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More Nigella recipes

Chocolate Olive Oil Cake

by . Featured in NIGELLISSIMA
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Introduction

Although I first came up with this recipe because I had someone coming for supper who - genuinely - couldn't eat wheat or dairy, it is so meltingly good, I now make it all the time for those whose life and diet are not so unfairly constrained, myself included.

It is slightly heavier with the almonds - though not in a bad way - so if you want a lighter crumb, rather than a squidgy interior, and are not making the cake for the gluten-intolerant, then replace the 150g ground almonds / 1½ cups almond meal with 125g plain flour / ¾ cup plus 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour. This has the built-in bonus of making it perhaps more suitable for an everyday cake.

Made with the almonds, it has more of supper-party pudding feel about it and I love it still a bit warm, with some raspberries or some such on the side, as well as a dollop of mascarpone or ice cream.

For US cup measures, use the toggle at the top of the ingredients list.

Although I first came up with this recipe because I had someone coming for supper who - genuinely - couldn't eat wheat or dairy, it is so meltingly good, I now make it all the time for those whose life and diet are not so unfairly constrained, myself included.

It is slightly heavier with the almonds - though not in a bad way - so if you want a lighter crumb, rather than a squidgy interior, and are not making the cake for the gluten-intolerant, then replace the 150g ground almonds / 1½ cups almond meal with 125g plain flour / ¾ cup plus 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour. This has the built-in bonus of making it perhaps more suitable for an everyday cake.

Made with the almonds, it has more of supper-party pudding feel about it and I love it still a bit warm, with some raspberries or some such on the side, as well as a dollop of mascarpone or ice cream.

For US cup measures, use the toggle at the top of the ingredients list.

Chocolate Olive Oil Cake
Photo by Petrina Tinslay

Ingredients

Makes: 8-12 slices

Metric Cups
  • 150 millilitres regular olive oil (plus more for greasing)
  • 50 grams good-quality cocoa powder (sifted)
  • 125 millilitres boiling water
  • 2 teaspoons best vanilla extract
  • 150 grams ground almonds (or 125g plain flour / 3/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour)
  • ½ teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
  • 1 pinch of salt
  • 200 grams caster sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • ⅔ cup regular olive oil (plus more for greasing)
  • 6 tablespoons good-quality unsweetened cocoa (sifted)
  • ½ cup boiling water
  • 2 teaspoons best vanilla extract
  • 1½ cups almond meal (or 125g plain flour / 3/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour)
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 pinch of salt
  • 1 cup superfine sugar
  • 3 large eggs

Method

  1. Preheat your oven to 170°C/150°C Fan/gas mark 3/325ºF. Grease a 22 or 23 cm/ 9inch springform tin with a little oil and line the base with baking parchment.
  2. Measure and sift the cocoa powder into a bowl or jug and whisk in the boiling water until you have a smooth, chocolatey, still runny (but only just) paste. Whisk in the vanilla extract, then set aside to cool a little.
  3. In another smallish bowl, combine the ground almonds (or flour) with the bicarbonate of soda and pinch of salt.
  4. Put the sugar, olive oil and eggs into the bowl of a freestanding mixer with the paddle attachment (or other bowl and whisk arrangement of your choice) and beat together vigorously for about 3 minutes until you have a pale-primrose, aerated and thickened cream.
  5. Turn the speed down a little and pour in the cocoa mixture, beating as you go, and when all is scraped in you can slowly tip in the ground almond (or flour) mixture.
  6. Scrape down, and stir a little with a spatula, then pour this dark, liquid batter into the prepared tin. Bake for 40-45 minutes or until the sides are set and the very centre, on top, still looks slightly damp. A cake tester should come up mainly clean but with a few sticky chocolate crumbs clinging to it.
  7. Let it cool for 10 minutes on a wire rack, still in its tin, and then ease the sides of the cake with a small metal spatula and spring it out of the tin. Leave to cool completely or eat while still warm with some ice cream, as a pudding.
  1. Preheat your oven to 170°C/150°C Fan/gas mark 3/325ºF. Grease a 22 or 23 cm/ 9inch springform tin with a little oil and line the base with baking parchment.
  2. Measure and sift the unsweetened cocoa into a bowl or jug and whisk in the boiling water until you have a smooth, chocolatey, still runny (but only just) paste. Whisk in the vanilla extract, then set aside to cool a little.
  3. In another smallish bowl, combine the almond meal (or flour) with the baking soda and pinch of salt.
  4. Put the sugar, olive oil and eggs into the bowl of a freestanding mixer with the paddle attachment (or other bowl and whisk arrangement of your choice) and beat together vigorously for about 3 minutes until you have a pale-primrose, aerated and thickened cream.
  5. Turn the speed down a little and pour in the cocoa mixture, beating as you go, and when all is scraped in you can slowly tip in the ground almond (or flour) mixture.
  6. Scrape down, and stir a little with a spatula, then pour this dark, liquid batter into the prepared tin. Bake for 40-45 minutes or until the sides are set and the very centre, on top, still looks slightly damp. A cake tester should come up mainly clean but with a few sticky chocolate crumbs clinging to it.
  7. Let it cool for 10 minutes on a wire rack, still in its tin, and then ease the sides of the cake with a small metal spatula and spring it out of the tin. Leave to cool completely or eat while still warm with some ice cream, as a pudding.

