Orange-Cardamom Olive Oil Cake

January 15, 2021
17 Ratings
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.

  • Fernando Lino
    Fernando Lino
  • Abigail Ruby
    Abigail Ruby
  • Larios Enmanuel
    Larios Enmanuel
  • Chocowagon
  • AntoniaJames
Carolina Gelen

Recipe by: Carolina Gelen

    72 Reviews

    MamaBeasley February 24, 2021
    Amazing! A very forgiving recipe. I didn’t slice the oranges quite thin enough but it still turned out delicious.
    Sam S. February 24, 2021
    This is a nice showy cake. Looked great. I wanted much more actual cake than this recipe yields. Cake seemed quite skimpy against the wow of the oranges. I read some people doubled the batter and I would agree with that. Like others, I candied the orange slices longer around 30 mins. They were a great touch. You definitely need to slice them thin as the recipe states, and much thinner than the woman in the video did above. I have to say I didn't love the cake itself. I have an amazing orange Olive Oil cake recipe that is much more moist and the texture far better. It uses more olive oil and the addition of milk. I think when I make this again I will use that cake batter, add some cardamom and use the orange slice sitch from this recipe. Should be a great Frankenstein ;)
    Naz D. February 24, 2021
    Could you share the orange cake recipe you have? :)
    Author Comment
    Carolina G. February 24, 2021
    Thank you for the honest feedback, Sam! If using a larger baking pan than the recipe calls for, definitely make sure to have more batter on hand so you don't end up with a cake this as a pancake, haha :)
    Angela M. February 23, 2021
    Loved this cake! I will have to give it a second round to perfect. I candied the oranges for 15 minutes but the rind still had some bitterness. Not too bad but some bites was too much. I did finely slice them.
    It was very very moist which was divine. I don’t have a spring form pan so I used a regular 9” cake pan and think that is why it was so moist because none of the juices spilled out. Maybe too moist because it was hard to move around since it was so soft but not undercooked which is great!

    Mine also didn’t look as pretty. The center slices shifted during backing and there was nothing in the middle so I suggest strategically placing your slices perhaps start center out.

    Perfect after dinner with a cup of tea!
    Author Comment
    Carolina G. February 24, 2021
    I'm glad you loved it!
    RJakobsen February 23, 2021
    Love love love this cake. I admit I use a bit more cardamom, more rounded measure, but it’s my favourite spice so not surprising. I made my last one with blood oranges and the taste and colours were lovely. The crumb is delicate and the flavours subtle and balanced. I also bake mine in a long loaf pan instead of a round springform and the result is just a nice without the cleanup of a leaking springform. Also the loaf pan slightly caramelizes the oranges by retaining the juice. Easy to make and the results are impressive. Oh and the fragrance of oranges cooking in my kitchen lingers so how can that be a bad thing?
    Author Comment
    Carolina G. February 24, 2021
    Such a thoughtful review, I'm so happy to hear your thoughts on this recipe, thank you for giving it a go!
    Rebecca February 22, 2021
    Cant wait to try this recipe out. I love olive oil cake. Could not find cardamon. Can I substitute cinnamon & nutmeg? Are the measurements the same?
    RJakobsen February 23, 2021
    Gotta use the cardamom. It’s spectacular. The cinnamon and nutmeg would be overpowering.
    Author Comment
    Carolina G. February 24, 2021
    If you don't have cardamom on hand, feel free to just skip it. You could use other spices instead, but they might be too overpowering :)
    Sam S. February 21, 2021
    Do I have to use a spring form pan for this? I have yet to buy one because all I read are leaks on leaks. Any suggestions?
    RJakobsen February 23, 2021
    I make mine in a long loaf pan and it’s amazing.
    Author Comment
    Carolina G. February 24, 2021
    You can use a regular cake pan, just make sure it's properly lined with parchment paper!
    BldrJanet February 20, 2021
    Just made this today. Turned out beautiful and delicious. I did make some adjustments, based on the reviews others had left.

    I only have a 9" springform pan, and I know that holds a surprisingly significant more batter than an 8" one. So, I made 50% more cake batter, and it seems just right to me.

    I also candied the orange slices much longer than called for -- more like 40 minutes. I've candied citrus before, so I knew that I was looking for a translucent peel.

    Like the Food52 video tester suggested, I "rebelled" and did not line the sides of the pan with parchment, just was sure to oil it well. It unmolded very cleanly, no sticking.

    This makes an elegant presentation and is a great dairy-free option for my daughter's birthday.
    Author Comment
    Carolina G. February 24, 2021
    Thank you for taking the time to share this, I am so happy you liked it!
    Fernando L. February 3, 2021
    I made this last night for me and my two roommates! It was simple to make and we all loved it ! The video also helped a lot . Thank you for taking the time to make it and for sharing!
    Author Comment
    Carolina G. February 24, 2021
    Thank you for giving it a go, I'm glad everyone liked it :)
    Abigail R. February 2, 2021
    Such a delicious cake and a perfect way to use the oranges filling our fridge during citrus season. Super moist and not too too sweet. Also loved that it's dairy free
    Author Comment
    Carolina G. February 24, 2021
    So happy you're saying that, Abigail!
    anubailey February 1, 2021
    Made this today. Came out good. Very tasty. Looked good too. 👌
    Author Comment
    Carolina G. February 24, 2021
    I'm happy to hear that!
    dtlajim February 1, 2021
    I loved this cake, It is very impressive to look at, unusual in it's presentation and just wonderful to eat. I used blood oranges and the taste was amazing. I wished I'd have known Carolina had a video on how to make this cake. Heres the link:
    My only issue is that I appeared to be using rather small oranges and ran out of enough oranges to really layer the bottom of the pan. I'd think about cutting up another orange if they are on the small side.
    Author Comment
    Carolina G. February 24, 2021
    I'm so so happy you liked it! I can only imagine how delicious this would be with blood oranges, great idea!
    cburhoe January 28, 2021
    I'd love to try this cake but my son is allergic to eggs. Any recommendations for a particular egg substitute in this recipe?
    Author Comment
    Carolina G. February 24, 2021
    My first though would be using some whipped aquafaba instead of eggs.
    scottridenour January 26, 2021
    This was fabulous! I followed the recipe exactly as written only substituting mandarin oranges, as I had a ton on hand. Beautiful and very impressive. I expected the cake to come out on the shorter side since it has very little flour and leavening agents, but it came out a bit shorter and denser than I expected. Slightly dry when I took a bite but had a nice finish. I can see why you'd enjoy this with a tangy yogurt on the side. I also did not get a lot of cardamom flavour, but I think that's due to my trying to grind pods for the first time! Those little buggers can get away from you....
    Great recipe which I'm excited to fiddle with a little bit (I can see why you weren't tired of making it! :-)
    Author Comment
    Carolina G. February 24, 2021
    I'm so happy you had an overall good experience using this recipe! I totally get what you're saying about the cardamom pods getting away from you, hahah!

