I’ve never been one to use the word “unfussy” to talk about food. And yet, here we are: let’s talk about this unfussy cake. It’s rich and delicious, but also really simple. It’s great on its own–but also easy to dress up with mix-ins, toppings or ice cream.
I also love that this recipe is dairy-free, because I have several friends who avoid dairy. Olive oil gives the cake a great texture, and also brings out richness from the cocoa. The cake is light, airy and the perfect ending to a dinner with friends.
I opted to use regular flour in this, but the original recipe gives you substitutions if you want to make it gluten-free.
Olive Oil Chocolate Cake (Dairy-Free)
Original recipe: Nigella Lawson. I’ve rewritten things a bit and added commentary.
Yield: One 9-inch cake
Suggested equipment: Mixer; food processor if you need to grind sugar
Total Time: 1.5 hours
Cook Time: 40 minutes
- 2/3 cup olive oil, plus more to grease the pan
- 6 tbsp unsweetened cocoa
- 1/2 cup boiling water
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 3/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon flour
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- A pinch of salt
- 1 cup superfine sugar (You can find this at some stores, usually called superfine sugar, baker’s sugar or caster sugar. Alternatively, you can just use your food processor to grind up standard granulated sugar. I followed The Kitchn’s advice, and ground up 1 cup plus 2 tsp of sugar in the food processor for roughly 30 seconds.)
- 3 large eggs
- Powdered sugar, for dusting
- Preheat your oven to 325F
- Sift your cocoa into a bowl
- Whisk in your boiling water until it’s a smooth paste. It will still look a little runny
- Whisk in your vanilla, then let the mixture cool for a bit
- In a separate bowl, mix your flour, baking soda and salt
- Use your mixer to beat the sugar, olive oil and eggs. You should beat them for about 3 minutes until it’s a thickened, yellow-ish cream
- Turn the speed down on your mixer, and add in your cocoa with the mixer still running. Stop to scrape as needed
- Use a spatula to mix in the flour. When you’re ready to bake, your mix should look dark and liquidy
- Grease a 9 inch cake pan (or springform if you have it!) with oil and line it with parchment
- Bake 40-45 minutes, until the sides are set but the top still looks a little damp. Use a toothpick to check for doneness–it should be mostly clean with just a few crumbs
- Let the cake cool in its tin for 10 minutes
- Remove the cake from its pan
- Dust with powdered sugar right before serving