Olive Oil Based Dessert Recipes

By Kimberly Branum

We all know the benefits of olives and olive oil. So why not use olive oil to create some desserts?

Olive orchard proprietor Kimberly Branum of Bel Lavoro has perfected these two recipes. We have tried them and we can confirm that both the cake and the ice cream are delicious.

All that Branum does is done with passion, working as a team with her son Brandon. They want to stay true to nature, so the olives from the 350 trees in the beautiful orchard, located on the hills of Montecito, California, are grown organically. The sea below blows its breeze on the elegant olive trees irrigated by natural spring water. The olives come from three tree varietals, Manzanilla, Chemlali and Arbequina, and make a medium bodied olive oil with a mix of herb and nut flavors and a touch of spice. 

Cut1886 Extra Virgin Olive Oil is, of course, cold-pressed and produced in limited quantities (2,500 bottles).

Purchases can be made online at

Olive Oil Cake

Olive oil cake recipe

1 1/4 cups plus 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil; plus, more for pan
1 cup sugar; plus, more
2 cups cake flour
1/3 cup almond flour or hazelnut flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons Grand Marnier
1 tablespoon finely grated lemon zest
3 tablespoon fresh Meyer lemon juice (if using regular lemon increase sugar to 1 cup)
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 large eggs

Preheat oven to 400°F. Drizzle bottom and sides of 9″ springform pan with oil and use your fingers to coat. Line bottom with a round of parchment paper and smooth to eliminate air bubbles, coat parchment with more oil. Generously sprinkle pan with sugar and tilt to coat in an even layer. Whisk cake flour, almond/hazelnut flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a medium bowl to combine and eliminate any lumps. Stir together Grand Marnier, lemon juice and vanilla in a small bowl.

Using an electric mixer on high speed (use whisk attachment if working with a stand mixer), beat eggs, lemon zest and 1 cup sugar in a large bowl until mixture is very light, thick, pale and falls off the whisk or beaters in a slowly dissolving ribbon, about 3 minutes if using a stand mixer and about 5 minutes if using a hand mixer. With mixer still on high speed, gradually stream in 1¼ cups oil and beat until incorporated and mixture is even thicker. Reduce mixer speed to low and add dry ingredients in 3 additions, alternating with Grand Marnier mixture in 2 additions, beginning and ending with dry ingredients. Fold batter several times with a large rubber spatula, making sure to scrape the bottom and sides of bowl. Scrape batter into prepared pan, smooth top and sprinkle lightly with sugar.

Place cake in oven and immediately reduce oven temperature to 350°F. Bake until top is golden brown, center is firm to the touch, and a tester inserted into the center comes out clean, 40–50 minutes. Let cake cool in pan 15 minutes.

Poke holes all over top of cake with a toothpick or skewer and drizzle with remaining 2 Tbsp. oil; let it absorb. Let cool completely. For the best flavor and texture, wrap cake in plastic and let sit at room temperature at least a day before serving. Bake ahead — this cake gets better. Cake can be baked 4 days ahead. Store tightly wrapped at room temperature.