Confession: This was my second attempt at making this cake.
I wanted to make this cake the moment I saw the recipe. It looked like it was going to be one of those dense and moist cakes.
Added to that, this is a cake that does not contain wheat or dairy so if you have friends who are dairy- or gluten-intolerant, it is the perfect cake for them.
The first time round, I did not have ground almond, so I used flour instead. I experienced one nightmare baking session. I think I probably over beat the batter (because I was also cooking something else at the same time) and my helper did not close the springform tin properly so my batter started leaking in the oven.
Oh it was horrid.
The thing that came out of the oven was lop-sided and dry. It was not a cake. It looked more like a badly disfigured Frankenstein’s monster’s face. ARGH.
Refusing to give up, I had a go again today.
This time, I made sure I had ground almonds. And I double checked the springform tin.
Only when that was done that I got round to making the cake.
Joy! It really was an easy cake to make.
The first thing I did was to measure the cocoa powder and whisk it with the boiling water until it became a smooth but runny paste. I added the vanilla extract and set this aside.
You need to use a really good chocolate for this recipe. No good chocolate? Bake something else.
Then I combined the ground almond and the bicarbonate of soda in another bowl. This was also set aside.
The sugar, olive oil and eggs were placed a bowl and beaten. (Use normal olive oil. NOT extra-virgin olive oil).
Until they became light and pale.
Then I added the cocoa mixture.
And beat to mix.
The last thing I did was to add the ground almond, which was also beaten into the batter.
Then I put the batter into my already prepared tin.
The batter was very runny, which was the right consistency.
I baked my cake for 40 minutes – my oven is slightly hotter.
And this time, it came out right.
The cake was left to cool in the tin for about 10 minutes before I removed the ring.
And allowed it to cool completely.
It was good.
Chocolate Olive Oil Cake (Serves 6-8)
Adapted from Nigellisima by Nigella Lawson
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 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 with the 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 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.