Table of Contents
  1. Olive oil in a cake? You betcha!
  2. Everything you’ll need to make this recipe.
  3. Here’s how to make this recipe.
  4. These pro tips will make this recipe a success.
  5. Frequently asked questions about this recipe.
  6. You'll love these other cake recipes.
  7. Watch how to make this recipe.
  8. Have I convinced you to make this recipe?
  9. Orange & Zucchini Olive Oil Cake Recipe

When zucchini is in season, there’s no better way to use it up than with a cake! This one-bowl wonder of a recipe goes together in a pinch and uses olive oil to moisten the entire dessert. Flavored with orange, it’s the best of late summer produce with a simple, sweet glaze!

Olive oil in a cake? You betcha!

Unlike most ingredients, zucchini has the unique ability to be used in both savory and sweet recipes. No matter the flavor profile, zucchini finds a way to blend right in. This cake is a new way to enjoy the bounty of a summer garden.

Olive oil cakes are prized for their simplicity in flavor and preparation. While zucchini adds moisture to any cake, adding olive oil makes it even moister while adding an additional light flavor to complement the zucchini.

To add more bright flavor, orange zest is mixed into the cake along with a small amount of almond extract. The orange and almond take this cake from something good to something great. Chocolate zucchini cake will always have its place, but it will need to share a spot with this new favorite.

Olive oil cake topped with almost clear glaze sitting on green colored cake plate on white countertop.

Everything you’ll need to make this recipe.

A simple cake should have simple ingredients, and that’s exactly the case with this olive oil cake. The two odd ingredients, zucchini and almond extract, should be pretty easy to find if you don’t already have them in your pantry. Here are some of the important ingredients:

  • Olive oil takes the place of the traditional neutral-flavored oil that’s often used in zucchini recipes. For the best tasting results, choose an olive oil that you would cook with.
  • Greek yogurt adds two things to this cake: additional moisture and a bit of tang and acidity. If you don’t have Greek yogurt on hand, simply use sour cream instead.
  • Almond extract works extremely well with the orange zest that’s also added to the cake. Almond is a bit of a surprise extra flavor that will definitely be welcome.
  • Orange zest is added directly to the cake batter and is enhanced by the almond extract, providing the perfect subtle pop of citrus.
White marble surface holding all ingredients needed to make a zucchini olive oil cake including zucchini, olive oil, flour, sugar, orange, eggs, and more.

Here’s how to make this recipe.

You know this cake is easy to make since it only has four simple steps. And in the summer, when the weather’s hot, it’s nice to spend as little time on preparation as possible. Here are the steps to make this cake:

  1. Prepare the wet ingredients. In a bowl, add the eggs, and whisk them to break up the yolks. Add in the sugar and whisk to combine with the eggs. At this point, the batter should be pale yellow and should fall into a ribbon on itself when drizzled. Next, add the olive oil, Greek yogurt, vanilla extract, almond extract, and orange zest. Mix all of the ingredients in the bowl together until combined.
  1. Add in the zucchini and dry ingredients. Grate the zucchini into small pieces and add to the wet batter. Mix the zucchini into the batter. Next, add the flour, salt, baking powder, and baking soda. Mix everything together until it is just combined. If a few dry streaks remain, that is perfectly fine.
  1. Pour the batter into the pan and bake. Spray a 9-inch round cake pan with nonstick baking spray (or use butter or grease) and layer on a piece of parchment. Pour in the batter and smooth the top to ensure the cake is pushed into all of the corners of the pan. Place in the oven and bake at 350°F for 50 to 60 minutes until the top is golden brown and a skewer inserted into the center comes out clean.
  1. Prepare the glaze. While the cake is cooling, the glaze can be prepared by combining the powdered sugar, orange juice, and vanilla extract in a small bowl. Whisk all ingredients together to combine into a homogenous, glossy glaze. When the cake is fully cool, pour the glaze on the top and smooth it out to ensure the entire top is covered.

These pro tips will make this recipe a success.

  • When zesting any citrus, like orange, in this case, hold the fruit in your palm. Take the grater and run it all over the citrus, keeping it steady. Let the grater do all of the moving. Since the grater will be face up, all of the zest will collect and can then be dumped into the batter.
  • Small zucchini work best in baked recipes. If you do not have a small zucchini, make sure to slice the zucchini in half and remove the seeds from the center. This will reduce the water content of the zucchini and ensure that the cake does not come out too wet.
  • For this cake, mix everything by hand. Sometimes, using a hand mixer or a stand mixer can lead to over-mixing. Since this is a simple one-bowl cake, mixing by hand is just the correct amount.
Olive oil cake with slices missing sitting on green cake plate showing the interior texture of the cake with white background.

Frequently asked questions about this recipe.

Can I use sour cream in this recipe if I don’t have Greek yogurt?

Of course! In this recipe, the two are interchangeable. A lot of times in the kitchen, if I’m baking and don’t have one or the other, I’ll use the one I do have on hand. 

I do not like almond extract. Can I leave it out of this cake recipe?

Yes, the extract can be omitted if necessary. But unless dealing with an allergy, I always urge that a recipe be tried once as written, at least the first time. The almond extract is not the main flavor of the cake but simply enhances the other flavors.

Can this cake be frozen? If so, how long will it last in the freezer?

This cake freezes beautifully and can be saved either whole or sliced and frozen as individual pieces. Freeze in an airtight container for up to three months!

How long will this cake last after being baked?

Left at room temperature, the cake needs to be covered but will stay moist for two to three days. If the cake needs to be kept longer, I recommend freezing it for the best freshness.

Can this cake be baked in a square baking pan instead of a round one?

