Blog Post

Olive Cake

I adapted this fabulous recipe for my wood fired oven and I don’t mind stating that this is now my favorite cake. It has a perfect consistency because the olive oil lends it a crusty outside and a moist, soft inside. The dry and wet ingredients can be conveniently prepared in two separate bowls and mixed at the last moment, when the wood-burning oven has reached the right temperature.

Add buttercream topping and thinly sliced oranges (pat them dry) along with grated orange peel for a super-festive look or leave as is for enjoying with your afternoon tea or coffee.

Substitute the orange with lemon and the Grand Marnier with Limoncello for a different citrus flavor.

If you are baking this in your wood fired oven, wait until you have just the hot coals but no flame. You will need to leave the door slightly open and close the door entirely only if the temperature drops too quickly. If you find that the cake is browning to fast, place an oiled foil sheet on top.

Makes a 9-inch round cake

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 ¾ cups sugar
  • 1 ½ teaspoons kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 1/3 cups extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 ¼ cups whole milk
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 ½ tablespoons grated orange zest
  • ¼ cup fresh orange juice
  • ¼ cup Grand Marnier or substitute with Cointreau
  • If decorating the cake: extra orange zest and a few thinly cut orange slices
  1. Start the fire in your pizza oven and insert the cake when the heat on the floor registers 400°F. To check the temperature use an infrared thermometer like this one. If you are using a regular oven, pre-heat it to 350° F.
  2. Oil, butter, or spray a 9-inch cake pan that is at least 2 inches deep (this cake has quite a rise) with cooking spray and line the bottom with parchment paper.
  3. In a bowl, whisk the flour, sugar, salt, baking soda and powder. In another bowl, whisk the olive oil, milk, eggs, orange zest and juice and Grand Marnier.
  4. When the temperature in the wood fired oven reads around 375° F then add the dry ingredients; whisk until just combined.
  5. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for about 1 hour until the top has browned and a cake tester comes out clean. If the top browns too fast, cover with an oiled foil.
  6. Transfer the cake to a rack and let cool for 30 minutes.
  7. Run a knife around the edge of the pan, invert the cake onto the rack and let cool completely, 2 hours.
  8. When cake is cooled, cover with buttercream topping evenly and decorate with orange slices and grated orange zest.

Buttercream Topping

Makes about 1 ½ cups

  • 4 ounces unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • ½ pound confectioner’s sugar
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ½ teaspoon orange extract
  • 1 ounce milk or heavy cream, at room temperature

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat room temperature butter until light and smooth, 1 to 2 minutes.

  1. Gradually add the confectioners’ sugar (to prevent it exploding upward when you turn on the mixer), and mix on medium-low speed to combine. Once all the sugar is added, raise speed to medium-high and cream until light and fluffy, 4 to 5 minutes.
  2. Add the vanilla and orange extracts and mix to combine. If using milk or cream, pour it in and mix just until incorporated.

The buttercream can be used immediately or refrigerated in an airtight container.

Buon appetito from Los Angeles Ovenworks. Enjoy!


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