This post may contain affiliate links. Please read our disclosure policy.

Italian Lemon Olive Oil Cake. Soft and tender moist lemon cake topped with lemon vanilla cream cheese frosting. The perfect lemon cake! www.modernhoney.com

Lemon Olive Oil Cake

Everyone needs a vibrant, light, fluffy, moist lemon cake recipe up their sleeves. Easter is coming up and it wouldn’t be complete for me without a beautiful, seasonal lemon cake. My Grandma Faye loved all things lemon so it was essential at our Easter Sunday dinner. Her recipe, albeit wonderful, uses a cake mix and I wanted to create one from scratch. You can’t beat homemade!

Back in the day when I was competing in recipe contests, I found a contest where the grand prize was a trip to Italy! It had been at the top of my bucket list for years. I went straight to the kitchen and went to work! It was for Bertolli olive oil and since I assumed most people would go the savory route, I went to dessert. I wanted to create an Italian Lemon Cake using olive oil, reminiscent of the Tuscany countryside.

Italian Lemon Olive Oil Cake. Soft and tender moist lemon cake topped with lemon vanilla cream cheese frosting. The perfect lemon cake! www.modernhoney.com

The result was a melt-in-your-mouth lemon cake that was not only super tender, fluffy, and moist but had a heavenly fresh lemon flavor as well.

This Italian Lemon Olive Oil Cake is the perfect lemon cake.

Italian Lemon Olive Oil Cake. Soft and tender moist lemon cake topped with lemon vanilla cream cheese frosting. The perfect lemon cake! www.modernhoney.com

The frosting can make or break a cake. So many of the frosting found on bakery cakes are overly sweet. This lemon vanilla cream cheese frosting uses butter, cream cheese, powdered sugar, freshly squeezed lemon juice, and grated lemon zest.

This creamy, silky frosting is the most ideal accompaniment to this fabulous Italian Lemon Olive Oil Cake. A zester makes it much easier to remove only the best parts of the lemon.

This cake does call for olive oil and the wonderful thing is that you can use canola, vegetable, or coconut oil as well. I have made this cake many, many times and have used both canola oil and coconut oil with much success. You can even use coconut oil and top the cake with coconut flakes.

My favorite cake pan is this one from USA Pan Bakeware Round Cake Pan, 8 inch. My favorite tool to use to frost a cake is definitely this Wilton angled spatula.

Click HERE to find all of my favorite essential kitchen products in one place.

Italian Lemon Olive Oil Cake. Soft and tender moist lemon cake topped with lemon vanilla cream cheese frosting. The perfect lemon cake! www.modernhoney.com

If you love cake, here are some of the most popular cake recipes:

Pin this now to find it later

Pin It
4.95 from 103 votes

Italian Lemon Olive Oil Cake

By: Melissa Stadler, Modern Honey
A light and fluffy lemon cake made with olive oil and topped with lemon vanilla cream cheese frosting.
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 24 minutes
Total Time: 39 minutes
Servings: 16

Ingredients  

Italian Lemon Olive Oil Cake:

  • 1 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil or Canola Oil
  • 3 Eggs
  • 1 1/3 cup Whole Milk
  • 1 Tablespoon Fresh Lemon Juice
  • 2 Tablespoons Fresh Lemon Zest
  • 2 Cups Sugar
  • 2 Cups Flour
  • 1 teaspoon Baking Powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon Baking Soda
  • 1 teaspoon Salt

Filling:

  • 1 cup Lemon Curd

Lemon Vanilla Cream Cheese Frosting:

  • 1/2 cup Butter softened
  • 1 - 8 ounce package Cream Cheese softened
  • 4 cups Powdered Sugar may need 1/4 cup more depending on consistency
  • 1 Tablespoon Fresh Lemon Juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon Lemon Zest plus more for garnish
  • 1 teaspoon Pure Vanilla or Vanilla Beans optional

Garnish:

  • Lemon Zest
  • Blackberries
  • Mint

Instructions 

  • Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
  • In a large mixing bowl, add oil, eggs, whole milk, lemon juice, and lemon zest. Cream for 2 minutes. In large bowl, add sugar, flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Stir into egg mixture and fold. Spray two 9-inch or three 8-inch cake pans with nonstick cooking spray. Place batter into baking pans. If using three 8-inch pans, bake for 20-26 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean. If using two 9-inch pans, bake for 30-36 minutes. Cool.

To make frosting:

  • In a large bowl, cream together butter and cream cheese for 4-5 minutes until light and fluffy, scraping sides of bowl often. Add powdered sugar, lemon juice, vanilla and lemon zest and cream together. Chill.

To assemble cake:

  • Remove cakes from pan. Spread frosting on top of one cooled cake layer. Place other cooled cake layer on top and spread frosting all over. Garnish with lemon zest and fresh blackberries.
  • Optional: Spread lemon curd on first cake layer and then top with frosting.
  • Let chill for 20-30 minutes to let the frosting set up.

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Additional Info

Course: Dessert
Cuisine: Italian
Servings: 16
Keyword: lemon cake
Like this? Leave a comment below!Jump to Comments

I can’t wait to hear what you think of this Italian Lemon Olive Oil Cake. Find me on Instagram at @modern_honey.

Italian Lemon Olive Oil Cake. Soft and tender moist lemon cake topped with lemon vanilla cream cheese frosting. The perfect lemon cake! www.modernhoney.com


Hi, I'm Melissa Stadler!

I am an Award-Winning Recipe Creator. Cover of Food Network Magazine. Two-Time Pillsbury Bake-Off Finalist. I am passionate about sharing the best recipes so you have success in the kitchen!

You Might Also Like

4.95 from 103 votes (20 ratings without comment)

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating




168 Comments

  1. Hi there – looks yummy. Can this sit out on a dessert table for three hours, or will it start to melt? Will be inside, in air-conditioning.

  2. 5 stars
    This recipe was great and I followed it exactly. I did swap out lemon curd for a homemade cranberry jam as I made this for Christmas and, well, cranberries are festive! The cake was a HUGE hit!

  3. I use lemon olive oil in the cake. It gives it a more intense lemon flavor. The cake is the most requested cake my family and friends ask me to bake. Thanks for the recipe.

  4. 5 stars
    The best lemon cake ever!! I made it in a ring pan and put a glaze on top and it’s amazing!! My favourite lemon cake!

  5. Do you have to use whole milk? Can you use 1% milk or buttermilk? What is your favorite oil to use, canola or olive oil? What is the recipe for lemon curd? Thanks! Thanks for answering my questions and letting me know. Much appreciated!

  6. 5 stars
    This recipe is perfection! I’ve made this cake countless times over the years, and despite not being a great baker, it comes out great every time.

  7. 5 stars
    It’s always an ego boost when I make this cake. Tons of compliments.
    My 86 year old German mother of a friend was complimentary- and that was the best compliment!

  8. 5 stars
    This cake is amazing. Started making it a few years ago. I’m never disappointed. Moist and full of great lemon flavour.