Abraço Olive Oil Cake

July  3, 2021
27 Ratings
Photo by Rocky Luten
  • Prep time 20 minutes
  • Cook time 1 hour 5 minutes
  • Makes 1 loaf
Author Notes

This olive oil cake from beloved coffee shop Abraço in New York's East Village is everything. The not-too-sweet cake comes together shockingly easily, but also disappears with frightening speed: I've smartened up to know that when I make it, I'd better double-up on the recipe. My family and I can zip through a single loaf the day it's made; the second loaf benefits from a bit of rest, and is superb for a quick breakfast on-the-go in the ensuing days.

The recipe is perfect as is, but sometimes I'll tweak it slightly to make it even less sweet (2/3 cup of sugar versus the whole cup), increase the amount of zest, change up the citrus (Meyer lemon is heavenly), even grease the pan with butter and coarse sugar and/or cornmeal to give the lovely loaf a bit of texture and character. Go wild.

From Bon Appetit via Lingered Upon: —Hana Asbrink

Test Kitchen Notes

Featured in: The Orange-Scented Olive Oil Cake I Make 2 Loaves at a Time —The Editors

What You'll Need
  • 1 1/2 cups unbleached white flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon coarse kosher salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup whole milk
  • 1/2 cup mild-flavored organic olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons finely grated orange peel
  1. Preheat oven to 325°F. Oil and flour 9x5x3-inch metal loaf pan. Whisk first 5 ingredients in large bowl. Whisk eggs, milk, olive oil, and orange peel in medium bowl to blend. Gradually whisk egg mixture into dry ingredients. Transfer to prepared pan.
  2. Bake cake until tester inserted into center comes out clean, 60 to 65 minutes. Cool in pan on rack 20 minutes. Invert pan to remove cake. Cool completely, top side up.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Cookie!
  • AntoniaJames
  • Angelina Hazzouri
    Angelina Hazzouri
  • Linda Shirar
    Linda Shirar
  • Valeria Picerno
    Valeria Picerno
Hana is a food writer/editor based in New York.

38 Reviews

Cookie! May 21, 2023
I needed a quick dessert and didn’t have an hour to bake this in a loaf pan. Instead I baked it in an oversized six-count muffin tin and it was perfect. I baked it about 20 minutes - a huge timesaver from the hour the loaf takes. I also reduced sugar to 2/3 cup and used lemon zest/juice as I was scant on milk. Thank you for the beautiful and adaptable recipe!
MilletteofSd April 13, 2023
A fabulous snacking cake recipe. First up, Thank you to all for commenting on their own preferences. I elected to use Lemons, with reducing the 3/4 cup whole milk to 1/2 cup buttermilk plus 1/4 cup lemon juice. It’s perfect for me that I didn’t want that sugar high, but something so quick & so delicious!
Lgardner811 April 12, 2023
Can this be made in a bundt pan? if so, how do I modify the baking time?

jenncc January 20, 2023
This is simple and delicious. Threw this together last minute for dinner party. Made exactly as directed except used lemon instead of orange zest. It came out moist, delicately flavored and a beautiful shade of yellow.
Sheltie_Mom_4ever October 2, 2022
I made this recipe again this morning, it’s just so simple but so tasty!
vryyshi June 14, 2022
I have too much olive oil after moving and was hoping to find ways to bake with it. I settled with this recipe was others required other ingredients that I didn't have on hand

- cut sugar to 2/3 cups
- 1/2 cup oat flour instead of all AP flour
- vanilla almond milk instead of whole milk
- dislike measuring zest (too messy!) so used zest of two large oranges

also added some thin orange slices for an upside down style cake but might try candied slices next time
Lint February 13, 2022
Was looking for an easy oil-based cake and this fit the bill. It was a forgiving recipe and turned out well despite a few substitutions:
- Didn't have baking powder and baking soda, so I self raising flour
- cut sugar to 3/4 cup
- substitued vanilla essence for the orange peel
- used skim milk instead of full cream
- baked in an 8 X 8 square pan, took about 40 mins