Tell us what you think

What 91 Others have said

  • This cake is my new favorite! I replaced the olive oil with beetroot puree (to make it fat free) and it tasted fabulous! It was still moist and delicious! It's so healthy and no one can guess that it's gluten free! I haven even tried making it with other whole grain flours and it bakes so well everytime!

    Posted by Isha25 on 9th July 2020
  • This is our favorite gluten-free cholesterol-free super soft chocolate cake. Highly recommended - just note that it is made from almonds for anyone who is allergic. I would really suggest to rewrite the method clearly identifying the three separate mixes (the first two to prepare them and keep them aside) then fluffying up the third one. Then adding the second mix to the third one slowly eventually adding the first one. I’m sorry but reading through every time confuses me altogether I had to write my own!!

    Posted by WilliamT on 9th June 2020
  • So delish!!! And fluffy, best eaten hot

    Posted by Elodie25 on 23rd May 2020
  • Amazing! I needed to use up just the right amount of almond flour and this cake was easy and quick! Moist! Rich and not too sweet. It will not disappoint.

    Posted by Emotts on 15th May 2020
  • As a novice baker, I blew my family away with this cake. I replaced 200g of sugar with 50g of sugar and 3 tablespoons of triple zero stevia to make it lower carb. It was demolished enthusiastically.

    Posted by JDMont on 26th April 2020
  • Made it this morning. Absolutely loved it! It was a hit at home !! As flour is hard to buy at the moment, almond meal is easily available. And this chocolate cake wins hands down.

    Posted by Beccaboo_78 on 26th April 2020
  • Is it possible to bake this in a loaf tin?

    Posted by emmasarah34 on 23rd April 2020
  • As someone who bakes a lot and has always been a ‘Nigella Fan’, I have used this recipe a lot recently. With the awful pandemic hitting the world I have found buying flour difficult, but I’m pleased to say ground almonds are plentiful. This scrumptious cake is the perfect pick-me-up in these stressful times. My daughter who is a front-line nurse takes a cake in to share With her colleagues when working nights. Love to all in the NHS.

    Posted by CakeForTea on 21st April 2020
  • Everyone who's tried it agrees this is the perfect chocolate cake; better even than a conventional one. Moreishly soft and textured almond meal in the middle, but with an irresistible crumbly outer layer, and not too sweet. I like to spread a layer of sour cream or Philadelphia mixed with muscavodo, vanilla essence and cinnamon on top with a sprinkling of pomegranate seeds to make it look as good as it tastes.

    Posted by 33WNO on 16th April 2020
  • One of my go-to everyday chocolate cakes. Very versatile: works incredibly well also with semolina, using normal vegetable oil in a pinch for a less refined flavour, or substituting eggs with 'chia eggs' to make a vegan version (no need to whisk, double the leavening agent).

    Posted by Procrastibaking on 15th March 2020
  • I can’t believe how well this cake turned out! It’s absolutely delicious - soft, moist and flavourful!

    Posted by Leye-n on 24th January 2020
  • This is the best chocolate cake I’ve ever made, so moist and delicious. My first Nigella recipe ever. I’m hooked. What’s next??

    Posted by MLC15 on 19th January 2020
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