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!
- 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