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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 78 Others have said

  • The cake is amazing and popular with all. With just almonds it’s gluten and lactose free. It does sink as you can see in the picture, however I put a forest looking layer of upward pointing raspberries on top. Everyone loves it.

    Posted by Colin1665 on 15th January 2020
  • The perfect flourless butter free cake. It's a family/guest favourite. Thanks for sharing.

    Posted by Rennie123 on 12th January 2020
  • Made this for NYE party, followed recipe exactly but used a smaller tin (7inch) and baked it a little longer. Was absolutely gorgeous. A bit more adulty and not chocolatey in a fudge cake sort of way but very light and perfectly not too sweet. I was taken aback by how light it was considering it's an almond cake. Perfect with some raspberries, doesn't need anything else. Highly recommended.

    Posted by snigsdig on 3rd January 2020
  • I baked this cake and took it to work for my co-workers. The use of olive oil definitely gives this cake a depth of rich flavor. Everyone loved it!

    Posted by ursula.marie on 18th July 2019
  • This cake is irresistibly good!!! I would not take anyone's word for a gluten free cake being THIS GOOD! SO I had to try it myself. Passed with flying colours. It definitely goes into my regular recipe. But then all of Nigella Lawson's recipes go into my recipe book! They are infallible. Thank you for this delicious piece of heavenly goodness. YUMMMMM!

    Posted by drnehaanand on 11th July 2019
  • I've now made this three times in as many weeks. It disappears so quickly! My family absolutely loves it! This is now my go-to chocolate-fix recipe. I have some fresh strawberries and heavy cream in the fridge, so that's tonight's accoutrements! Mmmm..........This is also my new-ish go-to website for recipes. Haven't steered me wrong yet!

    Posted by NolaArseGal on 13th June 2019
  • I made this recipe more out of curiosity than any other reason. In my experience, gluten-free cakes have been dry and heavy. I was shocked (yes, SHOCKED) at how good this cake was. It is now my “go-to” cake recipe. Absolutely delicious!

    Posted by reubanks on 29th May 2019
  • Made this for a dinner party. It was absolutely delicious. Used ground almonds and was perfect as a pudding with raspberries and creme fraiche. Guests loved it and wanted the recipe.

    Posted by Evie66 on 19th May 2019
  • Simply the best! I'm a proficient cook but a novice baker. Made this cake tonight for a family dinner and it was SO good. Light and moist with a deep chocolate flavor. I was skeptical of the olive oil but wanted to try it as it's certainly healthier than equivalent amount of butter. Everyone loved it and it couldn't be easier. One note for those in US is that UK large eggs are equal to XL here. I used Extra Virgin Greek olive oil

    Posted by ldeitell on 14th January 2019
  • This is the healthiest scrumptious chocolate cake I ever had. Thanks Nigella. I sprinkled few roasted almonds flakes to add some crunch. It was yum. Bless you!

    Posted by Abhinavraj9 on 7th November 2018
  • This is the most amazing cake ever! I made a few alternative choices: I used raw cacao powder, not cocoa; I used coconut sugar, blended to make finer; I used plain gluten free flour plus gluten free self raising flour (1tbspn). AMAZING!

    Posted by MikelaAmrita on 8th August 2018
  • I made this cake and heavily reduced the sugar (just 30g) because I have diabetes but still wanted a delicious chocolately dessert. The result was a moist delicious cake bordering on savoury due to the olive oil, and I love having it with some sour cream. My husband who is not diabetic has his slice with a scoop of ice cream, he loves the slightly nutty texture and was surprised that there was no flour!

    Posted by Stefni on 8th August 2018
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