Orange-Cardamom Olive Oil Cake

July 12, 2021
4.5 Stars
Photo by Carolina Gelen
Author Notes

I’ve made this cake more than five times in a single week while testing this recipe and I did not get tired of it, which happens very rarely in the process of developing a recipe. Initially, there were no oranges involved—this was supposed to be a simple cardamom olive oil cake—but I’ve had a bunch of oranges to on hand so I decided to incorporate them in this scenario.

For personal reasons, I am usually quite hesitant about eating orange peels: It reminds me of this panettone I used to eat as a child, that always had a bunch of orange peel chunks in there. They were never candied or anything, just little squares of bitter orange peel thrown in the dough that took the joy of eating a panettone away from me. With that said, I decided to give the orange peels another chance with a quick test and I’m so happy I did. I candied some thinly sliced oranges in a cardamom sugar syrup and placed them a the bottom of the baking pan, poured the cake batter on top, and baked them together. The orange taste worked so well with the olive oil and cardamom in there I had to keep it. I like to serve this cake with a tiny drizzle of olive oil on top and some tangy yogurt on the side.
Carolina Gelen

Watch This Recipe
Orange-Cardamom Olive Oil Cake
  • Prep time 25 minutes
  • Cook time 30 minutes
  • Serves 6
  • For the candied orange:
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 cardamom pods, crushed or 1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 3 oranges, thinly sliced
  • For the cake:
  • 2 eggs
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/3 cup plus, 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 5 cardamom pods or 1 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 2 teaspoons orange zest
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed orange juice
  • 1/8 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3/4 cup plus, 2 tablespoons all purpose flour
In This Recipe
  1. Start by washing the oranges, then cut 3-5 mm or 0.15-0.20 inch thin slices crosswise. A sharp knife is key here! If you cut some thicker slices by mistake, save them for another dish. In a saucepan on medium heat, combine 1 cup of sugar, 1 cup of water and 2 crushed cardamom pods. Once the mixture comes to a boil, turn the heat to medium low, add the sliced oranges to the saucepan and let them simmer for 15 minutes.
  2. While the orange slices are simmering, preheat the oven at 175°C or 345°F. 3. Beat 2 eggs, 2/3 cup of sugar and 1/2 teaspoon of kosher salt using a whisk or an electric mixer, until the mixture becomes pale, light and fluffy. Slowly drizzle the olive oil in the egg mixture, while constantly mixing everything together. Add the vanilla extract, orange zest, orange juice, cardamom, and baking soda to the mixture mix them in using a spatula. 4. In a separate bowl, whisk the baking powder and flour together. Sift them in the egg mixture, then gently fold the dry ingredients using a spatula.
  3. Brush a 20 cm or 8 inch diameter springform pan with oil, then line the bottom and the sides of the pan with parchment paper. Next, arrange all the syrupy orange slices on the bottom and on the sides of the pan. Gently pour the cake batter in the pan, over the orange slices, then pop it in the oven. Place another tray underneath the springform pan to catch any potential sugar syrup drops. Bake the cake for 30-35 minutes or until a cake tester or a skewer comes out clean, once inserted in the middle of the cake.
  4. Allow the cake to cool off for at least 10 minutes before taking it out of the pan. Brush some of the remaining orange cardamom syrup on top of the cake. I also like to drizzle a tiny amount of olive oil directly on the cake slices, right before serving them.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

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  • Angie
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Carolina is a resident at Food52. She's also one of the hosts of Choose Your Own Recipe Adventure, our YouTube show where our Food52 readers pick the ingredients and techniques for a brand new recipe. Carolina recently immigrated to the U.S. from Transylvania, a place she spent most of her life. She continues to get inspired by the classic Romanian and Hungarian foods she was raised on, creating approachable, colorful, and fun recipes. For more cooking ideas and candid moments, check out her Instagram @carolinagelen.

97 Reviews

booglix January 22, 2022
This was very good! It was simple to put together and it looked really beautiful, at least when whole. The candied orange slices did not cut easily, so slices looked rather mangled. But it was moist, tender, and tasty.

I followed the recipe exactly and could not discern the cardamom in the end. I would double the amount next time. Lastly: I made 2x the batter recipe, and had enough for a 9" regular pan (you don't need a springform pan) and an additional mini cake.
Angie January 16, 2022
This cake was way too sweet. The oranges were cloying and overpowered the cardamom.
sreedm January 12, 2022
Absolutely delicious! I made it using Bob's red mill gluten-free flour for a celiac friend and it worked perfectly! I'm going to try and make it again with a little bit of ginger and grapefruit instead of oranges
StacyG January 12, 2022
I had a lot of oranges and I love olive oil cake. I wish this recipe could be adjusted so there is more batter, because when I baked this it was mostly all oranges and hardly any cake.
Liz B. January 13, 2022
You can increase the batter fairly easily by 50% I did this because I could only find a 9 inch springform pan. I baked it for 40 minutes and it came out beautifully.
Sarahb January 3, 2022
Can this cake be made ahead? I want to bring it to a a little getaway for a friends bday staying at an air BNb and don’t want to take all the baking things with me.
rgiorgis95 December 30, 2021
Is it possible to make this cake vegan?
Roshnipatnaik December 27, 2021
Don't sleep on this recipe!
[email protected] December 25, 2021
Made this tonight for Xmas dinner. It had a lovely citrus flavor and moist texture. I choose this recipe because I wanted to use mandarins and oranges from our trees and it was perfect choice. My mom asked me to send her the recipe so she could make it again.
Abigail November 20, 2021
I really felt like orange and cardamon cake and this one looks perfect! The explanations were great. I made it, and tasted a sliver because I couldn't wait.

