A lemon-kissed, incredibly moist, crispy-edged Mini Lemon Olive Oil Cake. Perfect for any occasion, this unfussy little cake can also be baked as a mini loaf or cupcakes!
The Olive Oil Cake in Mark Bittman’s How To Bake Everything Cookbook was the inspiration for this small batch recipe.
That original cake is easy to throw together (you don’t need a mixer) and features the deliciously sophisticated combination of citrus and olive oil. But alas it also makes about 16 servings.
So we did what we do and downsized it. Our much smaller cake is still incredibly simple and good, only now you won’t have a ton of leftovers!
Olive Oil: An unrefined extra-virgin variety will give the cake an assertive grassy or floral olive oil flavor. Use a mild or light-tasting variety for a more subtle flavor.
Lots of Lemon: If you’re looking for an in-your-face amount of lemon, swap the vanilla extract for lemon extract, use a lemon-infused olive oil, and top the baked cake with a lemon glaze (see recipe notes).
How to Make a Small Lemon Olive Oil Cake
Step 1: Prep the pan. Generously grease the bottom and sides of a 6 x 2-inch round cake pan. Preheat oven or toaster oven to 350°F.
Step 2: Combine the dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt). Set aside.
Step 3: In a separate bowl, whisk together the egg and sugar until fluffy and pale.
Step 4: Whisk in the olive oil, milk, vanilla, lemon zest, and juice. Then add the dry ingredients and mix just until combined. Pour the batter into the prepared pan.
Step 5: Bake at 350°F for about 20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
Step 6: Cool the cake in the pan for a bit. Then run a knife around the edges and invert onto a rack to cool completely.
Recipe Tips and Variations
- Try other citrus fruits: orange, grapefruit, lime, or clementine are all good options.
- Change up the texture: mix in a few tablespoons of chopped pistachios or unsweetened shredded coconut.
- Bake olive oil cupcakes: in just 13 minutes you’ll have 5 tender cupcakes to enjoy! Make sure to grease the muffin tin well or use liners as the cupcakes are prone to sticking.
- Make a tiny loaf: using a 5.75 x 3 x 2-inch mini loaf pan. Bake at 350F until a skewer in the middle comes out clean, our mini loaf took about 30 minutes.
This cake is great on its own. But you can dress it up with a dusting of powdered sugar. Or serve alongside some small batch whipped cream and fresh berries.
For an extra special treat, whip up a tangy lemon glaze by whisking together ¼ cup confectioner’s sugar, ½ to 1 teaspoon lemon juice, and ⅛ teaspoon vanilla extract. Paired with the moist cake, the flavor reminds me of a Starbucks lemon loaf!
More Small Batch Baking Recipes
- Toaster Oven Chocolate Chip Cookies
- Blueberry Coffee Cake (Cake Mix Recipe)
- Banana Bread For Two
- Mini Applesauce Spice Cake
- Toaster Oven Carrot Cake
- 1/2 cup (60 grams) All Purpose Flour or White Whole Wheat Flour
- 1/4 teaspoon Baking Powder
- 1/8 teaspoon Baking Soda
- 1/8 teaspoon Fine Sea Salt
- 1 large Egg (about 50 grams, weighed without shell)
- 1/4 cup (48 grams) Granulated Sugar
- 1/4 cup (60 grams) Olive Oil, plus more for the pan
- 2 tablespoons (30 grams) Milk (Dairy or Non-Dairy)
- 1 teaspoon Lemon Zest, from a small lemon
- 1 tablespoon (15 grams) Lemon Juice
- 1/8 teaspoon Vanilla Extract or Lemon Extract (optional)
- Preheat oven to 350°F. If using a toaster oven, adjust the cooking rack to the bottom position and select the BAKE setting.
- Generously grease the bottom and sides of a 6 x 2-inch round cake pan.
In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
- In a medium bowl, combine the egg and sugar, and whisk until fluffy and pale, about 1 to 2 minutes. Whisk in the olive oil, milk, vanilla, lemon zest, and juice. Stir in the flour mixture and mix just until combined and no flour lumps remain.
- Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake until the edges are browned and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean or with a few small crumbs attached, about 20 to 25 minutes.
- Leave the cake to cool in the pan for 10 to 15 minutes, then run a knife or mini offset spatula around the edges and invert onto a rack to cool completely.
Cupcakes: Grease (or line) 5 cavities in a muffin pan, and distribute batter evenly. Bake at 350°F until the cupcakes are browned around the edges, spring back when gently pressed in the centers, and a toothpick comes out clean or with a few crumbs, about 12 to 15 minutes
Mini Loaf: Pour batter into a well-oiled mini loaf pan (5.75 x 3 x 2-inch). Bake at 350°F until a skewer in the middle comes out clean, about 30 minutes.
Convection Toaster Oven: Reduce temperature to 325°F and check for doneness earlier (about 2/3 of the way through the cooking time).
Quick Lemon Glaze: Whisk together ¼ cup confectioner’s sugar, ½ to 1 teaspoon lemon juice, and ⅛ teaspoon vanilla extract. Pour over the completely cooked cake, spread as needed, and let set for 20 to 30 minutes.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 4 Serving Size: 1 Cake Slice (Untopped)
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 243Total Fat: 15.6gSaturated Fat: 2.5gCholesterol: 45mgSodium: 119mgCarbohydrates: 24.3gFiber: 0.5gSugar: 12.6gProtein: 3.4g