Abraço Olive Oil Cake

July  3, 2021
4.5 Stars
Photo by Rocky Luten
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

  • Prep time 20 minutes
  • Cook time 1 hour 5 minutes
  • Makes 1 loaf
  • 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
In This Recipe
  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.

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

33 Reviews

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.
Author Comment
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?
Author Comment
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!
Author Comment
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.
Author Comment
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!
Author Comment
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. ;)
Joy June 17, 2018
Please change "invest" cake to invert cake. Thank you.
Author Comment
Hana A. June 18, 2018
Thanks for the catch, Joy! Updated now. :)
Anitac June 17, 2018
Can I just double this recipe to make 2 loves??? Have you tried with other citrus??
Author Comment
Hana A. June 18, 2018
Hi Anitac - I've done both (1. double the recipe to divide among 2 pans; 2. make the same recipe twice - this is good if you have small children around :)). The batter is very friendly to other citrus; lemon and Meyer lemon are especially good. Let me know how it turns out for you!
Lee June 16, 2018
Would this be good with almonds (toasted) added? As slivers or finely chopped?
Author Comment
Hana A. June 18, 2018
Hi Lee - almonds sound delicious. I think any variation (toasted slivers on the top, or chopped/ground in the batter) would be lovely. Let us know how it turns out!
Tammy O. June 15, 2018
Can I substitute a gluten free flour in this recipe? My daughter has celiac.
Author Comment
Hana A. June 18, 2018
Hi Tammy - we haven't tried it, but I bet it'd turn out great. Let us know how it goes, thanks!
Karen T. September 13, 2018
Hi I made the cake and it is delicious. My family loved it
Author Comment
Hana A. September 14, 2018
Thanks for letting us know, Karen!