Orange-Cardamom Olive Oil Cake

July 12, 2021
61 Ratings
Photo by Carolina Gelen
  • Prep time 25 minutes
  • Cook time 30 minutes
  • Serves 6
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.

Helpful tools for this recipe:
- Farmhouse Measuring Spoons
- GIR Silicone Basting Brush
- GIR Silicone Spatula

Carolina Gelen

What You'll Need
Watch This Recipe
Orange-Cardamom Olive Oil Cake
  • 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
  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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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.

120 Reviews

Collieflower December 6, 2023
I didn’t have an orange but I did have the candied orange slices from Trader Joe’s so I used a muffin tin with one orange slice in each….so yummy. The orange had a good chew to it.
MiMi4ez April 2, 2023
I have not made this but I may. I enjoyed your video!
Nigar S. March 29, 2023
Can I add almond flour as well?
jam P. March 8, 2023
i love carolina's recipes. but did anyone else notice this recipe is completely different from the one on her substack? when i used that one it was way better - longer simmering time, more eggs which created a better texture, etc. such a shame that this version of the recipe is the more accessible one because it really doesn't do the recipe justice.
Victoria October 6, 2023
Where is the sub stack please
Tesee November 8, 2023
Tesee November 8, 2023
JenB March 5, 2023
This is a nice coffeecake-style cake, though is pretty enough for a dessert. I made it twice in one day. I prefer it is as a mid-morning snack with coffee. I agreed with other reviewers that the cardamom flavor in the orange slices was a little weak with just 2 pods in the syrup; I added 3 on my second try. When making the syrup, don't move around the orange slices too much or they will break apart and be sure to let the syrup simmer for a full 15min (or longer) until the syrup is nice and thick. When assembling the cake, on my first try, I didn't overlap the oranges in the bottom of the pan and so didn't use all the slices, and the cake was less orange-y. The second time I layered as many orange slices were intact even as they overlapped. The batter seeped between the slices and was wonderful. Finally, cleanup was easier with a regular cake pan -- not a springform pan -- and just using parchment along the bottom was sufficient to keep it from sticking.
judy February 15, 2023
This recipe inspired a version of Depression Cake. I have been making hose for a few weeks now, in a lot of variations. I have found out that I am allergic to the combination of baking powder and flour. Basic leavening for a lot of cakes. Depression cake uses baking soda and vinegar. Also no eggs. And good oil for flavor. So used this method, good olive oil and candied oranges from Trader Joes. They are somewhat clunky. I poured a little filtered water over the to soften. Did not overlap them on the cake, but placed them like pineapple slices on upside down cake. Which this essentially is. Cardamom is a staple in my kitchen for both sweet and savory dishes. the concept is amazing. The Trader Joe oranges were fine even though not as finely cut. And the flavors were magnificent. Thanks for the inspiration! I do not have a springform pan. Parchment in my square 8" pan worked fine, and was easy to turn out on a plate. Liked lovely. Tasted Devine. Cardamom and orange are perfect combinations.
depression cake with just about any combination and variations is very simple to make...there are recipes out there for both chocolate and vanilla versions. I reduce sugar by at least 25-30%. Liquids can be anything from water to buttermilk to sour cream or yogurt, and they will work Just preserve the rest of the ratios. Even if using acid juice like lemon, use the vinegar for leavening. Finally, I have used curdled milk, and do not have any problem with the vinegar curdling the milk if I choose to use milk instead of water. Alternative milks also work very does whole wheat flour. VEryeasy, forgiving and versatile recipe! I have even make an apple spice coffee cake!
jadeeerose February 1, 2023
I thought this cake was too sweet. I've made a similar cake using blood oranges that doesn't candy the orange slices and I felt that was more balanced. I also missed the cardamom flavor. I used a mortar and pestle to crush cardamom seeds and used 1 tsp but the flavor didn't come through for me. The recipe itself could have more visual cues for the candying oranges step. Was it supposed to continue bubbling after adding the oranges? I didn't slice all the oranges - I saved one to zest and juice. That would've been a lot of orange to cut through on the final cake and would've been too much orange:batter for me.
sreedm August 12, 2022
Very easy to make and absolutely delicious! Hardest part is slicing the oranges thinly, but that is due to my subpar knife skills.
I've made a GF version of this cake using Bob's Red Mill 1:1 gluten-free flour and it still turned out amazing! Lost a bit of the height but the taste was spot on.
James G. August 11, 2022
I will bake this beauty on Saturday.
I haven't even tried before, but I am sure it will be delicious based on the ingredients.
I only have one (complaint) question; the Internet and fb are not confined to the US. I find it slightly annoying that all recipes are based on grams, cups, quarts, etc. I am sure that it would be a simple thing to convert to an international weights and measures system. Don't you agree?
Best regards
arcane54 March 3, 2023
James, the Food52 recipes vary depending on where the recipe originator lives. Some are metric, some not.
zaidahughes April 8, 2022
I've never made an olive oil cake before and was wondering how prevalent the oil taste is? I was thinking of making this as a birthday cake - to make it more celebratory making it with two layers, vanilla cream in the middle and squirts of cream on top to hold glace cherries. Although, I understand this may be totally the wrong idea for this type of cake. What do you think?
mwhistler November 23, 2022
Olive oil cakes are delicious- and yes, there is a fruity, light taste of the olive oil in the cake. They stay moist and deepen in flavor over a day or so...but not the best cake for splitting and filling, or doing "cake architecture" as they tend to be moist.

Enjoy the cake with coffee or a nice glass of port or marsala- I wouldn't dress it up with cream filling.
Bette A. March 17, 2022
Tried this cake for the first time today and very happy with the results. Next time, I would simmer the orange slices longer to create a thicker syrup. In reading the reviews (after the fact) I was worried the orange rinds would be bitter however they were very sweet. I used a combination of Cara Cara and Valencia oranges. Also reduced the cardamom orange cooking syrup and brushed a bit over the cake once inverted. looking forward to making this again.
Natasha K. March 8, 2022
I've made this cake 5 times in the past 2 weeks. I halved and doubled the recipe. I ate it alone and with my family. I'm 100% going to make it again. It's a great, delicious moist coffee cake, not overly sweet, with hints of bitterness, absolutely wonderful. Easy to make too!
Kathleen March 4, 2022
This was delish! However, I decided to make a cake on a Friday night and it turned out I was completely unprepared. I ran short on sugar so made it up with splenda. Practically zero AP flour in the house, so used 1/4 c. white AP flour, 1/4 c. whole wheat flour and 1/4 c. almond flour. Turned out fantastic! And that syrup...HOLY COW, I'll put that on anything.
Erin February 19, 2022
Also Amanda in the video to make this is hilarious and a must watch.
Erin February 19, 2022
Fairly easy and not too time consuming but is very impressive in look and taste! I forgot to buy cardamom and found i could substitute fresh ginger and cinnamon stick in syrup stage and powdered ginger and cinnamon in the cake stage. Great for breakfast too.
NXL February 14, 2022
This is a fantastic recipe! I did as Amanda suggests in the video (she's hilarious, btw) and zested the oranges before slicing. The bitterness of the candied peel, peppery olive oil, and creamy yogurt were so delicious. If you love a very sweet dessert, this is likely not for you.
karin.anderson.52 February 2, 2022
Much as I love orange marmalade, this cake was too bitter for our liking. The cake by itself wasn’t bad, but for the amount of work and oranges that went into it, the result was rather disappointing.
Shaad January 25, 2022
Everything about this cake is amazing. The crumb is very soft and tender, the orange so juicy. Great recipe! Made it twice this week :)
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.