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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.

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.

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/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/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 52 Others have said

  • Wonderful recipe. I love using almond flour. A friend of mine made this first and shared the recipe with me. She adds a traditional ganache to it for an over the top dessert. I have been making a Paleo ganache and it's just awesome. I also sub Truvia sweetener for the sugar for my dietary concerns and it is still wonderful !

    Posted by NinaE57 on 29th June 2016
  • This is my go to gluten free recipe - so delicious and spongey unlike most GF cakes I've tried! Thanks for being a babe Nigella ❤️

    Posted by Kduff14 on 11th June 2016
  • Made this wonderful chocolate cake after reading all the comments..... Came out beautifully! My kids loved it with vanilla ice cream. I added 75g of cocoa powder and a couple of drops of Almond Essence (made it one tsp of vanilla) and it was simple, light and yummy. Thank you Nigella❤️

    Posted by Sabi01 on 8th June 2016
  • I've made this for family gatherings several times. It is always a hit - seriously chocolate without being too dense. Looks lovely with powdered sugar sprinkled over a doily.

    Posted by Maggieb02 on 7th June 2016
  • Just made this again and was heavenly. My recs: double the recipe to make two 9 in cakes. use the recommended amt of almond flour and recommended amt of regular flour. use just enough boiling water to make paste. halfway thru pouring batter add a sprinkling of chocolate chips, then sprinkle top layer with chocolate chips prior to baking. top with powdered sugar. would be great with fresh whipped cream. perfect!

    Posted by JLM from NYC on 15th February 2016
  • Love this cake, very easy to make. I made it a couple weeks ago for dinner at a friend's house (had to be gluten free or they would get sick) and they loved it. Its so good with a scoop of ice-cream and still warm.

    Posted by sofiacabral on 3rd February 2016
  • Great cake! I topped it with crushed almonds before baking. Next time I'll use a touch more sugar, less water to dissolve the cocoa (1/4 cup only), and if needed more almond flour to thicken the batter (instead of regular flour).

    Posted by JLM from NYC on 28th December 2015
  • Made this countless times brilliant every time.

    Posted by Angelmouse5 on 19th November 2015
  • I made this with coconut oil and ground hazelnuts instead. It is sooooooo yummy and so moist! Will definitely be making this again.

    Posted by on 15th October 2015
  • A delicious, moist gluten and dairy free 'real' cake that seemed to be quite forgiving of my not brilliantly accurate metric scales (please, an imperial version for us over 50s!). Certainly nobody missed the gluten or dairy, I used a mild olive oil but will try with a regular next time. Only question mark is I'm not sure if the eggs cook enough for egg allergy sufferers.

    Posted by Aubergineee on 23rd September 2015
  • I've just made this recipe a whole lot better! The only good olive oil I had in my cupboard was Carluccios olive oil steeped in lemons. Expensive but it adds another dimension to the cake and it is really scrummy.

    Posted by yalebands on 16th September 2015
  • Oh My God, this was a delicious cake, I made the flour version. Instead of a round tin, I used a bundt tin and it was a treaat for me and a few of my friends ... Delissssh :D

    Posted by satcv on 1st June 2015
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