baked this as miniature muffins (about 1.5 inches diameter on the bottom, 2 inches diameter top, and maybe 2 inches high), and it took about 12 minutes. I baked for 8 minutes at 350F at first, and then checked every minute after that. The shape was more even when I baked them at 300F. When the temperature was at 350F, they rose too fast at first and became kind of tilted pointy top. When the temperature was lower, the top rose evenly in a dome shape. They were as delicious as the big cake!

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15 days ago Elaine Ho

Literally perfect.

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18 days ago radhika

Is there a way I can add a picture in the comments section? This came out so beautiful and like the article quoted, this was so fragile and the moistest cake EVER! Thanks for the lovely recipe!

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18 days ago Lynn McKenzie

I just made it and it's fantastic! Delicious! I even put a orange zest glaze on one of the cakes.

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22 days ago radhika

Thank you Ann. Can't wait to try this!

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23 days ago Ann

I think you should be fine with the OJ.

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23 days ago radhika

Can I subsitute Grand Marnier with orange juice? Not many are comfortable consuming alcohol in a cake, at least my family members. Let me know your thoughts how it will turn out if I do so. Thanks much!

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22 days ago daisybrain

This has been a very versatile recipe. My son likes it with lemon rather than orange flavoring and I have substituted 1 cup of the flour for cocoa powder with terrific results.

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about 1 month ago Rachael Lahren

Ann, this very issue occurs with me in my oven when I bake the cake. However, I once cooked the cake in my mother's oven with the convention feature on and the results were much better. I am not sure if this is what contributed to the difference but it is the only change that I am aware of. Good luck.

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about 1 month ago Ann

Thanks Rachael. It's comforting to know I'm not alone. I wish I had a convection oven to try it on. The real mystery, though, is why after all the other attempts were so successful, this one wasn't. The hidden mysteries of baking, I guess. Ugh!!!!

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about 1 month ago Ann

I have made this cake successfully many times with perfect results. Yesterday's version, however, went wrong somewhere and I'm not sure where. The cake mounded up in the middle once in the oven and then cracked across the entire surface, only to later sink in this crack area as it cooled. Ben after an hour and ten minutes the cake was still a bit under cooked in the center but I removed it from the oven so the rest of the cake wouldn't over bake. When I cut into the cake, there was about a 1/4" area at the bottom of the cake all around that looked oily, almost as if the oil had settled out. Does anyone know what happened?

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about 1 month ago WinterGal

if your measurements and ingredients were spot on, might be your oven. I had similar problems baking fail proof cakes and pies for thanksgiving... turned out my oven was failing. it died completely just before Christmas. if you have an oven thermometer, give it a try. good luck!

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about 1 month ago Ann

Hi,
I wondered about the oven temp. My oven isn't on the verge of quitting, I hope, but it isn't the most reliable in terms of temperature. I'm also wondering if I had previously baked the cake on a higher/lower shelf last time, but don't remember doing so.

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about 1 month ago WinterGal

Ann I don't think the rack height should matter, as I have moved mine higher and lower in the last to make room for extra items in the oven. just pay close attention to what you're baking I there. my TG turkey was fine as were other times that didn't need to rise with chemistry magic. it was two different cakes I baked that really clued me in. they were under baked in the center and didn't rise as much, yet pulled away from pan edges. the tops were crisp. my chocolate cake was even spotted! the flavors were even different. ugh, always something!

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23 days ago Caro GF

this happened to me too! exactly the same experience. it was so sad, and not edible. so strange because I am an experienced baker and sounds like you are too.

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about 1 month ago Patricia Calvert

The cake is supposed to be moist in the center. It's an oil cake vs. a butter cake. Olive oil cakes bake up to be more moist and dense than butter cakes. If you go back to read the description, it says that "if it held any more moisture, it would be pudding". Meaning very moist. Eat & enjoy!

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about 1 month ago I-tzu Chu

I used 2/3 of the ingredients and baked in a 6-inch cake pan but it did not work. Baked it over an hour and half and the inside was still moist. Don't know what went wrong :(

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23 days ago Iris Brest

The area (and volume) of a 6" pan is only 4/9 that of a 9" pan, so you had half again as much batter as would be proportional.

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2 months ago The Cook's Tour

Have had this recipe for awhile but just made it yesterday. Fabulous! The batter fit perfectly into a 9" round Calphalon pan. I was secretly hoping for some extra batter to make some muffins but there was none. This is a keeper!

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2 months ago Mara

Any good recommendations for a mascarpone buttercream or mascarpone frosting recipe to go with this cake?

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2 months ago WinterGal

this is the recipe I followed and it made plenty. honestly, cream cheese will do just fine. I used a low fat cream cheese the second time and noticed no difference in flavor.

Ingredients:

6 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
8 ounces mascarpone cheese, room temperature
2 cups confectioners sugar, sifted

Using a hand mixer, beat buffer and cheese until light and creamy. Add sugar and continue beating until smooth.

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2 months ago Mara

Thank you!!

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about 1 month ago Rachael Lahren

Mara, try this:
4 T butter, room temperature
4 oz cream cheese, room temperature
4 oz marscapone cheese, room temperature
1/2 C confectioners sugar
1/4 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/4 tsp fresh orange zest

Beat butter and cream cheese until fluffy (4 min). Beat in sugar, vanilla and zest. Fold in marscapone cheese.

This provides enough to generously frost the top of the cake.

Stringio

4 months ago deanna421

Made this last night as a birthday cake for my brother--topped with some mascarpone buttercream. Didn't have any Grand Marnier on hand, but the cake turned out beautifully with just a bit more fresh orange juice. It was a big hit--thanks for the recipe!

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4 months ago Ticketytwo

I've made this cake many many times. Delicious, fail proof , perfect!

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5 months ago Mrs. mck

has anyone successfully substituted almond flour and almond milk in this recipe?

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5 months ago valerie johnston

Can I make this as cupcakes do you think?

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5 months ago Kristen Miglore

Kristen is the Executive Editor of Food52

Yes -- in fact, Maialino sells these as olive oil muffins in the morning!

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5 months ago Mrs. mck

yes, I am bakingin a 9" spring pan. Thank you!!!

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5 months ago Mrs. mck

Thank yo for the answer. I just went ahead and puttered the sides, cut out a circle for the parchment and poured the batter on top with no problem. I cut the recipe in half...this may sounds stupid but I have to ask...do I cook for 1/2 the time since it is less volume?

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5 months ago WinterGal

if the pan you are baking in is as wide, then the bake time will be somewhat less. I had extra batter since my springform pan is smaller, so I poured the extra on a ramekin and surprisingly, it baked almost the full time! just make sure you get that nice brown color like the picture. the cake is not burned; that crunchy exterior is fabulous!

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5 months ago Mrs. mck

a little question...trying this recipe but not familiar with the steps...the recipe says to butter the bottom of the pan then it says to line the bottom of the pan with parchment paper...ok so, follow as written or put parchment, then butter parchment?

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5 months ago WinterGal

the butter is needed on the pan to hold parchment in place. then butter the parchment. I skipped this step, as I used a spring form pan and it turned out beautifully, but I was very careful loosening with a knife underneath. this is truly a wonderful cake!