Sicilian Citrus Olive Oil Cake

This is the only olive oil cake recipe you will need! It’s bright with citrus flavour, with just the right amount of sweetness and will stay fresh for days! In fact, most often, if the balance is just right, an olive oil cake will taste even better the following day and the day after that; flavours intensify slightly and unlike a cake made with butter, it’ll stay moist.

The roasted pistachios offer a pleasant flavour contrast and they look so darn pretty too!

I was wondering aloud if I should call this recipe Citrus Olive Oil Cake or Sicilian Citrus Olive Oil Cake. My (Sicilian) father, who was in the room at the time voted for the latter. I mean, what did I expect? He’s very proud of his heritage. In all seriousness though, the citrus fruit, olive oil and pistachio combo, just screams Sicily. So let’s just go with that.

I’ve tried many olive oil cakes in my time but this one really made an impression on me, especially texturewise. It has just the right amount of olive oil. You’re getting all the moisture from the olive oil without being greasy with a texture that almost feels like it’s made with butter. Ideal! I used a combination of citrus fruits I had on hand – Oranges, Meyer lemons and regular lemons and it was perfect. Alternately, you can use ruby red grapefruits or blood oranges and what’s nice about those is that when you make the glaze, it takes on a beautiful pink hue that’s just so stunning topped with the bright green and magenta pistachios.

For my photos, I added a few dried hibiscus petals to accentuate the reddish pink of the pistachios which was toned down a little after roasting. I really wanted that pop of colour. You can do it too if you like. You don’t need many for this effect and you wouldn’t necessarily want to eat them as they don’t add anything flavour wise. They just taste like crunchy flowers. lol Hibiscus petals are easily found on Amazon and at most Middle-Eastern grocery stores. I often use them to beautify a dish. I’ve sprinkled them on Kuku Sabzi to compliment the barberries and on other desserts as well. I also love to make a simple syrup with them for cocktails. (Hibiscus-Mezcal cocktail recipe coming soon! 😉

Don’t forget to visit my Instagram page for simple recipes, additional photos and videos and recipe “step-by-steps”

Sicilian Citrus Olive Oil Cake

Print Recipe
This cake has the perfect level of citrus flavour, it’s moist and stays fresh for days! The roasted pistachios offer the perfect contrast to the sweet, tart flavors of the cake but would still be excellent without! Change up the citrus, add grapefruit or blood orange if you prefer.


  • 1 Loaf pan or bundt pan


Cake mix

  • 1 large orange
  • 2 Meyer lemons (use any combo of citrus)
  • 1 lemon
  • 3 Large eggs
  • ½ Cup plain Greek yogurt 115g
  • 2 Cups All purpose flour 300g (see note)
  • ½ Tsp baking soda
  • 1 Tsp baking powder
  • 1 ½ Cups granulated sugar 300g
  • 1 Cup Extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 Tsp Kosher salt
  • Butter (For greasing pan. Nothing works better than butter for this)
  • 2 Tbsp Mixed zests (lemon, orange etc..)
  • 1/2 Cup + 2tbsp, Mixed juices divided (do as you wish, add just orange or just lemon or both)


  • ½ Cup Roasted pistachios (Roast at 375F , 10-ish minutes)


  • ¾ Cup Powdered sugar
  • 1-2 Tbsp mixed zests from the different citrus
  • 2 Tbsp Juice of your choice (lemon/orange)
  • 1 Pinch kosher salt


  • Position a rack in the lower 3rd of your oven and preheat at 350F
  • Lightly grease your loaf or Bundt pan. If possible line the bottom with a piece of parchment and grease the parchment.
  • In a medium bowl, whisk to combine flour, salt, baking soda, baking powder. Set aside.
  • In a large bowl finely grate your citrus until you have about 2 tablespoons of loosely packed zest. Add granulated sugar and use your fingers to massage the zest into the sugar until it’s well combined and the consistency of lightly damp sand, about 30 seconds.
  • Using a hand held mixer, beat in 3 eggs, one at a time until combined. Add yogurt and blend. Pour in olive oil and blend on medium speed until fully combined and no oily streaks are left behind.
  • Pour in 1/2 cup of juice (reserving the 2tbsp for glaze)
  • Combine wet and dry ingredients until just combined. Do not overmix. You can finish with a rubber spatula to ensure there are no floury spots.
  • Pour batter into your prepared pan of choice.
    You can place a cookie sheet on the lowest rack in case of drips.
  • Bake until a toothpick comes out clean. About 40 mins in a Bundt pan and up to 65 minutes in a loaf pan. When done, allow to cool for about 15 mins.
  • Run a knife around the edges of the cake pan to help release the cake from the sides if necessary. Transfer to a wire rack to finish cooling.
  • Make the glaze: Add the reserved 2tbsp of juice, about 1 tbsp zest and ¾ cup powdered sugar and a pinch of salt. Cover with plastic wrap and set aside until cake has cooled fully.
  • Chop roasted pistachios and set aside.
  • Once completely cool, drizzle the reserved glaze over the cake and quickly add the pistachios so they stick to the glaze. Otherwise the sugar will set and the pistachios will fall off.


Flour: If you look up the conversion for 2 cups of AP flour into grams, it’s 250g. However when I measured 2 cups and weighed it, it came out to 300g. There is always a discrepancy. I find that 300g is the perfect amount of flour. When I tried with 250g, my cake was good but a little flat on top.  

One response to “Sicilian Citrus Olive Oil Cake”

Leave a Reply

Blog at

%d bloggers like this: