Lemon and Olive Oil Cake from Puglia

Lemon Olive Oil Cake Puglia

I’ve been spending a lot of time in the kitchen with Italian mammas, some of whom you’ll meet on the Food Lover’s Odyssey Puglia Culinary Vacation, I was lucky enough to also spend some time in the kitchen with a few handsome men, one of whom is Donato of the olive oil company Taurino. Using Donato’s olive oil, I created a super easy and tasty lemon olive oil cake from Puglia.

Taurino is a family-run business. Founded by Donato’s parents, Pino and Maria, Donato and his sister now run the “farm,” as they call it. Pino and Maria are still an active and visible part of the business and pop in to meet guests daily. We visited their olive oil company, learned how they make olive oil and had a picnic in their olive groves. Donato takes great care in his guests’ happiness, making sure we’re full and happy when we leave. Donato and his sister take the same care in every detail of olive oil production, from the manner in which they water the olive trees down to the packaging and shipping of the oil and other products. The care they take in its production ends with an extra virgin olive oil of the finest quality.

lemon and olive oil cake recipe

Puglia Olive Oil Family

Along with two types of extra virgin olive oil, Taurino makes pâtes with their olives and other of the many flavorful vegetables of Puglia; artichokes from Brindisi, local bell peppers and sun-dried tomatoes. During my recent visit to Puglia, I have to admit I went through jars and jars of the artichoke and bell pepper pâtes, slathering copious amounts on slices of Pugliese bread.

Picnic in Puglia under the olive groves

Picnic under the olive grove in Puglia

Puglia Cooking Vacations Italy


Puglia Italy Culinary Vacation

We cooked and ate many savory dishes using Taurino’s olive oil. Today’s recipe, though, is for something sweet, a lemon olive oil cake using their mild extra virgin olive oil. Many people use melted butter when making cakes, but I believe that the olive oil gives you a moister cake. This lemon cake I made with Donato is light but decadently dense and moist with a vibrant lemon flavor and the olive oil is a subtle secondary flavor. It is important to make sure that you whip the eggs until they have doubled in size  to help give this cake its structure. The cake is just sweet enough and so tasty that it doesn’t need an elaborate garnish. I’ve simply dusted it with some powder sugar. When they are in season you can also garnish with berries, especially strawberries and raspberries.

lemon olive oil cake Puglia recipe

Lemon Olive Oil Cake Puglia

(makes one 9 ½-inch cake)

For the cake:
1 3/4 cups (225 g) “00” flour  or cake flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
Pinch of salt
1 cup (200 g) granulated sugar
Zest of 4 small organic lemons (2 or 3 lemons if they are large)
3 eggs
1/4 cup (60 ml) lemon juice (from 1-2 lemons)
Scant 1 cup (225 g) whole-milk plain yogurt
1/2 cup (100 ml) extra virgin olive oil

About 1/4 cup powdered sugar to sprinkle on top of the cake

Strawberries or raspberries to garnish (optional)

Preheat the oven to 375°F and grease a 9 1/2 cake pan with olive oil, then dust it with flour.

Sift together the flour, baking powder and salt and set aside. Add the zest to the granulated sugar and rub together to infuse the sugar with the zest’s lemon flavor. Using a stand mixer with a whisk attachment, beat on medium-high speed the sugar and eggs until the mixture has lightened in color and doubled in size, 3-5 minutes. On low speed, whisk in the lemon juice and yogurt. Add the olive oil, pouring slowly so that flows in a stream. Mix in until it is combined. On the lowest speed, stir in the flour mixture only until combined.  Pour the batter into the prepared cake pan and bake for 40-50 minutes. (A toothpick inserted in the middle will come out with a few moist crumbs.)

Remove from the oven and cool for 20 minutes. Remove from the cake pan and cool completely.  Dust with powdered sugar and garnish with strawberries and/or raspberries. Buon Appetito!

olive oil and lemon cake recipe from Puglia

Food and Olive Oil in Puglia



  1. Laurie Van Asten
    April 21st

    We love to toast thick slices of sourdough and/or ciabatta in olive oil–to eat with soup, or alone sprinkled with salt and coarse pepper.

  2. Laurie Van Asten
    April 21st

    Already liked (loved) your fb page. :))

  3. kimberly p.
    April 21st

    Already a fan of your FB page!

  4. kimberly p.
    April 21st

    Liked Azienda Agricola Taurino on FB too~!

