Citrus-Almond Olive Oil Cake

Citrus-Almond Olive Oil Cake |


I have decided that I will not be growing tomatoes again this year.  I never got around to planning for an enclosure that would protect the tomato plants from the resident deer.  The population seems to grow each year and somehow our yard has been chosen as the place to put down roots.  If I really think about it, though, their ancestors were probably here first.  My house has stood here for over 50 years but before that there was nothing but fields….and deer, I’m sure.  I have learned to accept, grudgingly, that I must share this space with them and also with the other creatures that make their home here.

And that means no growing tomatoes…at least untilI decide if a green house would be worth the investment of funds, time and effort to install.


Citrus-Almond Olive Oil Cake |

This is a bit of a dilemma because the idea of growing my own food becomes more appealing each year.  I love being able to snip a sprig or two of herbs, as I need them, from the tiny patch of dirt just beyond my kitchen window (somehow the deer have yet to discover the bounty that grows there though it is only a few feet away from the bird bath they have established as their watering trough).  I like being able to harvest Meyer lemons year-round from the tree that reliably produces fruit despite the abuse it gets from my yard mates.  But most of all, I will always remember the sweet fragrance of freshly-picked ripe tomatoes from seasons past.  Maybe one day…

Citrus-Almond Olive Oil Cake |


It just so happens that about this time each year my husband talks of moving to the coast –to escape to a simpler way of living.  We fantasize about having a place with pigs and goats and chickens and our very own vegetable garden, of course.  We would spend our mornings tending to chores but we would make time to ride our bikes a few miles to reach land’s end and have a sandwich on the beach.  We would pick up bread and cheese from local shops in town but really, I’d be happy making the bread myself and would even attempt to make my own cheese.  I would make time to bake a cake in the morning because afternoon tea would not be as enjoyable without one.  It would be a simple cake; one that is neither fussy nor frilly but made with simple ingredients and taste fresh and light.  I’d have a slice (or two) with my tea then maybe another after dinner outside with my husband as we watch the stars above us.

Dreams don’t materialize unless you take a step towards them, I’ve learned.  I’ve found the perfect cake to go with this pretty picture.  Maybe I should plant those tomatoes after all…

(If you like this cake, you might also like one of my favorite cakes in the archives that is similar to this, my Ligurian Lemon Cake with Meringue Topping)


Citrus-Almond Olive Oil Cake |


5.0 from 5 reviews
Citrus-Almond Olive Oil Cake
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
A light cake that is ideal for tea time.
Recipe type: Dessert, Tea Time
Cuisine: American
Serves: 8
  • 2 teaspoons unsalted butter (for buttering the pan)
  • 1½ cups all-purpose flour (7½ oz, 235 grams)
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup almonds, coarsely chopped (I used sliced)
  • More sliced almonds for sprinkling over the baked cake (the original recipe doesn't do this but I highly recommend)
  • 1 cup sugar (8 oz, 250 grams)
  • 3 large eggs
  • ½ cup olive oil (3 fl oz, 80 ml)(I would add maybe 2 tablespoons more next time)
  • 1 tablespoon orange zest
  • 2 tablespoons fresh orange juice (the original recipe doesn't have this but I think it helped)
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract (I used almond extract)
  • Honey, for drizzling
  • 1 large orange, peeled and thinly sliced (I peeled and separated 4 Mandarin oranges instead)
  1. Preheat your oven to 350℉ and butter a 9-inch springform pan. Dust it with flour, shaking out the excess.
  2. Stir together flour, baking powder and salt in a bowl. In a food processor, combine the nuts and ¼ cup of the sugar and process until finely ground. Combine this with the flour mixture.
  3. In a bowl an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat eggs together until frothy at medium speed. Add the remaining ¾ cup sugar and beat on high speed until thick and pale yellow, 4-6 minutes. On low speed, beat in the olive oil, orange zest, orange juice and almond extract. Then gently fold flour-almond mixture into egg mixture with a rubber spatula until well blended. Transfer the batter into the prepared pan.
  4. Bake for about 30 minutes or until the top is golden brown. Let it cool in the pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes then remove the sides of the pan and let cool completely.
  5. Before serving, top cake with orange slices/pieces and drizzle with honey. Cut into wedges and serve. Serves 8-10
Original recipe here from the Williams-Sonoma blog.


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  1. What a lovely cake, citrus with almonds is always a winning combination! Hope you’re able to plant those tomatoes after all – I have four plants, though I don’t have deer to contend with! However, the birds do seem to make an appearance the moment the tomatoes turn red…

  2. I love using olive oil in my baked goods, especially cake. What a wonderful flavor combination! We have a small garden in our yard, but I always wish we could grow more. But since we are lucky to live in Southern California, we are blessed with access to wonderful produce.