    About the cake being on the shorter size, make sure to use the suggested baking pan size, if using a larger one, make sure to have more cake batter on hand than the recipe calls for. About the cake being dense, that's usually a sign of overmixing the batter, so give it a few gentle folds and make sure to stop mixing as soon as the dry ingredients have been incorporated. Hope this helps :)
    mamelie January 26, 2021
    Haha gosh... I attempted this recipe and I don't know what happened. I was slightly confused by the conversion measurements and the unspecific amount of flour? In your video you use a whole coffee mug, but the listed measurement isn't even half a mug.
    I also used a standard European springform, which is often 25cm rather than 20. Anyways... the cake turned out beautiful BUT half the height of the one in the photo, haha. Guess I will have to try again.
    Chocowagon January 27, 2021
    After your mention of a video I found it on Instagram. The cake I made was also half the height of Carolina’s. I wonder if a smaller pan is actually needed? The batter seemed to have the right consistency.
    mamelie January 29, 2021
    Yes, I think for some reason, the extra couple of cm's make a huge difference.
    And then perhaps, if you round down the measurements, or if they perhaps are a bit miscalculated in the recipe, you turn out with a surprisingly smaller cake.
    Like it tasted really good, but there was about as much cake as candied oranges, haha.
    BldrJanet February 20, 2021
    There is a surprisingly large difference between the volume an 8" pan holds and a 9" pan. Looking at Carolina's video, I think she might actually be using a pan that's even smaller than 8".
    When I made this cake, I made 50% more batter, because I only have a 9" pan and it turned out just the right height.
    Author Comment
    Carolina G. February 24, 2021
    I used this exact same recipe in my video! Hmm, I think the error had to be related to the larger pan you've used. Make sure to make a tiny bit more cake batter if using a larger pan :)
    LizzieBea January 24, 2021
    I think I made some terrible mistake when trying to candy the oranges. They were horribly bitter. The cake itself was delicious, but the oranges rendered the whole thing inedible. I may try this again after I look up some tutorials on candying oranges.
    Author Comment
    Carolina G. February 24, 2021
    Make sure to use organic oranges and wash them really really well before using them. Some oranges come with a warning saying the zest shouldn't be used in cooking or baking, so make sure you're avoiding those :)
    Larios E. January 24, 2021
    Hi, I made the recipe. It was very good, I sent you a message on Instagram with the photos.
    ¡Thanks Carolina!
    Author Comment
    Carolina G. January 24, 2021
    So happy you enjoyed it, I'll definitely take a look at the pics :)
    Chocowagon January 23, 2021
    Definitely a keeper of a recipe. It’s snackable and really dressed up with the candies oranges. Beautiful flavors.

    Naval oranges were what I had in the house so I used those and simmered them with a star anise (only had black cardamom pods and didn’t want to use regular ground in the syrup for no specific reason). I used a mandolin to cut the oranges on the smallest setting, which turned out nice but I will try them a little thicker next time. The orange slices were so fine they lost some integrity in the candying process. I usually look for translucent or partially translucent rinds to gauge candy completion.

    Excellent crumb, moist and keeps its integrity.

    Author Comment
    Carolina G. January 24, 2021
    Thank you so much for the kind review, I am so glad you liked the recipe overall!
    Estefania F. January 22, 2021
    This was amazinggg!!! I actually can’t believe the oranges came out so beautiful (aside from delicious), I used a mandolin because I wanted paper thin slices and it worked like a charm. This one’s a keeper. Thank you!!
    Author Comment
    Carolina G. January 24, 2021
    So so happy to hear that, Estefania!
    AntoniaJames January 18, 2021
    How far in advance can this be made? It looks like the perfect dinner party dessert -- thinking optimistically about dinner parties at some point in my lifetime -- though I can also see it as our Sunday dinner or Valentine's Day dessert, in the meantime. Thank you. ;o)
    Author Comment
    Carolina G. January 24, 2021
    I would say you could definitely make this cake 2-3 days ahead of the potential gathering. I had many of leftover cakes hanging around my kitchen during the recipe testing process and they stayed nice and moist for a few days after baking them.
    ghainskom January 18, 2021
    I used organic clementines instead of oranges and it was de-li-cious. My 13yo closed her eyes to savour the first mouthful, that's how good it is. I poured most of the syrup on the cake after unmolding. Will nee to test the "serving with olive oil" trick over the next couple of days...
    Author Comment
    Carolina G. January 24, 2021
    No way!!! That's too precious! I'm happy to hear you and your family enjoyed this dessert!