Maialino's Olive Oil Cake

By • February 11, 2014 • 159 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.
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Comments (159) Questions (9)


25 days 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!


26 days ago Mara

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


26 days 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.


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.


25 days ago Mara

Thank you!!


2 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!


2 months ago Ticketytwo

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


4 months ago Mrs. mck

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


4 months ago valerie johnston

Can I make this as cupcakes do you think?


4 months ago Kristen Miglore

Kristen is the Executive Editor of Food52

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


4 months ago Mrs. mck

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


4 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 I cook for 1/2 the time since it is less volume?


4 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!


4 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?


4 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!


4 months ago mirabelle

GLUTEN FREE: Just made this cake today for a birthday cake. It turned out well - 2 layers and then frosted it with an orange buttercream. Tweaked the original recipe by: using much less oil - just under a cup (230ml) and making sure it was fruity, high quality oil. 2. used less sugar 1 1/4 (due to the sweetness of the icing.) Substituted G.F flour with extra 1/2 teaspoon of baking powder. Skipped the orange juice, rind and Grand Mariner, Instead boiled one juicy medium orange until soft, then blended half of it in the food processor and pulsed it to a pulp. (including skin). Added the pulp to the mixture - which should equal approx. 1/2 cup. These gave it a more intense flavour and sexy colour - whilst being non alcoholic too etc! Turned out to be a real celebration cake in the end. Good stock recipe!


4 months ago JohnL

Sounds great. I have a recipe for orange muffins made entirely in the food processor that calls for a whole orange chopped fine that goes straight into the batter without pre-cooking, and it cooks right along with the muffins. It is a great idea if you like an intense orange flavor. I found the recipe in the now defunct Pleasures of Cooking magazine that used to be published by Cuisinart. Does anyone remember that magazine? I have collected most of the missing issues off Ebay. I was disappointed when they stopped publishing.


4 months ago mirabelle

Double thumbs up John!! Shame that I cant help re. the magazines but if i do find any shall be sure to drop you a note on this comment section. viva la orange!! Best regards...


4 months 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.


4 months 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


4 months 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.


5 months 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!


5 months ago Cathy Cugini

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


5 months ago DLP

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


5 months ago KtMcB

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


5 months 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!


4 months ago Autumn Lilly-Harari

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


6 months 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.


6 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!


6 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.