Chocolate olive oil cake

I hope you had a wonderful Mother's Day!  I had a lovely, lovely day.  It's been seven years but I can still hardly believe I'm a mom and get to celebrate Mother's Day as such.  Now, here we are in the midst of May already...
Last week, I made a cake for my family and I to snack on.  I had never made (nor do I remember eating) an olive oil cake before so when I saw Nigella's chocolate olive oil cake in her latest book, I thought I'd give it a try.  I think what's held me back from making olive oil cake is the very idea itself; I had qualms about olive oil and cake together.  I really wasn't sure the additional combination with chocolate was the best idea either but since I do love chocolate, I figured that if all else failed, the chocolate flavor would hopefully carry me through.

The result was nothing overly dramatic (which I'm happy about).  This cake turned out to be extremely moist - thanks to that olive oil.  Plus, almond meal instead of flour (though you could use flour if you wanted to)  made for what Nigella calls a "squidgy" interior and I think that sums up the texture exactly.  I'm not sure I would've been able to tell the cake was made with olive oil, rather than vegetable or canola oil, if I hadn't made it myself.  It adds a little bit of a fruity background but using a mild, ordinary (as opposed to extra-virgin) olive oil makes for a more neutral impact.  I think that's a good thing.  Despite the somewhat rich texture, this cake is actually pretty light, without dairy and with just cocoa powder contributing to the chocolate flavor.
Since I cook with olive oil all the time, I don't necessarily need to incorporate it into my baking.  But this cake did finally satisfy my curiosity about it.  It was a fun experiment that resulted in an enjoyable everyday cake.  The one thing I wish I'd done was to substitute some of the vanilla extract with almond extract in this cake.  I think that could have been good given the almond meal and how nicely almond goes with chocolate.
I am still enthralled with strawberries and picked up some more the other day.  I had some with this cake and instead of using whipped cream, I was oh-so-good and topped my slice with some Greek yogurt instead (boy, have I changed!)  But my son will tell you that the cake is far better eaten with vanilla ice.  


Before getting to the recipe, one last word on Mother's Day.  I was spoiled with gifts and I want to thank my little guy (who I call my "big guy", interchangeably : ) for the handmade pictures and cards, a few of which are pictured below.  They were truly my favorite gifts!



Recipe:

Chocolate Olive Oil Cake
From Nigella Lawson

- Makes one 9-inch round cake - 

2/3 cup regular olive oil, plus more for pan
6 tablespoons high-quality unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon instant espresso powder (optional; I added)
1/2 cup boiling water
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract (I think substituting half with almond extract could work well also)
1 1/2 cups almond meal (or 3/4 cups plus 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour)
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
Pinch of salt
1 cup superfine sugar
3 large eggs

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.  Lightly grease a 9-inch springform pan with olive oil and line the bottom with a round of parchment paper.

Sift cocoa powder into a small bowl, add espresso powder (if using), and whisk in the boiling water.  Add vanilla extract, then set aside to cool slightly.

In another bowl, whisk together the almond meal, baking soda, and salt. 

Add sugar, olive oil, and eggs into the bowl of a standmixer fitted with the paddle attachment.  Beat on medium-high speed for about 3 minutes, until mixture is thick and aerated.  On low-speed, add cocoa mixture until combined.  Then, add the dry ingredients and mix until just combined, scraping down the sides of the bowl.

Pour the runny batter into the prepared cake pan.  Bake for 40-45 minutes, or until the sides of the cake are set but the center is still a bit runny.  A cake tester should come out with just a bit of crumbs attached.

Remove cake from the oven and let cool for about 10 minutes on a wire rack.  Remove the sides of the springform pan and let cool completely or serve cake warm with vanilla ice cream (or other accompaniment, if you wish).





34 comments:

  1. I have this cookbook and have made this cake for a GF guest before! Your cake looks prettier than mine though :) So glad you had a happy mother's day! You deserve it!

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    1. I'm sure your cake looked terrific, Marie! Thank you!

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  2. I haven't tried baking with olive oil ... yet - thanks for being brave - I must give this a try. Glad you had a great mother's day - I did too! Greek yogurt sounds perfect on top. Good one!

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    1. I'm so glad you had a nice Mother's Day, Tricia!

      There are so many things out there to try, isn't there?! It can feel a bit overwhelming so I just try not to think about it too much. I saw this cake and it sounded good. The result was not too dramatic. I do wonder how it'd be made with flour instead of the almond meal...

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  3. So glad to hear you had a lovely Mother's Day. :) This cake looks AH-MAZING! Love the idea of chocolate and olive oil together. Great post Monica!

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    1. Thank you, Anne. Mother's Day is a treat!