Easy to make with just a fork and spatula, no mixer needed. Good as a base recipe for other flavours.
Evette F. July 3, 2021
Used oat milk to make it dairy free. Used lemon zest instead of orange. Also added juice from one lemon. Was amazing.
Sheltie_Mom_4ever May 19, 2021
I had never heard of an olive cake until a few weeks ago when I saw it on a random lifestyle blog (you know how it is on Pinterest- you go to look at furniture and three hours later you’re reading about exotic escapes!). Then I read about olive cakes again recently and it credited this recipe. I took this as a sign! Made my first olive cake today, following this recipe and added a lemon glaze. Lord! It was delicious! So dense, perfect “sweetness”, so hardy. I did a “test taste” and quickly gobbled a quarter of the loaf! I had to check myself before I wreaked myself. I’m sold on this recipe.
AntoniaJames September 24, 2020
Hana, when you measure 1.5 cups of flour for a cake like this, how much does it weigh? Thank you. ;o)
nice_cake7 September 4, 2020
To tell the truth, I've never made this cake. But the other day, ß sent me a link, and recommended I do. I thought about it and considered buying a cake tin. I considered buying the ingredients: the eggs and milk I already had; the baking powder and soda I did not. In the end, as I say, I did not make the cake. Time passed. Mornings were quiet and in the evenings I went on short walks. I saw two lizards huddled together under a bush, and I did like them, but I have to admit, somewhere in the back of my mind I still wondered whether the cake was soft, whether it was good. How prominent was the orange? I didn't know. I didn't expect it to be sweet (it is an olive oil cake, after all) but in the end: one has to eat these things to get a sense of them.

All of which to say: on Thursday, when I learned that ß had gone to the grocery store to buy eggs to make a fresh cake (which I intuited ß would share with me, I think based on something that had been said) I was truly chuffed. I drove 86 miles north and ß handed me the cake in a metal tin. The whole cake, and a tin. The top of the cake had a light, almost orange color—just like the picture. After putting it in my bag, I drove 86 miles south, and around 6pm, maybe about 68 miles into the 86 mile drive, I took a short break from the audiobook I'd been listening to to hear a couple songs from the fantastic, grunge-heavy OST for Alex Proyas's 1994 film, The Crow, and I was struck by a strong and sudden desire to eat the cake. I wanted to eat it right then and there on the interstate, with my hands. For safety reasons I didn't do this, of course, but about two minutes after I got home, I washed my hand, took the cake from my bag, and cut a small slice off the end. I then cut this slice into two. I was delighted to find that the cake was soft. The cake was good. The orange isn't prominent, but it is present. I cut a third slice just now, and I am eating it. I think it's nice.
AntoniaJames September 24, 2020
This ranks among the most brilliant, enjoyable, yet insightful comments posted on any recipe on this site, ever - and there have been hundreds of thousands of them. Thank you. ;o)
Angelina H. August 27, 2020
SO delicious! Just made this by doing everything as stated in the recipe––except I doubled it because I could tell it was going to be good and we'd need two. Such a simple recipe too. Will definitely be making this a lot throughout the fall!
Linda S. April 26, 2020
I make this cake all the time! I use 3/4 cup olive oil instead because I like a more moist cake and i want that flavor to come through. I also reduced the sugar to 3/4 cup.
Lisa January 17, 2020
This is so easy and so tasty. I've made it twice, once in an 8x8 inch pan and topped with chocolate ganache, and once in an 8x4 in loaf pan. Each time I added some cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger to make it a spice cake. It's delicious. I decreased the sugar to 3/4 cup too.
Aurora March 11, 2019
I used buttermilk. Delicious!!!
Jackie January 17, 2019
This recipe is super simple and equally as delicious. I used 2% milk and it worked perfectly. I've made this cake 3 times in 2 weeks because it's just that amazing! It's also a very reliable recipe as the results are always consistent.
Hana A. January 23, 2019
Thanks for sharing your feedback, Jackie! Isn't it just so good? ;)
Valeria P. November 12, 2018
Would this work with a plant based milk? Like rice milk for instance?
Hana A. January 23, 2019
Hi Valeria - I'm sorry I haven't tried it with plant milk, but I bet it would be worth a 1:1 experiment. I bet it would be delicious, as long as you monitor that the bread is sufficiently cooked through.
Gabrielle C. September 4, 2020
Just now made it with almond milk, it is SUPER delicious and turned out fantastic. No other edits to the recipe except a bit more olive oil bc I love the flavor.
dizzylizzy February 24, 2022
I've made it several times with oat milk. Fabulous.
Jo July 10, 2018
Hi Hana,

The cake came out perfect! Instead of 3/4 milk, I used 1/2C milk and 1/4C lemon juice as i I want to have a lemony flavor. Love it!
Hana A. July 13, 2018
What a great idea, Jo, thanks for letting us know! I'm sure the milk + lemon juice also gave it a nice buttermilk-y tang. ;)
Austin B. July 7, 2018
Extremely good, and much more cost-effective than some of the other OO cakes out there.
Hana A. July 13, 2018
Amazing, thanks for the feedback Austin!
Nia M. June 21, 2018
This recipe is amazing!!! I cut the sugar down to 3/4 cup and added fresh juice from the orange due to high elevation baking and the sweetness was perfection! Am going to try a lemon & poppyseed version next time!
Hana A. June 22, 2018
That makes me so happy, Nia! Thanks for reporting back and glad you enjoy the cake so much. Lemon poppyseed is always a good idea. ;)