We often associate cakes, cookies, and pies with heaps of creamy butter. As Julia Child once said, “With enough butter, anything is good.” And believe it or not, the same can be said of olive oil. This ancient nectar of the olive tree is a wonderful substitute for butter in several recipes, particularly cakes. While one might fear the flavor will be overpowering, it’s actually quite the opposite. Using olive oil lends a zesty flavor note, but only a very mild one, to the cake. It also adds moisture, thereby creating a perfectly soft and spongy texture.
This recipe features the classic flavor combination of chocolate and orange, with the addition of olive oil. This magic ingredient melds with the dark chocolate to create a rich fudgy consistency. To top it off, we’ve added some beautiful candied orange peel from Chakon, which pumps in more of that citrus punch.
Note: It’s fine to use an inexpensive, everyday olive oil for this recipe. It doesn’t have to be extra virgin.
- 6 tbsp cocoa powder
- ½ cup hot water
- 1 tbsp pure vanilla extract
- 1 cup dark chocolate chunks
- 3 eggs
- ¾ cup sugar
- ¾ cup olive oil + 1 tbsp for greasing
- 1 cup almond meal
- ⅓ cup flour
- ½ tsp baking soda
- ½ tsp sea salt
- 2 tbsp fresh orange juice
- 2 tbsp orange zest
- Candied orange peel for garnishing
Preheat the oven to 325°F/163°C.
In a small bowl, mix together the cocoa powder with the hot water and vanilla extract until it comes together as a thick paste, then set aside.
Over a double boiler or in a microwave, melt the dark chocolate until smooth and silky, then set aside.
Vigorously beat the eggs, sugar, and olive oil for three minutes in a separate bowl. Add in the cocoa paste, melted dark chocolate, and orange juice. Mix with a spatula for about 90 seconds, or until combined. Next, add in the almond meal, flour, baking soda, and salt, stirring gently until combined.
Pour the cake batter into a pan and sprinkle the top with the orange zest. Bake for about 40 to 45 minutes, checking if the cake is done by inserting a toothpick into the center.
Let the cake cool for about 20 minutes. Garnish with the candied orange peel just before serving.
Noreen Wasti is the creator of Noni’s Place, a food and lifestyle website.