Grain-Free Rosemary Lemon Olive Oil Cake is perfectly sweet with a savory rustic flair. This magnificently unique cake is made with 10 basic ingredients, is remarkably easy to make, and is a show-stopper for entertaining guests. Dairy-free, refined sugar-free and easy to make sugar-free (keto).
Many years ago, one of my girlfriends made an olive oil cake for her family’s Christmas dinner, which I attended.
She was gushing about it ahead of time and although she had made something like 6 other fancy dishes, she seemed to be the most excited about this cake.
I couldn’t for the life of me figure out what all the buzz was about.
Until I tried it.
All of a sudden, it became glaringly obvious why one would be so thrilled about a cake made with olive oil.
In case you haven’t had it, olive oil cake is uniquely delicious! The olive oil serves as the fat in the cake, omitting the need for butter.
While the flavor of olive oil isn’t overwhelming in the cake, it adds a subtle unique nuance and richness that makes it rustic and enticing.
If you’ve tried my Paleo Blueberry Cake, Grain-Free Cranberry Orange Breakfast Cake or Strawberry Breakfast Cake, you’re already familiar with the concept of using avocado oil or algae oil rather than butter.
Using that same concept, we’re just taking an olive oil approach and sprucing it up with lemon and rosemary flavors.
There are innumerable ways one can approach making a cake with olive oil, but I’ve chosen to take a zesty, herb infused approach by making it with lemon zest and dried rosemary.
I use almond flour and pure maple syrup instead of regular flour and sugar, effectively making it grain-free, dairy-free, and refined sugar-free.
Rich and sweet enough to enjoy as dessert yet savory and health-conscious enough to enjoy for breakfast or snack.
The texture is light, fluffy
Let’s get right into the details!
Ingredients for Rosemary Lemon Olive Oil Cake:
Eggs: Used to make the cake light and fluffy.
I haven’t tested the recipe using an egg replacement but in my experience, flax eggs should work (you’d need 3 tablespoons of ground flax seed and 9 tablespoons of water). Just note that the cake won’t fluff up – it will be dense, which I like, but keep that in mind if you’re looking for something fluffy.
Extra Virgin Olive Oil: The star of the show! A simple ingredient that adds fat and flavor to anything it touches. The deep, rich olive flavor adds that rustic essence.
If you don’t keep extra virgin olive oil on hand, you can easily use regular olive oil – the olive flavor just won’t come through as heavily.
As a side note, if you prefer using avocado oil or coconut oil, either one work as a replacement.
Pure Maple Syrup: The sweetener! To keep the cake refined sugar-free, we use pure maple syrup
Vanilla Extract & Almond Extract: You can skip either or both of the extracts, but I feel they both add so much to the cake.
Almond Flour: Rather than using all-purpose flour, I like making the cake grain-free using almond flour. Almond flour is slightly grittier than regular flour, which gives the cake an added texture that enhances the rustic vibe even further. Almond flour also has a natural sweetness to it, lessening the need for excess sweetener.
I use Bob’s Red Mill’s Finely Ground Almond Flour, but any brand of almond flour should work so long as it isn’t a coarse grind. Do note that some brands of almond flour absorb more liquid than others so if you use a different brand and the cake batter looks dry, simply add more olive oil until it resembles a thick batter.
Lemon Zest, Lemon Juice & Dried Rosemary: Flavor makers! The lemon zest and juice give the cake a bright citrusy zing and the dried rosemary gives it a unique depth of flavor that adds a touch of earthiness and makes the cake taste slightly savory.
Baking Soda & Sea Salt: We leaven the cake using baking soda. This ensures the cake bakes evenly and holds together nicely after slicing. Don’t skip it! The sea salt brings out the citrus, rosemary, and olive flavors and also enhances the sweetness.
Can You Taste The Olive Oil?:
You can taste the olive oil in an olive oil cake, especially if you use extra virgin olive oil. If you don’t like the flavor of olive oil, replace it with avocado oil, which has a completely neutral flavor.
While it may sound like a strange flavor in a cake, the olive oil actually plays a supportive role in generating rich flavor and propping up that rustic vibe.
Let’s bake it!
How to Make Rosemary Lemon Olive Oil Cake:
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and line an 8-inch springform pan with parchment paper.
Add all of the ingredients for the cake to a blender and blend until completely smooth (note: you can perform this in a mixing bowl using a hand mixer if you prefer).
Transfer the cake batter to the lined cake pan and smooth it into an even layer.
Bake for 35 to 45 minutes, or until the cake has set up and is golden-brown around the edges (mine takes 35).
Allow the cake to cool for at least 20 minutes.
