- Prep time 25 minutes
- Cook time 45 minutes
- Serves 8-10
Sumac and lime give a bright boost to this simple olive oil cake. Deep fuchsia in color and with a tart profile, sumac is common in Middle Eastern cuisine, often used in savory dishes. It’s also a core ingredient of the popular herb and spice blend, za’atar. In this recipe, tangy sumac compliments lime zest to create a flavor that is both pleasantly sour and richly aromatic.
Olive oil and sour cream make this cake impossibly rich and moist, yet the crumb is fine and soft. The beautiful texture and deep flavor are complemented by a punchy, pink-hued glaze that gets its color by steeping ground sumac in hot water. Pro tip: use a high-quality sumac, which will give you boldest flavor and brightest color.
This beautiful and delicious cake is also wildly easy to make and the recipe is welcomely forgiving. All you need is a bowl, a whisk, and less than 15 minutes. I call for a 9-inch springform pan but if you don’t have one (or can’t find yours), an 8 or 10-cup bundt pan will also produce a beautiful cake–just reduce the baking time by about five minutes. While I find lime to be the perfect pairing for sumac, any citrus works well—lemon, orange, or even grapefruit will make a fine substitute.
As you prepare the cake batter, you’ll notice that the baking powder is added to the wet ingredients, not the dry ingredients. It might seem strange to some bakers, but this way, the leaveners get a chance to be more thoroughly incorporated when added at the creaming stage. Plus, it makes for an easier mixing process—no need for a separate bowl for dry ingredients.
Lightly sweet, perfectly moist, and topped with a tart pink glaze, this effortless cake is sure to become your new favorite. This cake stays moist and delicious for a few days after it’s baked. Store leftover cake in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days. —Zola Gregory
Test Kitchen Notes
This cake is super moist and not too sweet, thanks to the sweet yet acidic glaze. It rises well and has a fine crumb—fabulous! The sumac not only gives the glaze a beautiful pink hue, but adds flavor to the cake. It’s super easy for any level home baker to make. Pro tip: once the glaze has set, place plastic wrap directly on the surface, which will help the glaze’s surface stay dry with a soft bite. —Food52
extra virgin olive oil, plus extra for greasing the pan
Finely grated zest from 2 limes
1 1/4 teaspoons
- Sumac & Lime Glaze
fresh lime juice
powdered sugar, sifted
- Heat the oven to 325°F. Grease a 9-inch springform pan with olive oil or non-stick cooking spray and line the bottom with a round of parchment paper.
- In a large mixing bowl, combine the oil, sugar, sumac, zest, baking powder, and salt. Whisk until blended. Add the eggs and whisk vigorously until the mixture is fully emulsified and thickened. Add the sour cream and whisk until homogeneous. Add the flour and mix until the batter is mostly smooth (a few small lumps are okay).
- Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 45 to 50 minutes, or until the cake is lightly golden, springy to the touch, and a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean.
- Allow the cake to cool for 10 minutes in the pan before transferring it to a wire cooling rack. Let cool completely before glazing.
- Make the glaze: Add the sumac to a small dish or ramekin. Pour 1 tablespoon of boiling water over it and steep for 1 minute, until the water turns bright pink.
- In a medium mixing bowl, combine the sumac water with lime juice and powdered sugar. Whisk until smooth. The glaze should be very thick yet spreadable. If it seems too runny, add a few extra tablespoons of powdered sugar; if it seems too dry, add an extra teaspoon of lime juice.
- Pour the glaze over the cake. Use a spatula to spread the glaze just to the edge—the glaze will slowly run down the sides. Set for at least 30 minutes before serving.