  5. C M Tedeschi
    April 21st

    Liked Azienda Agricola Taurino & Food Lover’s Odyssey

  6. kimberly p.
    April 21st

    I keep a couple olive oils on hand to roast veggies, make fresh croutons, drizzle on soup and pizza~! Would love to see Donato make soup!
    Can’t wait to try the Lemon and Olive Oil Cake recipe~!

  7. Rosa Bella
    April 21st

    I only use olive oil for cooking in the kitchen and literally everywhere. Friday it was in the stuffed artichokes and pizza topping; Saturday in the pan for frying chicken and in the evening i used it for the eggplant lasagna. Today I used it in the marinade for the bbq meat and mixed with mustard and vinegar on the salad. I go through bottles of it!
    The lemon cake looks wonderful!
    I already like your page on Facebook and have liked azienda agricola Taurino too :)

  8. Carol
    April 21st

    I have a biscotti recipe that uses olive oil. I’ve been making the same recipe for over 20 years. I also love using OO to make a big pan of roasted vegetables.
    I would like Donato to show us something with lamb.

  9. cupcake
    April 21st

    About the only p,aces I don’t use olive oil are on cereal and ice cream. And even then …
    Truly, I love the stuff, and this looks like a great giveaway. Thank you!

  10. karen
    April 21st

    Yum, I love to drizzle olive oil on homemade pizza and I can’t wait to try the lemon cake! I would love to see you and Donato make simply summer salads.

  11. karen
    April 21st

    Like on FB, Grazie!

  12. karen
    April 21st

    Azienda Agricola Taurino is like on FB!

  13. Adri
    April 21st

    I’m already a fan of your FB page, but I did enter a comment for this post. I am more than happy to repeat it here. That is the best looking olive oil cake I have ever seen. The color is exquisite, and the texture looks mighty fine to me!

  14. vils
    April 21st

    Greetings! I use olive oil when sautéing vegetables, dressing salad, marinating meats… and just simply dipping bread into it.
    I would love to see you and Donato cook a Pizza di Patate next time!
    Grazie, I love your blog!

  15. vils
    April 21st

    I have also liked the Food Lover’s Odyssey Facebook page, thanks!

  16. vils
    April 21st

    And I have also liked Azienda Agricola Taurino Facebook page.
    Thanks again!

  17. Adri
    April 21st

    Kathy, I think I would like to see Doonato make traditional Pugliese dishes that are made especially for various holidays, such as St. Joseph’s say, etc.

  18. Karen
    April 21st

    I only use two kinds of oil: olive and extra virgin olive oil along with Grapeseed oil for high temp frying…. Please have more cake recipes using olive oil. Thanks.

  19. Adri
    April 21st

    I just “Liked” Azienda Agricola Taurino’s FB page too. Also I realized I misspelled Donato’s name in my previous comment. A thousand pardons. My rogue keystrokes are a constant source of embarrassment to me!
    I am amazed at what a true labor of love it is to produce fine olive oil. It is such hard work, and subject to the vicissitudes of Mother Nature. Congratulations to your friends.

  20. Cheryl Spiegel
    April 21st

    Of course, olive oil cake with a dusting of confectioners sugar, simply delicious. And, olive oil ice cream, puts a smile on my face.

  21. Tina
    April 21st

    I think I use more extra virgin olive oil per month than some people use in a year! I use it in most of my cooking – for pasta, soup, meat, vegetables – you name it! I’ve used it in dessert too. It does make a great cake! I look forward to trying your lemon cake recipe. It looks fabulous. Grazie mille!

  22. Shannon
    April 21st

    I’ve never thought of using olive oil in a cake recipe, but I’m not much of a cook/baker. My favorite use of olive oil is to drizzle it over asparagus before putting it in the oven or on the grill! Yummy!

  23. Meryl
    April 22nd

    I use extra virgin olive oil in almost everything. Love it!

  24. Louis
    April 22nd

    I use it in pasta dishes, fish, chicken, salads, etc.

  25. rachel
    April 22nd

    I use it to sauté nearly everything!

  26. Jeffrey Lammers
    April 22nd

    My favorite way to use olive oil is to drizzle it on my homemade pizza, it adds such a fresh flavor to the pie!
    I’d love to see some DARK chocolate brownies made the on your next visit!

  27. Dee S
    April 22nd

    I love to use extra virgin olive oil in my salads and drizzled over homemeade pizza and pasta! I would love to see a delicious fish dish next time!

  28. Jeffrey Lammers
    April 22nd

    I like your Facebook page.

  29. Dee S
    April 22nd

    I already like you on fb!

