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!

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!

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!

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!

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


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


  • 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


  • Lemon Zest
  • Blackberries
  • Mint


  • 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!

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


  1. 5 stars
    This cake was a big hit at the birthday party last night! Thank you for posting it. Will use this recipe again. (I am not an experienced baker.)

  2. 5 stars
    I love this recipe!! I have made it for a few friends birthdays with a couple different variations.

    Tried doing half almond flour and half regular flour – very light consistency and also adds a nutty layer of flavor.

    Another variation I tried was with lime juice instead of lemon with strawberries!

    And last but certainly not least, I did a version where instead of the lemon cream cheese frosting, I made a greek yogurt, honey and lemon drizzle – that was incredible

    Thanks for the clear and concise directions 🙂

  3. 5 stars
    My family and friends LOVE this cake! I’ve also made it with Meyer lemon OR Persian lime EVOO for extra zing. I skip the lemon curd since the cake is moist and zesty enough without it. This is by far our favorite dessert!

  4. Greased cake pans but with cooling completely still could not get cakes out without breaking into pieces. Is there a place I could add a note on my saved recipe to add parchment paper to the pan bottoms?

  5. 5 stars
    Love this cake. I skipped the lemon curd and baked my cake in a Bundt pan…had to increase the baking time a bit, but it turned out perfectly.

  6. So yummy I had to add orange juice and zest as I only had lemon 1/2 tsp concentrate and also added vanilla awesome cake recipe!!

  7. At first I will say olive oil and cake really didn’t sound too good but working professionally and cutting wedding cakes for receptions. I had the honor of sampling cakes from the north, south, east and west side of Chicago and I must say this is my favorite cake of all time.
    Thank you for contributing this gem.