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Why Did My Chocolate Olive Oil Cake Collapse?

Asked by rgknyc. Answered on 20th October 2023

Full question

I have made the Chocolate Olive Oil cake a few times. The most recent time when I made the cake it collapsed and was more like the consistency of a fudgy brownie with a harder crust. Prior to this recent event I used regular granulated sugar and a high quality cacao powder. Each time the cake had risen to a normal height and the consistency was moist but a bit crumbly. This last time, however, I used the caster sugar you recommend and used a super fine, high quality dark chocolate cocoa powder. Can you help me understand which of those substitutions may have contributed to the collapse?

Also, if I wanted to make smaller cakes using 2 inch deep 4.5 inch spring pans, how many pans would I need in order to utilize the full recipe?

Finally, can I freeze this cake?

Chocolate Olive Oil Cake
Photo by Petrina Tinslay
Chocolate Olive Oil Cake
By Nigella
  • 14
  • 2

Our answer

Nigella's Chocolate Olive Oil Cake (from NIGELLISIMA) can be made in gluten-free form, with ground almonds (almond meal or almond flour) or with regular flour. We are not sure which version is being made here, but to us a cake that has a hard crust but collapses and appears to have an uncooked centre is usually more of an indication of an oven that is too hot. Gluten-free cakes will tend to sink slightly as they cool (and you can see this in the photograph) and will be slightly crumbly. But if it is fudgy and brownie-like then it is probably an issue with the oven temperature. Check the temperature (and adjust for a fan oven, if necessary) and for a regular oven make sure that the cake is baked on the centre shelf. The cake is done when a cake tester inserted into the centre comes out clean or with a couple of damp cake crumbs on it. If you are unsure then wait until the cake tester comes out clean.

In theory 2 x 4.5-inch pans will only need half the quantity of batter of a 9-inch pan. So you would need 4 x 4.5-inch pans to utilise a full recipe of the batter. However, as we have not tried this ourselves, we are unable to guarantee the results. The cake can be frozen. Wrap tightly in a double layer of food wrap and a layer of foil and freeze for up to 3 months. To thaw, unwrap and leave at room temperature for about 3 hours.

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