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  4. I have seen many cakes using olive oil, but yet have to try to bake one...I like the deep dark color of this chocolate cake...looks delicious and yes, I would love mine with ice cream and strawberries.
    Have a lovely week Monica :)

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    1. I'd seen it many times too, Juliana! I supposed it's not altogether too, too different than making a cake with vegetable oil. Enjoy your week!

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  5. Happy belated Mother's Day! I almost always use olive oil in my cakes now in place of vegetable oil...so many more health benefits! This cake looks gorgeous! Simple and decadent.

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    1. Thanks so much, Joanne! That's so interesting about you subbing olive oil for the veg oil! I'm glad to hear it.

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  6. You beat me to it! I wanted to make this, as i love regular (non-chocolate) olive oil cakes, and i knew i would love this - you're right; almonds and chocolate always go so well together. "Squidgy" is perhaps my favorite Nigella word, and i can't think of a better one to describe things with any sort of nut-ground flour. Beautiful! Happy Mother's Day. belated (because i can just never seem to get my comments caught up. :)

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    1. Squidgy really is the perfect word for the texture, isn't it? Nigella has a way that just gets right to it. One of many things I love about her. Hope you had a great Mother's Day! The sun was shining here!

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  7. I recently had a chocolate olive oil cake and it was most intriguingly coated with a lash slosh of olive oil! I can imagine baking it in like this and pouring some olive oil over would really bring out the flavour! :)

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    1. Wow! Sounds intriguing for sure! I guess it's a bit like when I first saw balsamic vinegar being used in dessert. It's amazing the combinations that work though it sounds crazy at first. Thanks for stopping by, Lorraine... (I'm totally going to accidentally call you Nigella!)

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  8. Aw, I love the cards from your son :) And this cake looks like a perfect way to celebrate Mother's Day...honestly, from what I hear about how big a job it is to be a mom, you should really bake this up for yourself on a weekly basis ;) Happy belated Mother's Day!!!

    P.S. we officially got a house so we'll be neighbors!

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    1. Oh my goodness, Amy! Congratulations!! I'm so glad the house-hunting is done...that is very exciting news! I'll probably bump into you at a Stop 'n Shop and think: "hmmm...that lady looks familiar!" lol! : )

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  9. Oh...I have never tried an olive oil cake before. This chocolate cake looks very decadent. I guess I'll have to give this one a try. :) Oh...those are some nice homemade card for your Mother's Day celebration. I adore handmade cards and gifts too. :)

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    1. It is kind of decadent but light at the same time. I wasn't sure olive oil and chocolate was going to be a good match but it isn't all that different from using regular oil for cake, I think. I hope you had a great Mother's Day. I definitely love the handwritten notes and cards...they're the best.

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  10. I made olive oil brownies last year and now am intrigued with baking with olive oil! This cake looks lovely. I agree with your son though, I think I would prefer it with vanilla ice cream ;)

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    1. lol! I've come to like plain Greek yogurt, which I never imagined would be the case (so not me), but it ain't no ice cream! : ) I'd gladly try olive oil brownies.

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  11. That looks beautiful. I love almond meal. I've never used olive oil in my baking before but would love to give it a try.

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    1. Thanks, Trishie! I'm a big fan of almond meal, and crusts and desserts with nuts.

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  12. Gorgeous cake! I love your suggestion of swapping out the vanilla for almond extract. It totally makes sense since there is almond meal in the cake as well. I've heard great things about this cake and will need to try it soon!

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    1. I had intended to do it but totally forgot! I love any excuse to use almond extract...love that fragrance! : )

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  13. I never thought of adding olive oil to a chocolate cake before. It's a great idea, and I will be trying it for the next one. Thanks for sharing!

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    1. Yeah, it sounds kind of weird at first but so do many, many things! Thanks for stopping by and commenting!

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  14. Gorgeous! You keep making things I have been interested in trying, like olive oil in baking. :)

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    1. Thanks, Alyssa. You keep making a lot of things I want to eat, too! Keeping up with food blogs, coupled with magazines and cooking shows, makes for a lot of cravings...

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  15. Since I started to pay more attention about baking in general (before I didn't bake sweets at all), I realized there are many cakes made of olive oil. I didn't know there is such thing existed before and I don't think I've tried one (unless someone made and brought to a potluck etc). This chocolate olive oil cake looks so light and delicious and I'm definitely curious to try myself!

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    1. Yes, there are so many things to try. I am such a creature of habit - it's chocolate (almost) everything for me so I have lots to try too! : )

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  16. Replies
    1. It was fun to try. Thanks, Katrina!

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  17. Glad you had a lovely mother's day and your handmade cards and presents look so sweet! Your cake looks gorgeous too, especially with the strawberries and greek yogurt!

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    1. Thanks! The homemade cards and pictures were adorable : )

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