I love sweets but sugar is bad for me, so I cooked the oranges in 1/3 cup of sugar, not 1 cup, and they are sweet enough for me. To the batter, I also added 1/3 sugar and next time will add 1/4, as plenty sweet enough. Used crushed pods for the orange cook (I think 4 next time for me), and a teaspoon of ground cardamon and mine might be old as I can't feel it enough. Also spread slivered almonds on top. Looks great, and tastes wonderful. I am adding this comment both to say thank you, and also to encourage those with a sweet tooth who for health reasons shouldn't eat too much sugar- there is a way!
Oliloi September 21, 2021
I was concerned about bitterness, but it was lovely! Next time I’ll make extra batter as others suggested. I had full slices lining the pan, and the batter did not quite reach the top.
Arobb September 12, 2021
I've made this cake twice now and it's come out perfect every time. The only thing I do differently is to add an extra egg. I live at high altitude, 7,000 ft, and it keeps the cake moist. Wonderful recipe.
dantehart11 September 7, 2021
Hi! I only have an 8 by 8inch square cake pan. Will this recipe work with what I have or should I douse the recipe?
Shauna B. July 20, 2021
So, I had never candied citrus before, but the time specified in the recipe worked great for me. The ratio of effort to level of impressiveness was fantastic, and cardamom olive oil not only sounds elevated, it tastes that way too. Great recipe, will pull this one out next time I entertain. Thx Carolina, I will certainly check out your other recipes.
WhitneyJadePhoto July 20, 2021
Ok, I LOVE this cake. I have already made it 3 times & my roommate even eats it for breakfast. I also cook the orange slices for about 25 minutes as some others suggested to get the rinds sweeter. I do have 1 question... some of the orange slices on top of my cake always kind of disappear into the cake while baking. Does this mean my slices are too thin? I mean it's still delish but I want it to look more instagram-worthy like Carolina's haha
TM April 18, 2021
I made this cake yesterday with much success! It is delicious! The cake looked lovely when I peeled off the parchment paper and stayed together. I had 3 pieces yesterday and 1 this afternoon. The texture of the cake is lovely. I added a bit more cardamon then the recipe called for because I enjoy a slightly more pronounce taste of it. And, as recommended by the cake tastes great with a small drizzle of olive oil atop and some plain yogurt on the side. These compliments add a nice bouquet to the overall bite of food. The adjustment I made, having candied citrus before, was to let the slices cook in the syrup for about 25 minutes. The rinds were then soft enough to allow me to slice the cake without any resistance. Lesson learned was to be careful not to slice the citrus too thin as those slices fell apart upon taking them out of the syrup . The remaining syrup is quite tasty and will be good when added to everything from ice tea and cocktails to toppings for pancakes. Also made an Italian soda with it! I'm going experiment with adding a bit of fresh lemon juice to the orange juice next time.
Kayla’s C. April 11, 2021
I really really enjoyed the cake; it was moist, the hint of cardamom was perfect, and I’m not afraid to say I went back for 3rds. I’ve seen this cake on my feed for awhile and I couldn’t wait to make it when I got home from college. So worth it!! It combines the best ingredients; olive oil and cardamom. The only little critique I have is the orange slices. To me, they weren’t worth the effort because they were still slightly bitter after cooking down. Another great recipe Carolina! :)
Tcmmjp April 6, 2021
Cake texture was great. Wish I would have read reviews before making it because 15 min simmer time was not enough to candy the thin orange slices. They still has some bitterness and chew that was not pleasant. More time in the syrup, or use halves for a cleaner slice to the cake. I used a regular 9inch cake and and just kept an eye on the time. The extra syrup will be great added to seltzer or bourbon cocktails this week.
Nikki March 15, 2021
This is super delicious and easy to make! I’ve already made two this week, one with all regular oranges, and another with a mix of regular and blood oranges. My only question is... what’s the best way to store the cake, fridge or counter? And how long will it last? We ate it too fast to answer these questions ourself...
Zoey K. March 12, 2021
Would love to make this for my friend's upcoming birthday, any suggestions for how to make this gluten free?
Rebecca March 7, 2021
Since cardamom is a spice I didn’t have, I decided to sub cinnamon & nutmeg. I used a 7” spring form pan. I used parchment. I wish I can post a picture, the cake came out beautiful. I have to admit the orange slices were a bit bitter. But the cake was very tasty. I served it with a bit of whipped cream. Amanda you made it look very easy but it was a lot of work.