Limoncello Cake

For someone who doesn’t/can’t drink alcohol, I seem to really enjoy the flavor it imparts on dishes and desserts. So here is another alcohol cake. Well… sort of.

Before I begin, let me clarify just how low my tolerance for alcohol is. Whilst most people probably won’t be able to feel the effects of the alcohol in this cake, a slice left me feeling like I’m halfway towards a hangover.

With only 1/4 of a cup’s worth of spirit in this cake, it is by no means a booze cake. After all, chances are that after 1 hour in the oven, 70% of the alcohol would have evaporated (I’m pulling this figure out of thin air, but sounds like a rather believable number, no?)

So before I get onto the recipe, let me just go a few steps back as to where this recipe came from. I needed to make a cake that would feed an alcohol loving crowd for an office event, and after exploring various cake recipes online, I stumbled upon Food52’s genius olive oil cake recipe. And honestly, olive oil cake just sounds great doesn’t it? Well, if you don’t think so, make this cake and tell me what you think of it.

However, whilst theirs creates a orange flavored cake, this one will fill your kitchen with the fresh summery scent of lemons instead. The grassy undertones of the olive oil perfectly complements the light refreshing citrus note in this cake and I love how the crackling crunchy crust contrasts against the moist crumb. I know, how odd is it for a cake to have a crunch? But this one has a nice crackle to it. 

If you can’t find a reason to make this cake, make it just to satisfy your curiosity over a crackling crust on a cake.

Limoncello Cake

Adapted from Food52 Olive Oil Cake

What you’ll need

  • 400g sugar
  • 310g all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 280g extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 extra-large eggs
  • 325g milk
  • 60g limoncello
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 tbsp lemon zest (around 2 lemons worth)

Make it!

  1. Preheat your oven to 180°C (350°F). Butter a 9″ springform cake pan.
  2. In a bowl, mix together flour, salt, baking soda and baking powder. Set aside until needed.
  3. In another bowl, mix the zest of the lemons with the sugar and use your hands to give it a good mix by squeezing and rubbing the sugar and zest together with your hands until the zest starts to release it’s oil and the sugar becomes damp.
  4. In a big bowl (this is where we will be making the batter), whisk together the eggs with the olive oil until it emulsifies to form a cohesive mass (this will ensure the oil is well incorporated and doesn’t split, this step shouldn’t take more than 30 seconds to 1 min).
  5. Add the milk, lemon and limoncello. Whisk to combine.
  6. Add the sugar mixture and mix well.
  7. Add the flour mixture and mix until it comes together and there are no streaks of flour left.
  8. Transfer the batter to your prepared cake pan and bake for 1 hr – 1 hr 15 mins until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean.
  9. Rest the cake in the pan for 30 minutes and then remove the cake from the pan and let cool fully on a cooling rack.


  • The best way of storing this cake is to not cover the crust of this cake.
    Cover only the cut side and leave the crust uncovered to keep the crunchy crust.
  • If you want to store it in the fridge, bring it back to room temperature before serving. 



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