Fran Costigan’s Orange Almond Olive Oil Cake

Pastry chef Fran Costigan specializes in delicious dairy-free desserts. We’re happy to be able to add another one of her creations to our recipe collection.

Photo by Linda Long

Costigan— a culinary instructor at the Natural Gourmet Institute and the Institute of Culinary Education in New York — e-mailed us a fabulous orange almond cake that uses Arbequina extra virgin olive oil. Our kitchen was filled with the wonderful aroma of toasted almonds while we baked it over the weekend.

Almonds and olive oil are a natural combination. California and other olive-oil producing regions are home to almond trees.

“With a crisp exterior and creamy crumb, this tastes remarkably like a cake I enjoyed in Italy,” she said. It’s based on a recipe in her cookbook, More Great Good Dairy Free Desserts Naturally (Book Publishing Co., 2006).

There are zero eggs or dairy. “You’ll never miss them,” she assured us. Any baker will appreciate one of the advantages of a vegan recipe: you don’t have to crack and separate any eggs.

Fran also said the recipe “is one of the easiest ever,” and that it’s important to cook the cake the full 45 minutes until  “quite golden brown, even quite dark.” As a final touch, she suggests topping each slice with some chopped almonds and a sprinkle of coarse sea salt.

Fran said EVOO meshes well with her baking. It’s a healthful fat, she noted. Her recipes don’t use butter at all.  So they’re all suitable for vegans, people with dairy intolerances, or those wanting to limit their cholesterol.

Fran also likes the flavor component extra virgin olive oil delivers, saying the various types of EVOO offer a range of flavors from “extremely subtle to assertive.”

“For most baked items, I prefer fruity Arbequina, which seems to enhance the sweetness in the dessert” Fran told us.

You can learn more about Fran and her delicious vegan recipes at her Web site, There, you can also get details about her cooking classes, including the her vegan baking “Boot Camp.”

And if you want to see more baking recipes that use EVOO, check out our latest eNewsletter. It’s devoted to the topic.

Bon appétit,

Claude S. Weiller
Vice President of Sales & Marketing
California Olive Ranch