How To Make Chocolate Olive Oil Cake

How To Make Chocolate Olive Oil Cake
Black forest gateaux cake with a chocolate sponge, cherry compote, and Chantilly cream. Decorated with chocolate flakes.

Chocolate Olive Oil Cake is the versatile staple of your dessert spread. Timeless, elegant, and it complements any occasion! Prepare this recipe with the simplicity of a casual affair or elevate it for a more refined touch.

This chocolate olive oil cake is an ideal indulgence for devoted chocolate enthusiasts. Similar to Italian Carrot Cake, it achieves sweetness without being overly saccharine, and the extraordinarily tender crumb is owed to the inclusion of extra-virgin olive oil in the batter.

The Greek yogurt whipped topping imparts a zesty counterpoint to the opulent chocolate taste. The icing on the cake? This dessert is effortlessly quick to bake. Enjoy its simplicity with a sprinkle of powdered sugar or elevate it with a dollop of mixed berry or strawberry compote, or even a scoop of frozen yogurt.

Ingredients You’ll Need

Hot water: The inclusion of hot water in cake batter gained popularity during the Great Depression, a time when ingredients like milk were scarce. The addition of hot water not only results in an exceptionally smooth texture and a very moist crumb but also imparts the additional advantage of longevity compared to cakes made with milk. The hot water is utilised to fully hydrate the cocoa powder, resulting in deeper chocolate notes in the finished cake.

All-purpose flour: This imparts structure and weight to the cake. If you’re steering clear of gluten, feel free to substitute your preferred gluten-free all-purpose flour blend. However, be aware that the cake may have a slightly denser texture.

Baking soda: When combined with water and the acid from the cocoa powder, baking soda releases minuscule carbon dioxide bubbles in the cake batter, contributing to the soft, airy texture of the finished cake.

Kosher salt: A pinch of salt enhances the flavour of chocolate.

Eggs: Eggs contribute to the structural integrity and richness of the cake.

Extra-virgin olive oil: Quality extra-virgin olive oil introduces smooth, fruity flavours that harmonise well with the slight bitterness of the cocoa powder. Olive oil adds a velvety texture and rich moistness to this cake without overwhelming it. When opting for olive oil in baking, choose a mild and fruity variety over something more peppery. Our Arbequina California Olive Oil is my preferred choice for this.

Vanilla and almond extracts: To enhance the herbaceous flavours of the olive oil, I’ve incorporated both vanilla and almond extracts. Almond extract provides a subtle flavour note that blends perfectly with the olive oil and chocolate. If you’re without almond extract, vanilla extract is a suitable alternative.

Organic Cane Sugar: In comparison to refined white sugar, organic cane sugar is less processed and retains more nutrients in the form of molasses. The crystals are slightly larger and lightly golden in colour. While white sugar is a fine substitute, I recommend opting for organic cane sugar for its slightly caramelised flavour.

Natural Cocoa Powder: The primary cocoa powder used, natural cocoa powder, is acidic and deeply chocolatey. It possesses a bright, fruity flavour that balances the fats in the olive oil and eggs in this recipe. Additionally, it imparts a deep, rich colour to our cake. Dutch process and black cocoa powders are not suitable for this recipe.

Heavy Cream and Greek Yogurt: I combine these for a simple cake garnish, but if you prefer, you can opt for simplicity by just dusting the cake with powdered sugar.

Powdered sugar: A small amount of powdered sugar is used in the whipped topping just to add a subtle sweetness, but you can also dust it on top of the cake or do both!

How To Make This Recipe

Preheat the oven and prepare the cake pan: Preheat the oven to 325°F. Coat a 9-inch round cake pan with olive oil and place a round of parchment paper at the bottom.

Prepare the dry ingredients and cocoa powder mixture: Sift the all-purpose flour, baking soda, and kosher salt together in a medium bowl. Reheat the water to a simmer. Remove it from heat and promptly incorporate the cocoa powder and cinnamon, stirring until the mixture achieves a smooth paste.

Whip the eggs, olive oil, and sugar: In a large bowl using a hand mixer or in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, combine eggs, extra-virgin olive oil, vanilla extract, almond extract, and sugar. Beat the mixture on medium-high speed until it becomes pale yellow and fluffy, typically around 4 minutes.

