One can never have too many chocolate cake recipes. Or too many chocolate cakes, for that matter. Though I am partial to buttercream and ganache, I thought this year, for my birthday, I’d eschew that and settle for something a little more ‘adult’ and pared down.
But oh-so-delicious! I was actually thinking about making a layer cake, or a Nutella cheesecake, but then I was flipping channels on TV and saw Nigella Lawson whip this up on her new-(ish) series Nigellissima. It’s so easy, so dense and so delicious.
The olive oil makes it moist and rich, with a dense crumb. This is the kind of cake that does not crumble too much, so you don’t have to keep dusting yourself off. You can go ahead, fork off a large morsel, and dive in- because once you are done with that first bite, you will want to take larger and larger forkfuls!
My only worry with this cake was the olive oil itself- I thought it might overpower the taste of the cocoa and make the cake taste like, well, olive oil. But it doesn’t. There is a faint hint of it, yes- but the pinch of salt, almonds and cocoa balance it out quite well, lending the cake a sophisticated flavour. (I’m not trying to be a cake snob, but ‘sophisticated’ is honestly the best way to describe it! This cake does not have a kiddie, cupcake-with-sprinkles kind of taste…though even that is a wonderful flavour.)
I tweaked the recipe as usual. I used equal parts almond meal and all-purpose flour instead of going flourless like Nigella. Next time I’ll use only almond meal and see how it turns out!
CHOCOLATE & OLIVE OIL CAKE (From Nigellissima.)
- 50 g cocoa powder, sifted
- 125 ml boiling water
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 75 g flour
- 75 g almond meal/ground almonds
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
- A pinch of salt
- 150 ml regular olive oil (plus more for greasing)
- 200 g caster sugar
- 3 large eggs
- Preheat oven to 170°C. Grease a 9-inch cake tin and line the base with parchment paper and set aside.
- Sift the cocoa powder into a bowl. Whisk in the boiling water until you have a smooth, chocolatey, pourable paste with no lumps. Whisk in the vanilla extract, then set aside to cool a little.
- In another bowl, whisk together the almond meal, flour, salt, and baking powder and set aside.
- In a large bowl, whisk the sugar, olive oil and eggs for about 3 minutes on high speed until you have a pale, fluffy, thickened foam.
- Turn the speed down a little and pour in the cocoa mixture. When everything has come together, add in the flour mixture and fold until no streaks of flour remain in the batter.
- Scrape down the sides, stir once again to combine, then pour the batter into the cake tin.
- Bake for 40-45 minutes or until the sides are set and the middle looks slightly damp. (Nigella says “A cake tester should come up mainly clean but with a few sticky chocolate crumbs clinging to it.”)
- Allow the cake to cool before serving. I served mine completely cooled, but you can also serve it when it is warm and a little custard-y in the center.