Meyer Lemon Olive Oil Cake

Meyer Lemon Olive Oil Cake

Easy. Moist. Lemony. These are words that describe this cake, but they in no way do it justice.

Amazing? Now, that’s more like it.

Meyer Lemon Olive Oil Cake

I made this cake over the weekend with the intention of including it in part 2 of my “When Life Gives You Meyer Lemons” series. But then I decided this cake needed its own post. It is that special.

Meyer Lemon Olive Oil Cake

This lemon cake recipe is adapted from Molly Wizenberg’s French Style Yogurt Cake with Lemon. It appears on her blog, as well as in her fantastic book A Homemade Life.

Molly’s recipe calls for traditional lemons and you can most certainly use them. It’s just that I won 5 pounds of Meyer lemons recently, so I’ve been kind of Meyer lemon crazy. I’m completely addicted to these lemons and I’m not sure what I’ll do when I have no more left. I’m definitely going to get a dwarf tree this spring…one that can come inside for the winters so I’ll always have some of these wonderful fruits here in New York.

Molly mentions in the book that you could substitute 1/2 cup ground almonds for 1/2 cup of the flour. I think that if you’re gluten-free, you could use all almond flour. The texture will change, of course, but I think it will still work.

In the ingredients department, I made three changes to Molly’s recipe: I substituted white spelt flour for the all purpose flour, I used olive oil instead of the canola oil, and I added my candied Meyer lemon peel with lavender instead of the lemon zest. As far as technique goes, I used a springform pan (she recommends a 9 inch round one) and I pricked the cake all over before drizzling the syrup. Everything else is pretty much the same. It’s a great recipe…

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Meyer Lemon Olive Oil Cake

This post is linked to Amy Green’s Slightly Indulgent Tuesday!

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Recipe for Meyer Lemon Olive Oil Cake

Adapted from the recipe for French Style Yogurt Cake in A Homemade Life: Stories and Recipes from My Kitchen Table by Molly Wizenberg.
Serves 8.


For the cake:

  • *1 1/2 cups white spelt flour or use all purpose unbleached flour or almond flour if you need it to be gluten-free
  • *2 teaspoons baking powder
  • *pinch of sea salt
  • *2 teaspoons candied Meyer lemon peel or use Meyer lemon zest or regular lemon zest
  • *1/2 cup plain organic yogurt
  • *1 cup organic sugar
  • *3 large eggs preferably organic and free-range
  • *1/2 cup fruity olive oil melted butter would work, too

For the syrup:

  • *1/4 cup organic powdered sugar
  • *1/4 cup Meyer lemon juice or regular lemon juice

For the icing:

  • *1 cup organic powdered sugar
  • *3 tablespoons Meyer lemon juice or regular lemon juice


  • 1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease a 9 inch springform pan with olive oil, and flour the bottom of the pan.
  • 2. In a medium bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Add the candied lemon peel or lemon zest and mix well.
  • 3. In a large bowl, combine the yogurt, sugar, eggs and olive oil. Whisk well to combine. Pour the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients and whisk again to combine
  • 4. Pour into the prepared pan and bake for about 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. I suggest you start checking after 25 minutes: you do not want to overbake it.
  • 5. Cool the cake for 15 minutes and then remove the sides of the pan. Prick the cake all over with a fork, whisk the syrup ingredients together, and then drizzle the syrup all over the cake. The syrup will seep into all those fork holes you just made, and this is a very good thing.
  • 6. Allow the cake to cool for another 30 minutes or so and then whisk the icing ingredients together. Using a offset spatula (or a spoon), cover the top of the cake with the icing. You can serve the cake immediately, or wait 45 minutes to 1 hour and the icing will harden.

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47 thoughts on “Meyer Lemon Olive Oil Cake”

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  3. Hi,

    I am so disappointed in this cake, it does not at all look like the picture. Very misleading. What were you thinking, honestly/

  4. Like you I love lemon desserts, and when I was craving something lemon tonight I remembered seeing this a few months ago. I set out to make it and ended up discovering I was short on on white sugar, olive oil, and yogurt. No springform pan, no Meyer lemons. A little bit of brown sugar, buttermilk, butter, a Bundt pan, regular lemons and a swap of half a cup of cornmeal for unbleached flour and voila–very moist and incredibly yummy lemon cornmeal cake! Thanks for the recipe and the inspiration to wing it a bit, Winnie!