  30. Dee S
    April 22nd

    I like Azienda Agricola Taurino on fb!

  31. Carrie C
    April 22nd

    I use olive oil in just about everything except my coffee. Dressings, to cook with, to drizzle on vegetables, potatoes, etc.
    Donato should make something tasty with lots of oregeno.

  32. Jeffrey Lammers
    April 23rd

    I like Azienda Agricola Taurino on Facebook.

  33. Ciaochowlinda
    April 23rd

    Kathy – I don’t know what I love more – the idea of biting into that cake, or a trip with you to Puglia. Well, actually how about a trip to Puglia where I eat that cake! Seriously, what a delicious looking olive oil cake with a nice texture. PS – I already “like” you on FB.

  34. Christina Z
    April 23rd

    So mad that I didn’t realize you had a FB page before – but I definitely just liked it :)
    And olive oil? I confess, I use olive oil every day – in my skincare routine, homemade remedies, sautéing (esp. brussels sprouts), and actually made a similar version to your Lemon & Olive Oil Cake (above) just last week!

  35. Carrie C
    April 24th

    I liked you on FaceBook, under CarrieRingwald, for my second chance in the drawing.

  36. Jim Dekan
    April 24th

    I use olive oil all the time, but particularly enjoy it with bread instead of butter, and also will make pasta with olive oil & garlic. I’d like to see Donato cook something quick & easy that I could serve at a small party with up to 10 or 12 guests. Something that would be impressive and highlight the use of the fancy Italian olive oil. Thanks! – Jim

  37. Jim Dekan
    April 24th

    I just “liked” the Food Lover’s Odyssey Page for a second chance to win. Thanks! – Jim

  38. Jim Dekan
    April 24th

    I just “liked” Azienda Agricola Taurino on Facebook for a third chance to win. My FB name is “Dekan Ringwald” by the way. Thanks – would love to visit the Taurino grove someday – photos look awesome!

  39. Angela
    April 25th

    I love olive oil drizzled over tomatoes and fresh mozzarella cheese. I’m sure he would cook a mean pizza :)

  40. janie
    April 25th

    I use great Italian olive oil on our salad every night and just love it drizzled on grilled bread and swirled into a soup. I’d love to see Donato cook a traditional Pugliese pasta. Liked you both on FB!

  41. Carrie C
    April 25th

    I’m making this cake for my mom’s birthday this weekend.

  42. Margot C
    April 25th

    This contest is probably not for Americans (I can’t tell), but I would be interested in how he makes a Tapenade or something like that.

  43. Kathy
    April 27th

    The giveaway for Taurino olive oil is now closed. Thanks for all the great comments and interesting suggestions for Donato’s next dish. Congratulations to Dee S. Her comment, #27, was randomly chosen and two bottles of Taurino Olive Oil are on their way to you from Puglia!

  44. Gina
    May 26th

    I’d like to try this cake in a bundt pan. Would you suggest doubling the recipe?

  45. Marlene Jones
    March 11th

    Ugh. Followed recipe to the letter. I was getting really crispy looking on top put a toothpick in and it was done except for center where it was nearly liquid still. I have put it back in oven again for 6 minutes. I hope its ok. Thats a lot of ingredients to waste. Damn oven. I have an oven thermometer that said 375 thru entire baking process. Now im questioning rhe accuracy of the dang thermometer too. Im so bummed. The outside is crunchy.
    Its a bit more baked inside now so im hoping the heat left in pain will finish off any wetter parts. I used a glass square baking cake pan

  46. Kathy
    March 13th

    Marlene – I’m very sorry that the cake didn’t come out properly for you. You mentioned that you baked the cake in a glass dish, but it actually calls for a cake pan, which is the term I use to mean an aluminum or steel pan. Glass does not conduct heat as well as aluminum or steel. While for casseroles, like lasagna this is a good thing, but for baking you need a better and more even conductor of heat so that the cake bakes evenly all the way through during its cooking time. Although I wouldn’t recommend it, if you use glass for baking, you should lower the temperature by 25 F (in this case to 350 F) to avoid the problem you had with the outside cooking too fast before the inside cooks properly. Whipping the eggs until they double in size also helps to create the structure for this cake and is conducive to getting a more even bake. I do hope you’ll try the recipe again and wish you the best of success.

  47. Melody
    February 12th

    This is the best lemon cake I’ve made. I like to add finely chopped rosemary or lavender to it just to add a little something. I’ve made it three times for potlucks and people rave about it.

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