How to Make Tarragon Olive Oil Cake

If you haven’t tried olive oil cake yet, then you are severely missing out. It is a moist cake that lends itself perfectly from anything to breakfast in the morning with tea, an afternoon pick-me-up with coffee, or even as a birthday cake. We stopped by Both Hands Baking Co. in Austin, TX, to see how they make their olive oil cake in our square porcelain baking dish. With the addition of tarragon in the cake and a tarragon simple syrup applied after baking to keep the cake moist and decadent, this olive oil cake has a beautiful earthy flavor that will be your new go-to recipe.

Find the recipe below!

*some measurements are in grams, as this is the most accurate way of baking. If you don’t have a scale, we highly recommend purchasing one; it will come in handy in the future! We have gone ahead and translated the grams, but please note that due to the exact precision of weighing measurements, the conversions are not 100% accurate. 

both hands baking co

Tarragon Olive Oil Cake - Serves 8

By Maddie Corliss and Gab Owermohle from Both Hands Baking Co. 

Tarragon Olive Oil Cake Ingredients:

  • Sugar - 150 G (¾ cup)
  • Tarragon - 3 G (from 3 sprigs)
  • 1 lemon
  • 2 eggs 
  • Buttermilk - 240 ml (1 cup)
  • Olive Oil - 180 ml (¾ cup)
  • Lemon Juice - 1 Tbsp
  • Kosher Salt - ¾ tsp 
  • All-Purpose Flour - 190 G (1 ⅓ cup)
  • Baking Powder - 1 ½ tsp
  • Baking Soda - ¼ tsp
  • Sprigs of tarragon, to garnish
  • Lemon zest, to garnish

Tarragon Simple Syrup Ingredients:

  • Water - 100 G (½ cup)
  • Sugar - 100 G (½ cup)
  • 3 large sprigs of tarragon

Glaze Ingredients:

  • Powdered Sugar - 100 G (1 cup)
  • Heavy Cream - 3-5 Tbsp, depending on preferred thickness

Step by Step Instructions: 


  1. Preheat the oven to 350.
  2. Blitz the sugar and tarragon in a food processor until the tarragon was broken down and the sugar has a green hue to it.
  3. Transfer the tarragon sugar to the bowl of an electric mixer and zest the lemon into it. Add the eggs, and using the whisk attachment, whisk for 1 minute. 
  4. After 1 minute, the egg mixture should be slightly paler in color. Slowly stream in the olive oil, buttermilk, and lemon juice, until everything is fully emulsified. 
  5. In a separate bowl, combine the salt, flour, baking powder, and baking soda. In two additions, add the dry ingredients to the wet, scraping down the sides of the bowl with each addition. 
  6. If there are still some dry parts on the side or bottom of the bowl, use a rubber spatula to fully incorporate, but be careful not to over mix!
  7. Pour the batter into an 8x8 baking dish and bake for 30-40 minutes and until a cake tester comes out clean. 
simple syrup for cake

Tarragon Simple Syrup

  1. Combine the water and sugar in a 2 QT Saucepan over medium heat. Allow the sugar to completely dissolve and for the mixture to come up to a light simmer. 
  2. Add the tarragon and simmer for 3 minutes. 
  3. Turn off the heat and allow the syrup to cool completely. Remove the sprigs. 
  4. Using a pastry or basting brush, brush the warm cake with the syrup. It’s best to do it when the cake is warm, but can be done once the cake is cooled. 
tarragon olive oil cake


  1. Place the powdered sugar in a bowl and slowly whisk in the heavy cream, tablespoon by tablespoon until the desired thickness is reached. 
  2. Wait to apply the glaze until the cake is entirely cooled. 
  3. Garnish with lemon zest and tarragon leaves. Enjoy!

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