  3. Jean, this is gorgeous! Love the citrus and almonds together…stunning!

  4. Beautiful cake! Love the crumb! I gave up on tomatoes too…. Just yesterday my tulips got a frost from a snow storm… The weather doesn’t like my gardening 🙂

  5. Jean, I love your vision of moving to the coast! I have always wanted a rustic cabin getaway – complete with goats, chickens, and a Swiss cow (for milk and adorability!).

    I love the simplicity of this beautiful olive oil cake! Perfect for taking one’s mind off the empty tomato patch. 😉

  6. You are so right, tea is made so much better with a little slice of cake alongside it. You husband sounds like mine, but I’m like you I’d rather just make my own bread and cakes. I did get a few tomato plants in pots this year. I love your deer, but I think they would make me made if they scarfed down all my veggies I’d been waiting months for. I have a whole bowl of cuties on the counter that are now looking like cake to me. Hope all is well.

  7. Beautiful cake. And i think you should plant tomatoes and take one closer step to your dream!

  8. A wonderfully citrusy cake! I’d love to taste it right now.



  9. The deer in my hood have meant I can no longer grow hibiscus flowers (they leave the plant alone but devour the flower). GREG

  10. This looks great! The perfect cake for a spring day!

  11. And I was actually going to say how lucky you are to see deer in your backyard but I understand your predicament. We used to plant our own tomatoes too but we stopped during my pregnancies because of cats in our area. I still wish to plant our own but time is against us this time. Love the cake!

  12. Looks absolutely delicious, Jean!

  13. I dream about the very same thing, a simple life appeals to me very much.

  14. If there’s a dream worth pursuing, that one sounds like it would be perfect. Sigh. I wouldn’t be surprised if you do make the move one day. And if you do, I’ll be sure to visit when you make a cake like this 🙂

  15. This cake is winning me over in a big way! Since I love mandarins, clementines, or any kind of citrus, this is a clear winner in my book! Add the almonds, and it’s all over! I’m coming over for a slice! LOL!

  16. I agree with you 100% – it does take steps and goals to get you where you want to be. At the conference I went to this week, I attended a session that talked about “focus” and it being the key to a high performer. I took the business context into my personal life and it is so true. Once you have a laser focus, you accomplish things you never dreamed of. I know your dream will come true. As for this dreamy olive oil citrus cake – one word – DIVINE! Lovely photos!!!

  17. Lovely cake, Jean! Citrus and almond is a wonderful combination. And I love cakes that incorporate the use of olive oil.

  18. That is a really lovely cake and an equally beautiful image! Citrus and olive oil are magic together. Country life would be so refreshing…one day, perhaps!

  19. Cristina says:

    Luv this cake. Baked goods with olive oil and incorporating fruits, nuts and/or veggies have a big place in my heart! There’s a rustic goodness about cakes like this…another must make from your blog!

    I’m so with you about the joys of growing things in your own yard, Jean. I find so much peace and happiness in being able to walk outside to my herbs, seasonal veggies and fruit trees in tending to them with TLC and enjoying the fruits of my labor when things are ready to be picked. I never thought I’d enjoy it so much. 🙂

  20. Jean it sounds like a wonderful dream. Be it growing your tomatoes this year or making the move, I wish you nothing but the best. I’m not very good with keeping plants so I fear that if I had your space the critters would take over completely.:) This cake sounds like the perfect treat to contemplate your decisions.

  21. Such pretty photos of your citrus olive oil cake. I know what you mean about creature eating your garden and fruits, we moved out on a hill in the middle of nowhere where only the cows, deer, raccoons and other such critter roamed. We have to fight every year for out peaches and tomatoes :).

  22. I love that you have these dreams but even more I love that you have taken the first step towards them and made this cake. A great step forward. LOL.

  23. Looks incredible! I love olive oil cakes, the orange slices on top are a nice touch.

  24. We have that same fantasy! And there will be LOTS of berries bushes and fruit trees. 🙂

    Love this cake and its simplicity. And perfect for summer!

  25. Lovely cake Jean! At least the deer can’t get your citrus cake- aren’t they pesky when it comes to eating our veggie gardens!?! I had to put a giant fence around mine and now the quail are eating all my seedlings and pecking holes in my strawberries…grrrr!!!


  1. […] you read one of my recent posts about wishing for a simpler life, these pictures would illustrate perfectly what I envision doing […]

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