Baked Goods Recipes

Citrus Olive Oil Cake – Vegan Baking

Hi Vegetarian Carnivores! We are doing something a little different today – baking! I know I usually stick to savory and spicy dishes. After all, my palate usually craves savory over sweet. But the other day I really was craving something lightly sweet. So not one of those grocery store cakes that has 2 inches of frosting on a heavy cake- I have always been put off by those! But I was trying to make something light and fluffy and just sweet enough to satisfy my sweet tooth without feeling gross and sick afterwards. So I decided to make an easy Citrus Olive Oil Cake! All vegan, of course, and the idea was to get it as light and fluffy as possible. And light and fluffy, it was!

Novice baker

As you may know, I am a pretty novice baker. As good as I am at cooking decadent dinners and meat substitutes and cheesy dishes, I have had SO MANY FAILS when it comes to baking. I’m talking wrong proportions, underbaking, overbaking, etc. You name the fail- I have done it. So I really needed a pretty foolproof option.

Quarantine friendly!

My friend is an incredible baker and suggested that I try an olive oil cake, because those are easily veganized. The most important thing she told me was “make sure the cake is cooked all the way through in the oven, unlike traditional cakes.” This made things easy for me because I ALWAYS have a hard time knowing how cooked is cooked enough with traditional cakes!

The ingredients in an olive oil cake are SO few and SO pantry friendly. I know we are all looking for simple dishes to make now that we are all stuck in quarantine. I can almost guarantee that you will have most, if not all of the ingredients for this cake!

The original recipe calls for applesauce, but if you don’t have applesauce, you can use an overripe mashed banana! Again, this is all about using pantry friendly ingredients!

The original recipe also uses lemon as the citrus, but any citrus like orange or lime would work well too. The principles are the same. You can sub a 1:1 ratio with the proportions given below for zest and juice!

My inspiration

I want to start off by saying that this recipe is NOT entirely mine! It is heavily inspired by My Darling Vegan‘s version of it, and I referenced it multiple times to make sure I was doing ok! I changed it up a little in terms of quantity of sugar because I like my sweets to be only very mildly sweet and added way more lemon juice than her recipe called for. 

But the gist of it is very heavily her recipe. So a big thank you to My Darling Vegan for posting this!

Let’s get started


  1. 1/2 cup applesauce- can sub mashed banana in a pinch!
  2. 3/4 cup olive oil
  3. 1 cup oat milk, or any creamy plant based milk
  4. 4 tbsp lemon juice, or citrus juice
  5. 1 lemon, zested all around
  6. 2 cups all purpose flour
  7. 1 cup granulated sugar- you can up to a half cup more if you like your desserts sweeter
  8. 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  9. 1/2 tsp baking soda
  10. 1 tsp salt
  11. Powdered sugar
  12. Mint leaves
  13. Lemon slices


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and line a cake pan with parchment paper.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, combine applesauce, olive oil, plant milk, citrus juice, citrus zest, and sugar. Whisk together until well combined. This took me a few minutes due to the polarity mismatch (separating of liquids) between the oil and milk. Make sure all ingredients are well combined and smooth.
  3. In another bowl, mix flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt and mix well.
  4. Slowly combine dry ingredients into wet while whisking continuously. Whisk until there are no lumps.
  5. Pour wet mixture into the cake pan and tap the tray a few times to get out any air bubbles.
  6. Bake for 50 minutes to 1 hour. This time can vary but the important thing to remember is to keep the oven closed! Every time you open the oven to check you lose about 25 degrees so that will just delay your cooking time. Keep the oven closed for at least 50 minutes before checking. When you check, make sure your toothpick/fork comes out ABSOLUTELY CLEAN. Traditional cakes require a slightly mushy center and it’ll finish cooking outside. This cake is different. Make sure it finishes cooking inside the oven.
  7. Take out of the oven and cool for around an hour.
  8. Dust powdered sugar on top, decorate with mint leaves and lemon slices, and enjoy!!


I definitely will be making this again during this quarantine (and after!). The result was so fluffy, yet moist, and just sweet enough with the tang from the citrus.

And might I say it photographed really well too! Absolutely gorgeous and delicious.

What do you guys think? And again, thank you to My Darling Vegan for the inspiration!

See you soon

Janani <3 <3


  1. I’m a savory cook as well although I was taught to bake and can be forced to from tiime to time!  This cake looks amazingly moise at yet fluffy for having no butter (or butter substitute) in it.  I am definitely bookmarking it as I have never heard of oil cakes before.  I think the play of the applesauce and the citrus sounds totally yummy!

    1. It came out perfectly done on my first try too! I couldn’t believe it and had to share 🙂 The applesauce added a light and moist quality that really took the dish to the next level!

  2. Well thanks for sharing this recipe! I really like Citrus cake, so your recipe here is a must bake for me this weekend! Are you really sure that you are just a novice? The cake looks so yummy here. Since all of my family are here due to self-isolate, I think this cake is perfect to bake and enjoyed on the weekend 🙂 If you have time, can I suggest to bake something like Cinnamon cake to for your next recipe? Looking forward to read your other recipes.

    1. Haha yes it is the perfect pantry staple cake dish for a lazy weekend 🙂 Of course! I’d love to try my hand at cinnamon cake- I am a sucker for cinnamon! Thanks for your support!

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