I make a lot of meals that are rich and filling, and sometimes the best accompaniment to a big meal is a dessert that’s tasty, but not too sweet. That’s where Italian desserts and recipes like this Chocolate Olive Oil Cake often come in extra handy. This recipe in particular delivers up just the right amount of sweetness and is perfect either with an amazing glass of red wine (me) or a nice cup of coffee (my mother-in-law).
Different Ways to Make this Chocolate Olive Oil Cake
The great thing about this Chocolate Olive Oil Cake recipe is that it’s easily adaptable. You can use almond meal and make it gluten free, or you can make it with regular, all-purpose flour. I’ve done it both ways and they are both delicious. You probably don’t believe me, I know.
Because many people haven’t experimented with almond meal instead of flour, this holiday season I wanted to put these different variations of this Chocolate Olive Oil Cake to a real-time taste test. So I made both the almond meal version and the flour version. The evening I served it, I forced (we all know that’s an exaggeration) everyone at the dinner table to taste each. The results: Without exception, every single person preferred the almond meal version. I’m pretty sure you wouldn’t have guessed that, because when most of us hear “almond meal” the natural reaction is to kind of go “Ewwww, that’s not for me.” But you’d be wrong.
So make this either way you prefer, but know that a whole lot of picky people who love eating, and desserts, and chocolate, overwhelmingly voted for the almond meal version.
Chocolate Olive Oil Cake Ingredients
1 ½ Cups Almond Meal OR ¾ Cup plus 1 Tbs All-Purpose Flour
6 Tbs. Unsweetened Cocoa Powder (Ghirardelli is good, I like Droste better)
½ Cup Boiling Water
2/3 Cup Veddy Good Regular Olive Oil (the Colavita was the best I could find on that particular day, there are better options out there)
2 Tbs Equally Veddy Good Vanilla Extract
½ t Baking Soda
Pinch of salt
1 Cup Superfine Sugar
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Prep your 9” Springform pan by greasing with some olive oil or butter and lining the bottom with parchment paper.
In a small bowl, measure cocoa powder and whisk in boiling water, then add vanilla. Set this aside to cool for a bit. In another small bowl, add the almond meal (or flour), salt, and baking soda. Combine eggs, sugar, and olive oil in a bowl and whisk by hand (if you’ve got the patience for a three-minute whisk), or use your hand mixer. Either is fine, I won’t judge. You want this to be a lovely pale yellow color and it will be slightly thickened. Reduce speed and add cocoa mixture, then add in the almond meal/flour mixture. Stir until just combined, then pour into prepared Springform pan and cook for 40 to 45 minutes. When a cake tester (or trusty wooden toothpick) should come out clean with maybe a few bits of chocolate goodness clinging to it. Cool, then serve. Sometimes I whip up some heavy whipping cream to serve with this, sometimes I toss some fresh raspberries on the plate, and sometimes I add some vanilla ice cream. But really, this is fabulous all by itself.
Note: Original recipe adapted from Nigella Lawson’s book Nigellissima. If you don’t yet have it, I highly recommend it—it’s filled with lots of amazing recipe ideas.
To Glaze or Not to Glaze?
This cake does NOT need an icing, but if you want to make one, try this glaze that I’ve adapted from Smitten Kitchen, which is another, slightly different recipe for a good Chocolate Olive Oil Cake. Check out her new book, too, if you pop over there—it’s sure to be filled with some great stuff.
Chocolate Glaze Recipe
¾ Cup Bittersweet Chocolate Chips
2 Tbs Cocoa powder
3 Tbs Olive Oil
1 Tbs Light corn syrup
Pinch or two of Sea salt
Combine chocolate, cocoa powder, olive oil, corn syrup and salt in a medium bowl. Pop into the microwave to melt. Do this in 15 to 30 second increments, stirring between each until just melted. Whisk until smooth, pour over completely cooled cake.
In my experimentation of almond meal versus flour in these recipes, I glazed one and left the other plain. Everyone except Lola, who admittedly has a problem with chocolate, also preferred the plain version.
Whichever route you opt to take here, almond meal/flour or glazed/unglazed, I am pretty sure this will become one of your new favorite recipes. It’s quick, easy, and really, really delicious. When you try it, let me know what you think!
Other recipes you should try: