Cake Starter: Chocolate Olive Oil Cake

Since I bought my Kitchenaid late last year, I’ve been on a baking mission which I’ve called my 2015 “Cake Starter” project. Sadly, I haven’t really had the time to experiment with recipes as much as I’d like, and neither have I gotten my hands dirty to make my own pasta and have a crack at Momofuku’s famous crack pie. Well, there’s still seven months of 2015, so hopefully there’ll be more Cake Starter posts here.

There is one cake that I always turn to on the weekends, Nigella Lawson‘s Chocolate Olive Oil Cake. Not only is it kinda idiot-proof, it’s also great for those who are gluten intolerant. The cake is very moist and is made up of olive oil and ground almond – no butter or flour – and I especially love eating it straight out of the fridge for breakfast. It has so far been very well-received by my friends and family, so I thought why not share the recipe (and love for chocolate) with you too?


Chocolate Olive Oil Cake

I recommend that you follow the recipe as closely as possible. This is one cake that doesn’t need extra frills and experimentation.


  • 150 ml regular olive oil (plus more for greasing)
  • 50 grams good-quality cocoa powder (sifted)
  • 125 ml 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


  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.

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