Olive oil in cake… who would’ve thought that this would be even better than butter? This keto and gluten-free upside down (inverted) orange pound cake is impossibly moist and fluffy, thanks to the butter for EVOO swap.
The crumb on this keto upside down olive oil cake is still as tight you’d expect from a regular pound cake with butter, but when you take a bite, it feels completely different. It’s just so tender, so delicate. Sooo moist. You can’t really taste much olive oil – just a hint of aroma, that matches the orange beautifully.
Why substitute butter for oil in cakes
Baking with liquid oils such as olive or avocado oil makes the cake seem to last longer fresh and moist than when using butter or coconut oil. Saturated fats, which are solid at room temperature, make for rich baked goods but, after cooling down, the fats re-solidify.
This explains why butter cakes – such as pound cakes – can feel drier and heavier. Cakes baked with liquid oils are lighter and have an almost juicy characteristic, tasting incredibly moist.
Tips for baking with olive oil
- Use a good quality extra virgin olive oil. You’ll be using a generous amount, and the flavor and texture of your cake will depend on it.
- When using olive oil instead of butter, generally you should use about 25% less oil than the butter equivalent. For example, use 3/4 cup of oil instead of 1 cup of butter.
- Reduce, or even remove all of the other liquids from the recipe. Think milk, buttercream, water and liquid flavors that are added in a larger amount, like tea, coffee and fruit juices. The olive oil already behaves like a liquid, add more liquids and you risk ending with a runny batter. For this keto recipe, instead of using orange juice, I used orange extract and zest. This way, we get all the orange flavor without the extra sugar and carbs and keep the batter from getting too wet.
- Oil can’t be aerated by creaming like butter, where often you can just beat it together with sugar for leavening and call it a day. When making an oil based cake you can’t escape adding baking powder. And, as this recipe has an acidic component (yogurt), I decided to take advantage of it by including a little bit of baking soda as well to improve the rise. Cakes baked with heavier keto or gluten-free flours, such as almond flour or coconut flour, can always use some leavening help for extra fluffiness.
How to make keto orange & olive oil cake
Start with the inverted cake topping
Using a hemisphere cake pan for this keto orange and olive oil cake gave it a unique, planetary look that I’m just in love with! This is definitely a summer cake, which will grace your table like a golden, cheery ray of sunshine. See how happy this cake looks!
Decorating this keto upside down cake is just one extra fun step in the pan preparation, and when you turn the cake BAM! The cake is done. It’s not only upside down, it’s from finish to start. In a sense. Because you decorate the cake before the cake is even baked. It’s almost like time travel!
- Butter the pan with a very thick layer of room temperature butter (or ghee). Dust the buttered pan with an even layer of sweetener. Use a fine metal mesh or sieve to sprinkle the sweetener uniformly.
- Wash the orange (or oranges – see below). Using a grater, remove the peel of the orange gently. You just need the orange colored part, and 1 orange should make around one tablespoon of zest.
- Using a very sharp knife, slice the orange in thin slices, as uniformly as possible. Try not to squeeze the orange while holding it, to keep the shape round.
- Blot dry the orange slices, by pressing one by one in between folded sheets of paper towel. Make them as dry as you can.
- Carefully arrange the dried orange slices on top of the buttered and sugared pan. If you want no gaps of cake peeking through in between the slices, you’ll have to overlap them, by covering about 1/3 of a slice with a new one. This is because the slices will shrink down quite a bit while in the oven. My cake came out with a lot of peekaboo even though the slices were really crammed in together. To get a full coverage effect, you’ll need 2 oranges instead of one. Either way you arrange, your cake is gonna look beautiful!
After you are satisfied with your slices arrangement, evenly cover the orange slices with some more powdered erythritol. Set it aside, and start preparing the upside down keto cake batter.
Before pouring the batter over the slices, have a look at them. Although you squeezed out the most of the juice, the sweetener might have made the orange slices “sweat” out a bit more liquid. If that’s the case, just carefully press down on them with a paper towel to absorb the remaining juice.
How to mix the cake batter
In a medium bowl, whisk together all the dry ingredients, except for salt. You can also skip this step, and just sieve them all in on top of the wet mixture later on.
In a larger bowl, add the olive oil, keto sweetener and salt. Whisk them together for 2-3 minutes. You can either use a standing mixer or an electric hand mixer with a whisk attachment, or just a regular balloon whisk if you’re feeling particularly energetic.
Then add the eggs, one by one, whisking very well after each addition. Continue mixing for 3 more minutes, until the mixture is pale and foamy.
Add the yogurt, orange extract and orange peel, and mix it for a minute more.
Drop the dry mix onto the wet mix, or sieve it all in, and combine it all very well using a spatula. The mixture should be well homogenized. The batter is thick and very shiny!
Pour the batter gently over the orange arrangement, and massage the batter down with the spatula to remove air bubbles. Careful not to dislodge the orange slices below.
How to unmold an upside down cake
After baking, place the keto oil cake on a cooling rack until it’s comfortable enough for you to touch the pan, at least 20 minutes. The cake should be turned upside down while it’s still warm, to prevent the orange slices from sticking to the bottom as they cool.
If destiny has prevented you from turning the cake while still warm, dip the bottom of the pan inside a larger container with hot water to warm up and re-melt the sweetener a little, which will make the unmolding easier.
Substituting oat fiber for pea protein
My husband asked what I wanted for my birthday, and I said:
A cake! But a cake that you make, with love, not a bought cake. Anyone can buy a cake. Only people who love make a cake.
He agreed to demonstrate his love for me on my special day by baking me a keto cake 🥰 And when he asked which cake, I promptly directed him to this blog post 😂 It’s one of my favorites, very festive looking without much fuss, and reasonably easy. So I’m nice!
Thing is, while he was mixing the ingredients, he asked me where the oat fiber was. Oops… It had run out a while ago and I didn’t replenish. As I’d have to ship it in, we had to find a replacement. I started looking through the pantry, wondering what could be a good oat fiber substitution for this upside down keto cake. Solution: Pea protein powder.
Yes, the oil cake came out wonderfully! Pea protein powder has a very similar texture to oat fiber, you can’t really tell much difference in taste, and if you are looking to squeeze protein into everything to hit your macros – there’s an idea for you!
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