Recipe: Olive Oil Citrus Cake


There’s one farmstand at the Little Italy Mercado here in San Diego that is my first stop every Saturday morning: Terra Bella Ranch (more on them in a future post).  They always have the most incredible citrus fruits, and it’s all in season right now: oranges, tangerines, lemons, grapefruit. So I decided to step a bit outside of my comfort zone and try something different: an olive oil citrus cake.

In truth, this cake was not just meant for me: it was meant to impress a very intelligent cohort of female philosophers I’m part of. We had a no-men-allowed party one Tuesday night, and I decided this simple dessert would be my contribution.


It was moist and sweet, but so indulgent, especially after I poured on the grapefruit glaze. And paired next to my friend’s berry cobbler? Yeah, we ate really well that night.

The cake didn’t disappear like I know it would have with boys around, but honestly, I didn’t mind. It was nice to be able to open up to other women in my program — some of whom, I discovered, are going through precisely what I’ve been going through. I felt for the first time that people were really listening to me, in between bites of cake, that is.

Olive Oil Citrus Cake
(recipe adapted from Rustic Fruit Desserts)
1 1/4 cups cake flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 eggs
3/4 cup granulated sugar
zest from 1 grapefruit, 1 lemon, 1 orange
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup olive oil

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease a round 9-inch cake pan (if you have a specialty pan, you can use that too). Sift together flour, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl; set aside. In the large bowl of a stand mixer, beat eggs and sugar on high speed until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Add in zests and vanilla and mix to combine. While the mixer is on medium, slowly pour in olive oil along the side of the bowl into well incorporated. Add in flour and mix on low speed. Pour batter into pan and bake for 25-30 minutes, until cake is domed and a toothpick comes out clean.

For the glaze:
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed grapefruit juice
3/4 cup confectioners sugar

Combine the grapefruit juice and sugar; mix until well combined. Pour on top of cooled cake.