Olive oil and orange cake for breakfast


Just to be clear, as Vincenzo has just pointed out that the title sounds a little ambiguous, as if we ate orange cake and, well, I don’t know, drank olive oil for breakfast – which is actually not a bad idea considering how good our oil is this year – no, this is a cake made with both olive oil and orange zest.

I have had my eye on this recipe for a while now, about 3 years to be precise…3 years..3 wipper snapper where did you fly to years. I can be so precise because I bookmarked it with another recipe, for Ricotta Gnocchi – which I haven’t made either – ripped out from a newspaper which is conveniently dated, Lunedi 6 Marzo 2006. Talking of years it is very nearly 4 since I spontaneously, irresponsibly, irrationally and liberatingly bought myself a plane ticket and came to Rome.

So, I have had my eye on it, as well as about 113 other recipes and a very cute pair of robin hood green shoes with fearsome heels which would thrust me up to about 6″ 2 and into serious debt.

New shoes are not a priority at present, but nice cakes are and Olive oil and Orange cake sounds very nice indeed.

I finally got around to making it on Sunday after a halfhearted attempt at cleaning the flat and sorting out the countless recipes I have torn compulsively from newspapers and magazines – which are in desperate need of a new box file of a home. Housework was rudely interrupted by an urgent need to make both the cake and the Gnocchi. It was however still only 10 o clock and considering the recent arrival of our new oil the cake seemed more appropriate.

I made it and we ate it for breakfast, may I suggest you do the same.


This is my kind of cake, after all I am a simple cake kind of girl, plain, straightforward and not too sweet, no clever combinations, icing, fancy layers and buttery creams which don’t do anything for me. This cake fits my cake criteria perfectly. It may be plain but it is far from boring, surprisingly savory with a light open texture, the olive oil lends it a wonderfully particular fruitiness, the orange zest a pleasing lift and the Marsala a quiet but distinct kick.

It is pleasingly simple to make, perfect for a bit of lazy, still sleepy Sunday morning kitchen therapy with Grant Green’s Idle moments soothing you in the background.


You do need to be gently attentive while you whisk together the eggs and sugar, you want a creamy pale froth. Now you decide, what is less appealing on a Sunday morning noise from an electric whisk or arm lively exertion from hand whisking ? – I opted for the noise,which was quite rude considering the idle atmosphere Grant was lending the kitchen, what can I say, I was feeling lazy.

Olive oil and orange cake

Adapted from Marcella Hazan’s The essensials of classic italian cooking

  • 3 eggs
  • 125g caster sugar
  • zest of 1 orange without digging into the white pith
  • pinch of salt
  • 6 tbsp dry Marsala
  • 6 tbsp milk
  • 175ml extra virgin olive oil and extra for greasing.
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 170g plain flour

A 2.2 litre circular tube tin

Heat the oven to 200° 400°f

Break the eggs into a bowl and add the sugar. Beat or whisk them together until they are pale, creamy and frothy.

Add the orange zest, salt, Marsala, milk and olive oil and then gently fold everything together.

Sift the flour and baking powder into the bowl and then again gently gently fold everything together so as not to knock air out of the mixture.

Smear the inside of your baking tin with oil and then pour in your gloriously gloopy, smooth batter.

Bake in the upper part of the oven for about 45minutes at which point a toothpick should come out clean.

Let the cake rest in its tin for 10minutes before running a palate knife around the inside of the tin to loosen the cake. Turn the cake onto a cooling rack.

Serve just warm.



Filed under cakes and baking, food, recipes

5 responses to “Olive oil and orange cake for breakfast

  1. Great blog Rachel! I’d love to hear your suggestions for wine and food pairings for my online matching tool about half way down on my homepage:




    Nat Decants Wine Newsletter

  2. your posts are like the most relaxing to me – the top shot is the best. the il manifesto on the table just reminds me that you really are sitting in rome. ahhhhh, jealousy but happiness at the same time. oh and i’d love to be having that cake for my breakfast instead of oatmeal…

  3. elp

    I need an italian translation for this recipe 😉

  4. “Il manifesto” 🙂 – now I know why I like your blog!

  5. Pingback: Appelsiinilla maustettu oliiviöljykakku - Suvi sur le vif

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