Yes, the cake can be made in a 9×9 square cake pan. The bake time may vary slightly, so make sure to check with a skewer to ensure the center is fully baked before removing it.

Watch how to make this recipe.

More summer dessert recipes

Have I convinced you to make this recipe?

I hope you make this recipe and put some food on your dessert table. Leave a comment and share a star rating so you let others know how much you love this recipe. This helps show others that this is a recipe they too can make, enjoy, and love!

Slice of olive oil cake sitting on white plate on marble surface with orange in background.

Orange & Zucchini Olive Oil Cake

5 from 11 votes
When zucchini is in season, there's no better way to use it up than with a cake! This one-bowl wonder of a recipe goes together in a pinch and uses olive oil to moisten the entire dessert. Flavored with orange, it's the best of late summer produce with a simple, sweet glaze!
Prep Time 20 mins
Cook Time 1 hr
Total Time 1 hr 20 mins
Servings 12 servings

Ingredients

For the cake

  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup white granulated sugar
  • cup olive oil
  • ¼ cup Greek yogurt (or sour cream)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • ¼ tsp almond extract
  • 1 tbsp orange zest
  • 2 cups shredded zucchini
  • 2 ½ cup all-purpose flour
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ¾ tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp baking soda

For the glaze

  • ½ cup sifted powdered sugar
  • 1-2 tbsp orange juice
  • ½ tsp vanilla extract

Instructions
 

  • Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease a 9-inch round cake pan, fit parchment in the bottom, grease the parchment, and set aside.
  • In a large bowl, whisk the eggs until smooth. Whisk in the sugar until the mixture becomes slightly thick and pale yellow, 2-3 minutes. Add the olive oil, Greek yogurt, vanilla extract, almond extract, and orange zest. Whisk to combine and fold in the shredded zucchini.
    2 large eggs, 1 cup white granulated sugar, ⅔ cup olive oil, ¼ cup Greek yogurt (or sour cream), 1 tsp vanilla extract, ¼ tsp almond extract, 1 tbsp orange zest, 2 cups shredded zucchini
  • Once the zucchini is folded in, add the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Use the whisk to combine gently, allowing the wet and dry ingredients to fall through the tines of the whisk until incorporated. Pour the batter into the prepared pan, and smooth the batter until even on top. Place in the preheated oven and bake until the top is golden and a skewer inserted in the middle comes out mostly clean, 50-60 minutes.
    2 ½ cup all-purpose flour, ¾ tsp baking powder, ½ tsp baking soda, ½ tsp salt
  • Once baked, remove the cake from the oven and set it on a cooling rack for 15 minutes. Once slightly cooled, remove the cake from the pan and allow it to cool completely.
  • Once the cake is cooled, prepare the glaze by whisking together the powdered sugar, orange juice, and vanilla extract until smooth. Add more orange juice to thin or more powdered sugar to thicken. Slowly pour over the cooled cake and spread evenly on top. Slice and serve.
    ½ cup sifted powdered sugar, 1-2 tbsp orange juice, ½ tsp vanilla extract

Notes

  • When zesting any citrus, like orange, in this case, hold the fruit in your palm. Take the grater and run it all over the citrus, keeping it steady. Let the grater do all of the moving. Since the grater will be face up, all of the zest will collect and can then be dumped into the batter.
  • Small zucchini work best in baked recipes. If you do not have a small zucchini, make sure to slice the zucchini in half and remove the seeds from the center. This will reduce the water content of the zucchini and ensure that the cake does not come out too wet.
  • For this cake, mix everything by hand. Sometimes, using a hand mixer or a stand mixer can lead to over-mixing. Since this is a simple one-bowl cake, mixing by hand is just the correct amount.

Nutrition

Serving: 1serving | Calories: 304kcal
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Difficulty Easy
Method Baking

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Kaleb

I’m Kaleb! I'm not a chef, professional baker, landscaper, or designer, but I like to play each on Knollgate Farm. Come join me on my journey and let's learn together!

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8 Comments

    1. 5 stars
      Delicious and moist cake. Very easy to make. It only took 2 small/medium zucchini’s. I followed the recipe except to add 1/4 tsp orange extract to the batter. I figured more orange, mo-better. I be will make this again, for sure, after I try your chocolate-zucchini cake.

  1. 5 stars
    THE MOST DELICIOUS THING I HAVE EVER TASTED! So moist, and such strong flavors. I didn’t have almond extract, but it was still incredible. 5 stars for sure.

  2. 5 stars
    Just made it last nite.. It was sooo easy and it is delicious!!! I like this better than my zucchini bread recipe… so I think i”ll use this instead…. Thank you so much for sharing!!! I’m taking it to work this morning and sharing with all.

  3. 5 stars
    This was absolutely delicious!!! Thank you so much!! I trust everything you make … it’s always the best! Never disappoints…

  4. 5 stars
    So good! Thank you. I watched the video as I was making the recipe.(helpful)👍🏻
    My nieces fiancé was over and he said “Oh,I will just share with her I’m pretty full from dinner. “and then when he took a bite he said, “Oh can I have my own ?”and then he turned to her and said “do you have this
    recipe?” So good job Caleb.☺️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️🌟

  5. 5 stars
    Made this for a picnic. Absolutely delicious.
    Easy. Kaleb thank you for all your amazing recipes.
    I also can, and have made many of you summer recipes. My favorites are your Sala (yes you need tomatillo peppers) blueberry and peach jam. Yummy!

    Can’t wait for your fall videos.
    Deb Kisch

  6. 5 stars
    I love this recipe and so does my family. I use King Arthur’s gluten-free flour and I use a sugar substitute. Different family members have different dietary requirements and so I try to accommodate their needs. Today I’m making the cake without the orange zest and orange juice.
    Thank you so much for all that you do for everyone!