If desired, sprinkle the cake with powdered sugar and decorate with sliced lemons and fresh rosemary.
Slice and enjoy!
Olive oil isn’t considered to be paleo-friendly so this cake isn’t technically paleo. You can make it paleo by using avocado oil or coconut oil (if using coconut oil, be sure it’s melted).
Can I Make This Keto?:
If you’d like to turn this into a low-carb cake, you can replace the pure maple syrup with ½ cup of your favorite sugar-free sweetener. You’ll also need to offset the loss of liquid, so add an additional ¼ cup of olive oil or almond milk.
More Healthy Cake Recipes:
- Paleo Carrot Cake
- Healthy Paleo Apple Cake
- Paleo Triple Chocolate Cake
- Flourless Keto Chocolate Cake
- Paleo Clementine Cake
Lemon + rosemary + olive oil…let’s go!
If you make this olive oil cake recipe, feel free to snap a photo and share it on Instagram, tagging me @The.Roasted.Root!
Grain-Free Rosemary Lemon Olive Oil Cake
A citrusy herby amazingly rustic Olive Oil Cake that is perfectly sweet and a touch savory! Grain-free, dairy-free and refined sugar-free.
- 3 eggs
- 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
- ½ cup pure maple syrup
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- ½ tsp Almond extract
- Zest of 2 large lemons
- 2 Tbsp lemon juice
- 2 ½ cups almond flour
- 2 tsp dried rosemary*
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and line an 8-inch springform pan with parchment paper.
- Add all of the ingredients for the cake to a blender and blend until completely smooth (note: you can perform this in a mixing bowl using a hand mixer if you prefer).
- Transfer the cake batter to the lined cake pan and smooth it into an even layer.
- Bake for 35 to 45 minutes, or until the cake has set up and is golden-brown around the edges.
- Allow the cake to cool for at least 20 minutes, then release it from the mold.
- If desired, sprinkle the cake with powdered sugar and decorate with sliced lemons and fresh rosemary.
- Slice and enjoy!
*If you'd like bigger, bolder rosemary flavor, use 1 Tbsp of dried rosemary. The recipe as written has a light but noticeable rosemary flavor, but it isn't overwhelming.
Nutrition InformationYield 10 Serving Size 1 of 10
Amount Per Serving Calories 290Total Fat 19gCarbohydrates 21gFiber 2gSugar 13gProtein 10g
Thursday 26th of January 2023
This cake was just superb! Added 1/2 tsp. of lemon extract to the recipe and that took it to a whole new level of lemon deliciousness. Your recommended amount of rosemary was perfect — just a hint without overpowering the cake. Thank you for this, Julia! Your recipes are always my favorite and this cake will be a new go-to for me! 🍋💛
Sunday 29th of January 2023
Yaaay, I'm happy you enjoy it, Dominique! I just love that subtle rosemary flavor with the citrus. Thank you for the sweet note!
Monday 14th of November 2022
Thank you so much for this recipe. My Son has Crohn’s disease and is on the Special Carbohydrate diet and all the lemon cakes I’ve tried come out soggy. I did make a couple substitutions to meet the dietary guidelines but the cake turned out great, fluffy and very tasty. Thank you again.
Tuesday 15th of November 2022
I'm so happy it worked out well for you and your son, Celia! My heart goes out to your family - I know Crohn's can be a challenging disease. xoxoxo
Tuesday 1st of February 2022
Would fresh rosemary work?
Wednesday 2nd of February 2022
Yes, absolutely! I'd chop it finely and go with 2 teaspoons :) Hope you enjoy!
Saturday 15th of January 2022
Can you use a different pan? My Springform is 10".
Monday 17th of January 2022
Do you have an 8-inch or 9-inch square pan? If so, that would work better. A muffin pan would work too if you're okay with making muffins (you'd bake at 350 for about 30 to 40 minutes for muffins). My concern with using a 10-inch is the cake will turn out pretty thin (more like the thickness of bars instead of cake). You could try multiplying the recipe by 1.5 and then you'd have enough batter for a 10 inch. Hope that helps! xoxo
Sunday 5th of December 2021
Would this grain free olive oil rosemary lemon cake need to be refrigerated? I was thinking about making one for a gift but would have to ship it and am not sure how well it might arrive.
Sunday 5th of December 2021
Hi Nancy! It will last at room temperature for at least 5 days, though after that it may become stale. I haven't tried shipping a cake before so I'm not sure how it will arrive either. If you do decide to do it, I would wrap it securely in plastic wrap, then place it in a zip lock bag to ensure the moisture stays in. Definitely be sure to note that it's fragile! Let me know how it goes if you try it! xoxoxo