Tuscan lemon cake

Dairy-free cake moist and full of flavour!

This delicious cake is the perfect finish to any meal. It’s light – almost like an angel food cake thanks to the whipped egg whites – but with tons more flavour. Because it uses olive oil instead of butter, it’s also great for anyone who’s lactose intolerant. The cake’s bright, lemony notes make it the ideal backdrop for garnishes such as fresh fruit and a drizzle of top-quality flavoured balsamic vinegar – chocolate balsamic is fantastic for this. If you’d like to serve this cake warm, it’s delicious if you grill thick slices on a hot barbeque for about 2 – 3 minutes per side until lightly toasted and then serve with berries and balsamic.


  • 3/4 cup (185 mL) mild-tasting, good quality olive oil
  • 1 large lemon
  • 1 cup (250 mL) cake flour*
  • 5 large eggs, separated, reserving 1 white for another use
  • 3/4 cup (185 mL) white sugar, divided
  • pinch salt
  • 2 tablespoons (30 mL) white sugar
  • 2 cups (500 mL) sliced ripe strawberries or fresh raspberries
  • 1/2 cup (125 mL) chocolate (or other flavoured) balsamic vinegar

*Substitute cake flour with 3/4 cup (95 grams) + 2 tablespoons (15 grams) of all purpose flour, sifted together with 2 tablespoons (30 mL) cornstarch.


  • Preheat oven to 350F with rack in the middle. Line the bottom of a 9 inch (20 cm) springform pan with parchment paper (cut it bigger than the pan and then clamp it into place with the sides of the pan). Lightly grease the sides of the pan and the parchment lining with a little bit of olive oil.
  • With a fine grater, zest lemon (you want about 2 teaspoons (10 mL) of zest). Whisk this together with the flour (or flour/cornstarch mixture). Halve the zested lemon, then squeeze and reserve 1 1/2 tablespoons (22 mL) fresh lemon juice.
  • In a large bowl with a stand or electric mixer, beat together the 5 egg yolks and 1/2 cup (125 mL) of the sugar at high speed until thick and pale, about 3 minutes. Reduce speed to medium and add olive oil and reserved lemon juice, beating until just combined (don’t worry if it looks a little bit curdled – it’s not!). Using a large spoon, gently stir in the flour and lemon zest mixture until just combined.
  • Beat 4 egg whites with a pinch of salt in another large bowl with cleaned beaters at medium-high speed until it is nice and foamy, then add remaining 1/4 cup (62 mL) sugar a little at a time, beating continuously until egg whites begin to form and hold soft peaks, about 3 minutes.
  • Gently fold one third of the beaten egg whites into the egg yolk, sugar and flour mixture to lighten at first, then fold in remaining whites gently but thoroughly.
  • Transfer batter to prepared springform pan and gently tap pan against the countertop to remove any air bubbles.  Sprinkle the top of the batter evenly with remaining 2 tablespoons (30 mL) of sugar. This helps to promote even rising.
  • Bake until puffed and golden and a wooden pick or skewer inserted in centre of cake comes out clean, about 45 minutes. Cool cake in pan on a rack 10 minutes, then run a thin knife around edge of pan and remove side of springform pan. Cool cake to room temperature, about 1 1/2 – 2 hours. Remove bottom of pan and peel off parchment, then transfer cake to a serving plate.
  • When serving, garnish each slice with sliced strawberries (or other fruit of your choice) and a drizzle of the flavoured balsamic vinegar.

Serves 8 – 10.

Author: Paula Roy

Welcome to my kitchen! I love simple dishes prepared with passion and am always seeking to find new methods to make food as fun and flavourful as possible. If you enjoy this space be sure to check out my Rogers TV Ottawa cooking show, Paula Roy's Favourite Foods, available on local cable, streaming and a dedicated playlist on Rogers TV's YouTube channel.

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