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Orange, olive oil and thyme cake recipe

Orange, olive oil and thyme cake recipe

36 ratings

This cake is a real show-stopper, the perfect bake for Mother's Day. Sweet oranges bring a citrusy hit, while the thyme gives this bake a savoury twist. See method

  • Serves Serves 12
  • 40 mins to prepare and 35 mins to cook, 15 mins to cool
  • 626 calories / serving
  • Freezable
  • Vegetarian


  • 125g unsalted butter, softened, plus extra for greasing
  • 300g caster sugar
  • 200ml extra-virgin olive oil
  • 5 medium eggs
  • 120ml low-fat Greek-style yogurt
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 250g plain flour
  • 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 90g semolina or fine cornmeal
  • 90g ground almonds
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp chopped fresh thyme leaves, plus extra whole leaves for decorating
  • 3 oranges, zested and juiced
  • 300g icing sugar, sieved
  • 1 small orange, for decorating

Each serving contains

  • Energy

  • Fat

    34g 48%
  • Saturates

    9g 47%
  • Sugars

    55g 61%
  • Salt

    0.9g 15%

of the reference intake
Carbohydrate 78.2g Protein 8g Fibre 1.7g


  1. Grease and line 2 x 20cm loose- based round cake tins. Preheat the oven to gas 4, 180°C, fan 160°C.
  2. Put the sugar and oil in a large bowl and beat with an electric whisk for 1 min until smooth. Add the eggs, yogurt and vanilla and beat for another 1 min.
  3. Put the flour, bicarbonate of soda, baking powder, semolina, almonds and salt in a separate bowl. Gradually pour in the egg and yogurt mix and stir well to combine. Add the thyme and the zest and juice from 2 oranges, then mix until it becomes a thick, wet batter.
  4. Divide between the 2 cake tins and bake for 35 mins or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. Cool in the tin for 15 mins, then turn out onto  a wire rack to cool completely.
  5. In a large bowl, whisk the icing sugar with the butter until soft and  fluffy, then add the zest and juice of the third orange. Mix until smooth and creamy.
  6. Once the cakes have cooled, remove the paper. Carefully cut off the rounded tops (you could reserve them for a trifle), then cut each of the cakes in half horizontally. Place 1 layer on a serving plate, spoon 2 tbsp icing on top and smooth right to the edges. Continue layering in the same way with the remaining 3 layers, finishing with a base layer of cake, bottom-side up, for a clean, straight top.
  7. Using a clean and slightly warmed palette knife, smooth the remaining icing across the top and sides of the cake to produce a ‘naked’ finish with the cake showing through in places. It will feel as if you don’t have enough icing but keeping the icing minimal achieves this look.
  8. Pare thin layers of orange peel from the final orange and cut into thin strips. Scatter around the edges to form a wreath effect, then scatter the thyme leaves in the same way to finish.

See more Baking recipes

Freezing and defrosting guidelines

In order to enjoy optimum flavour and quality, frozen items are best used within 2 months of their freezing date. For more tips on freezing and defrosting food, read our article Love Your Freezer.

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