Add cocoa powder and dry ingredients: Introduce the cocoa powder paste to the egg mixture and beat until well incorporated, taking a moment to scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl. Add the flour mixture and mix until just combined.

Bake the cake: Transfer the batter into the prepared cake pan and position it on the middle rack of the oven. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes or until a tester inserted into the middle of the cake comes out with only a few moist crumbs attached. Allow the cake to cool thoroughly. Once cooled, run a butter knife around the edges of the cake carefully. Gently overturn the cake onto a large plate. Delicately remove the parchment round from the top of the cake.

Make Greek yogurt whip and assemble the cake: Blend heavy cream, plain Greek yogurt, and powdered sugar. Whip on medium-high speed until soft peaks form. Serve: Cut the cake into slices, then serve each slice with a dollop of the Greek yogurt whip. Alternatively, sprinkle with cocoa powder and serve with fresh berries.

Benefits of Baking with Olive Oil

  1. Heart-Healthy Fats: Olive oil is rich in monounsaturated fats, which are considered heart-healthy. These fats can help lower bad cholesterol levels and reduce the risk of heart disease.
  2. Antioxidant Properties: Olive oil contains antioxidants, such as polyphenols, which help combat oxidative stress in the body. This may contribute to overall health and well-being.
  3. Anti-Inflammatory Effects: The anti-inflammatory properties of olive oil may provide health benefits, particularly in reducing inflammation associated with various chronic diseases.
  4. Enhanced Flavour: Baking with olive oil adds a unique and rich flavour to your recipes. Depending on the type of olive oil used, it can bring fruity, peppery, or mild notes to your baked goods.
  5. Moisture Retention: Olive oil helps retain moisture in baked goods, resulting in a softer and more tender texture. This can be especially beneficial in recipes like cakes, muffins, and brownies.
  6. Versatility: Olive oil is versatile and can be used in a variety of baked goods, from sweet to savoury. It works well in cakes, cookies, bread, and even in recipes like olive oil-based focaccia.
  7. Dietary Flexibility: Olive oil is suitable for various dietary preferences, including the Mediterranean diet and vegetarian/vegan lifestyles. It can be a substitute for butter or other fats in many recipes.
  8. Nutrient Retention: Unlike some other cooking oils, olive oil retains its nutritional value even at higher temperatures, making it a suitable choice for baking without compromising its health benefits.
  9. Regulation of Blood Sugar Levels: Some studies suggest that olive oil may contribute to better blood sugar control, which can be important for those managing diabetes or insulin resistance.
  10. Easy Incorporation: Olive oil is easy to incorporate into baking recipes, and its use can be adapted to a range of culinary styles, making it a convenient choice for both sweet and savoury dishes.

Ways to Dress Up Chocolate Olive Oil Cake

Powdered Sugar Dusting: Lightly dust the top of the chocolate olive oil cake with powdered sugar for a simple and elegant finishing touch.

Whipped Cream Swirls: Serve each slice with a dollop of freshly whipped cream to add a delightful creaminess to the rich chocolate flavour.

Berries and Fruit Compote: Top the cake slices with a medley of fresh berries or a homemade fruit compote. The natural sweetness and vibrant colours complement the chocolatey goodness.

Chopped Nuts or Shredded Coconut: Sprinkle finely chopped nuts, such as almonds or hazelnuts, or shredded coconut on top of the cake for added texture and nutty notes.

Chocolate Ganache Drizzle: Drizzle a luscious chocolate ganache over the cake for an indulgent and glossy finish.

Edible Flowers: Garnish the cake with edible flowers like pansies or violets to introduce a touch of beauty and a subtle floral note.

Mint Leaves or Herb Sprigs: Add a touch of freshness by placing small mint leaves or herb sprigs on top of each slice. Mint pairs exceptionally well with chocolate.

Caramel Sauce or Salted Caramel Drizzle: Elevate the sweetness with a drizzle of caramel sauce, and for an extra flavour dimension, consider using salted caramel.

Sliced or Candied Citrus Peel: Decorate the cake with thin slices of citrus peel or candied orange peel to impart a citrusy brightness.

Vanilla Ice Cream or Frozen Yogurt: Serve slices alongside a scoop of high-quality vanilla ice cream or frozen yogurt for a delightful contrast in temperature and taste.