  5. My husband’s birthday is coming up and his favorite cake is a lemon cake that came from his grandma. He says he doubts I can come close to what she baked for him in the past, but I just see that as a challenge. : ) This cake looks yummy and I can’t wait to bake it for him!

  6. Since I found this recipe, it has become my “go-to” dessert for entertaining and taking to friends. We have two Meyer lemon trees, so I am always looking for lemon recipes. I use boutique olive oils from Northern California where I live. I really think the olive oil is non-negotiable because it lends such a distinctive flavor to the cake. Another bonus is that since hubby had triple by-pass surgery he has to watch his saturated fat intake and olive oil is one of the good fats. I make the cake with all purpose organic flour. We love it and so do all our friends. Everywhere I take it I have to also give the recipe!
    Thanks for sharing it.

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  9. Made this today with regular spelt flour (didn’t know until after baking that white spelt was different), sucanat instead of white sugar & goat’s milk yogurt. I only had regular lemons for the juice & rind, & used butter as my olive oil wasn’t fruity even though I was tempted to try coconut oil instead. It’s darker in color due to the sucanat & didn’t rise much but it appears similar to yours in height. Even though I used a spring form pan, it didn’t have the “well” in the middle like your…which could be due to the fact the I accidentally ran into the oven knob & increased the baking temperature, but I think it was near the end! It’s very moist & lemony & I think it would make a good bundt if you doubled the recipe. I should’ve waited more than 30 minutes to ice it so it wouldn’t be runny, but I am an impatient baker & couldn’t wait to try the finished product! I wonder where I can find white spelt flour – maybe whole foods?

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  11. you know that i’m all over anything w/Meyer Lemon, right? and this is perfect because it’s a single layer which means smaller pieces which means this is a cake i can bake!

  12. I’m a fan of the word lemony. This just calls for a cup of tea!
    I like going back into the archives and seeing what friends were writing about before I knew them!

  13. What a gorgeous lemon cake. I absolutely adore lemon cake so I’m very glad you shared this. It looks soo moist and flavorful! :)

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  19. Jesse- I think coconut milk is a fine idea…I would try it myself but I’ve run out.
    Let me know if you give it a try and how it comes out!

  20. Do you have any suggestions of how to make this dairy-free (i.e. without the yoghurt)? It looks so good I want to make it but I can’t have yoghurt! Maybe coconut milk instead?

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  22. Thanks everyone for the nice comments…I am going to give this a try with blood oranges too and will report back on that.

    Shawna- I’ve no idea about the nutritional info…I’m not set up to calculate that sort of info for the blog. I’m very much a “balance and moderation” person, so I just don’t pay attention to numbers. Sorry!

  23. This looks like a beautiful cake. I’ve made an olive oil cake with orange before, but not meyer lemon. I will definitely try this! (And your photos are great, too!)

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  25. I’ve been meyer lemon crrrraazzzy this season too!! If this is half as luscious and tasty as it looks, I’m sure I’ll be hooked.

    Great idea to use spelt and almond flours instead.

  26. Oh this post is such a tease! I envy your meyer lemon acquiring abilities. I am calling around tomorrow to see if I can find any locally. If I do, by happen chance land great fortune, this cake will be mine! All mine…

  27. I get fresh Meyer lemons every winter fron my MIL’s tree and I’m bookmarking this recipe for sure. It looks delicious and very special! I also need how to learn to make the candied lemon peel or even how to perserve the whole lemon!

  28. Lemons are one of our favorite fruits too. Old ways do bring better results. Using olive oil allows the flavor of the other ingredients to come forth and helps to naturally maintain the freshness for baked cakes.

  29. Oh wow! This looks amazing! I am going to have to figure out a way to make this refined sugar-free and with whole grain wheat flour! Mmmmm…….thanks!

  30. Oh my, this sounds THAT good. I bought a bunch of regular lemons the other day and ended up not using them. I think maybe I need to make this. I love the idea of your using some lavender candied lemon peel – I have lavender salt, I bet I could incorporate a touch of that somehow. And I’ll have to gluten-free-ize it with the almond flour – I’ve made a gluten-free orange cake before using all almond flour, so it ought to work! Making this ASAP.

  31. I wondering if I could use coconut oil instead of the olive oil?? May try and see what happens. Coconut oil and lemon sounds good together!

  32. Oh, that is fabulous! I remember reading about it in Molly’s book (I agree that it’s wonderful!). Must make using almond flour … SOOOON.

    Thanks, Winnie!