Flavored with citrus zest and spices, these mini orange cardamom olive oil cakes are dairy free and very easy to prepare. The olive oil gives the cake a wonderful texture. And the spices (cardamom and cinnamon) pair incredibly well with orange. Bake in a mini Bundt pan for a lovely presentation or use a cupcake pan for convenience.
Why You’ll Love This Recipe
- Easy: This olive oil cake is incredibly easy to prepare! All you need to do is whisk the ingredients together in a bowl. No mixer needed!
- Dairy free: We’ll be using oil instead of butter. This might not sound like a selling point to some! But hear me out! The cake tastes amazing and you don’t have to worry about melting the butter. Or taking it out beforehand.
- Flavorful: The orange and lemon zest give the cake a refreshing quality, while the spices add warmth. Combining them gives you the best of both worlds.
- Customizable: You can easily play around with the spices used and the citrus zest. Try different flavors or reduce the amounts if you prefer something more subtle.
- Sugar: The sugar will add sweetness and will make the cake moist.
- Citrus zest: We’ll be using orange zest and a little bit of lemon zest. You can skip the lemon zest if you want. You can also adjust the amount of orange zest. Keep in mind that most of the orange flavor comes from the orange zest, not the orange juice. So if you use much less than stated in the recipe, you won’t have much orange flavor.
- Eggs: For structure. We’ll simply be whisking the eggs with the other ingredients.
- Flour: You’ll need all-purpose flour, for structure.
- Olive oil: The oil will give the cake a wonderful texture. It will be moist and won’t dry out as easily as a butter cake does. I usually use classic olive oil since it’s what I have on hand. But you can also use extra virgin olive oil if you prefer.
- Orange juice: The juice will add moisture to the cake.
- Spices: We’ll be using ground cinnamon and cardamom. These two spices go incredibly well together. The recipe calls for a large amount, for a strong flavor. You can use less if you want. I also like to add cardamom seeds. You’ll get an occasional burst of cardamom flavor which is out of this world! But you can omit the seeds if that doesn’t sound appealing to you!
To get the cardamom seeds out of the pod, simply cut the pod in two using a knife. Remove the seeds and cut (or grind) them into smaller pieces if desired. The larger the seed, the crunchier it will be in the cake.
- Baking powder: For a little bit of rise.
- Flavorings: A little bit of vanilla extract to add even more warmth to the cake. You can use Grand Marnier instead for a nice orange kick. Rum works well as well.
- Salt: To enhance all the flavors.
- Preheat the oven to 180°C (356°F, conventional setting). Grease and flour a mini Bundt cake pan (if needed). If using a silicone mold you won’t need to grease it.
Prepare orange lemon sugar
- Place the sugar in a large mixing bowl.
- Wash and dry the oranges (and lemon) then grate the top layer of the peel over the sugar. Don’t grate the pith (white part) which is bitter. Use organic oranges/lemons if possible, to avoid any pesticide residues.
- Using a large spoon, mix until the sugar looks orange and wet. You can rub the sugar and citrus zest with your fingertips instead.
Orange/lemon sugar: Rubbing the citrus zest with sugar will release the essential oils from the zest and give more flavor.
Add the wet ingredients
- Add the eggs and whisk until combined.
- Mix in the orange juice, olive oil and vanilla extract.
Add the dry ingredients
- In another bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, cardamom and salt.
- Pour into the egg mixture and whisk just until combined. Don’t overmix.
Bake the cardamom orange cake
- Pour (or pipe) into the cavities of the prepared cake pan using a measuring cup. Fill them about 2/3 of the way. Don’t fill the cavity too much or the batter will overflow and the cakes will start to crack. Cover any leftover batter and store at room temperature while the first batch is in the oven. If using a silicone mold, place it on a baking sheet before filling with batter.
- Gently tap the pan on the counter a few times to get rid of air bubbles.
- Bake for about 15 minutes (middle position), or until a toothpick inserted into the cake comes out clean.
- Remove from the oven and cool on a wire rack before unmolding. If making another batch, wait at least 10 minutes before unmolding. Wash and dry the mold then fill with the remaining batter.
And that’s it! Super easy, isn’t it? The cake tastes wonderful as it is. But you can dust with powdered sugar if you like. Or you could make an orange glaze by mixing powdered sugar with just a little bit of orange juice. Enjoy!