Chocolate Shavings or Curl: Create chocolate shavings or curls using a vegetable peeler and sprinkle them on top of the cake for an artistic and decadent touch.

Gold or Silver Leaf: For an elegant presentation, consider adding a touch of luxury with edible gold or silver leaf. It creates a stunning visual effect.

What To Serve with This Recipe

  1. Fresh Berries: Serve slices of the chocolate olive oil cake with a side of fresh berries such as strawberries, raspberries, or blueberries for a burst of fruity freshness.
  2. Whipped Cream or Greek Yogurt: Enhance the dessert experience by offering a dollop of whipped cream or a spoonful of creamy Greek yogurt on the side. The contrast in textures complements the richness of the cake.
  3. Vanilla Ice Cream: For a classic and indulgent pairing, serve the chocolate olive oil cake with a scoop of high-quality vanilla ice cream. The warm-cold combination is always a crowd-pleaser.
  4. Fruit Compote: Elevate the dessert with a homemade fruit compote, such as a berry compote or a citrus-infused version. The fruity acidity balances the sweetness of the cake.
  5. Caramel Sauce: Drizzle warm caramel sauce over the cake or serve it on the side for those who enjoy an extra layer of sweetness and richness.
  6. Chopped Nuts: Sprinkle a handful of chopped nuts, such as toasted almonds or hazelnuts, on top of the cake or alongside for added crunch and nutty flavour.
  7. Coffee or Tea: Complement the chocolatey goodness with a cup of freshly brewed coffee or a fragrant cup of tea. The warm beverage provides a delightful contrast.
  8. Mint Tea: For a refreshing option, consider serving the cake with a cup of mint tea. The herbal notes of the tea can enhance the overall dining experience.
  9. Fruit Sorbet: Provide a refreshing and dairy-free option by serving slices of the cake with a scoop of fruit sorbet. Choose flavours like raspberry or passion fruit for a vibrant twist.
  10. Edible Flowers: Garnish the dessert plates with edible flowers, such as pansies or violets, to add a touch of elegance and a subtle floral aroma.
  11. Wine Pairing: If serving the chocolate olive oil cake as a dessert for a special occasion, consider pairing it with a dessert wine like port, a rich red wine, or even a sweet sparkling wine.

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. Can I use regular olive oil instead of extra-virgin olive oil in the recipe?
    • Yes, you can use regular olive oil, but keep in mind that extra-virgin olive oil adds a distinctive flavour. If using regular olive oil, choose one with a mild flavour to avoid overpowering the other ingredients.
  2. Is it possible to make the chocolate olive oil cake gluten-free?
    • Certainly! Substitute the all-purpose flour with a gluten-free all-purpose flour blend. Be aware that the texture may be slightly denser, so adjust accordingly.
  3. Can I reduce the amount of sugar in the recipe for a less sweet cake?
    • Yes, you can adjust the sugar quantity to your preference. Keep in mind that sugar not only sweetens but also contributes to the texture, so altering it may affect the overall result.
  4. How should I store leftover chocolate olive oil cake?
    • Store the leftover cake in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 days, or refrigerate for an extended shelf life. Bring it to room temperature before serving.
  5. Can I freeze the chocolate olive oil cake?
    • Absolutely! Wrap individual slices or the entire cake tightly in plastic wrap and then in foil before freezing. Thaw in the refrigerator before bringing to room temperature.
  6. What can I substitute for almond extract if I don’t have it on hand?
    • Vanilla extract is a suitable substitute for almond extract in this recipe. Adjust the quantity to your taste preference.
  7. Can I omit the cinnamon from the cocoa powder mixture?
    • Yes, you can omit the cinnamon if you prefer a more straightforward chocolate flavour. It won’t significantly impact the overall recipe.
  8. How can I prevent the cake from sticking to the pan?
    • Ensure thorough greasing with olive oil and lining the bottom of the pan with parchment paper. Once baked, run a butter knife around the edges before flipping the cake out.
  9. What’s the best way to serve the chocolate olive oil cake?
    • Serve the cake sliced, either on its own, with a dusting of powdered sugar, a dollop of whipped cream, or alongside fresh berries for added freshness.
  10. Can I substitute another type of oil for the olive oil?
    • While olive oil contributes to the unique flavour, you can substitute vegetable oil or melted butter if needed. Adjust quantities as necessary.


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