Olive Oil Dark Chocolate Cake

Olive Oil Chocolate Cake

Valentine’s Day is coming up, so if you really need an excuse to make a scrumptious chocolate cake for someone, now you have one. However, once you have tried this cake you will never again need a special reason or occasion to make it (except for simply eating the last bite, in which case you should make another one right away). This cake is so moist and rich that it doesn’t need any frosting, and since it’s made with olive oil, I could even try to tell you that it’s good for you. I found this recipe online at Fine Cooking, and after making it, decided that it will be my go-to chocolate cake recipe for the rest of forever.

Olive Oil Dark Chocolate Cake
8” x 2” inch round cake pan (or an 8½” springform pan)
½ C high quality Dutch-processed cocoa powder (I use Penzey’s Dutch Processed cocoa ) (1¼ oz)
6-8 T boiling water
1 t vanilla extract
½ t almond extract
1 C all-purpose flour (4½ oz), plus enough for dusting the pan
¼ t salt
¼ t baking soda
3 large eggs plus 1 egg yolk, at room temperature
2/3 C good quality olive oil (extra virgin preferred), plus 1-2 T or so for the pan
1 1/3 C sugar
¼ cup confectioners’ (powdered) sugar for dusting (optional)

Preheat oven to 325°F and place oven rack in the middle position. Generously oil/spray the pan with olive oil and line the bottom of the pan with parchment or waxed paper. Oil the paper and dust it lightly with flour.

Sift the cocoa powder through a strainer over a bowl. Add 6 T of the boiling water to the cocoa and stir until the mixture is smooth and glossy (if it seems too thick, add up to 2 T more boiling water, but only if it needs it). Stir in the vanilla and almond extracts, then set the mixture aside to cool slightly. In another bowl, mix together the flour, salt, and baking soda.

In a large bowl, use a mixer on medium-high speed to beat the eggs, egg yolk, olive oil and sugar until thick, lemon colored, and creamy, about 2 to 3 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Reduce the mixer speed to low and gradually add the warm (not hot) cocoa mixture until well combined, scraping down the sides of the bowl. Keeping the mixer on low, gradually mix in the dry ingredients until just combined – do not over mix. Scrape down the sides of the bowl one more time.

Pour the batter into the prepared cake pan and bake in the center of the oven 55 to 60 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out mostly dry, with a few moist crumbs clinging to it. Place the pan on a cooling rack and carefully run a butter knife around the inside edge to loosen the cake from the sides. Let cool for 10 minutes. Place a second rack over the cake pan and, holding the racks and pan together carefully, flip the pan over. Carefully lift the pan off the cake and gently peel off and discard the paper liner. Using the first rack, gently sandwich the cake again and flip it over, right-side up, and let cool completely on the rack.

Optional: Dust the top of the cooled cake with confectioners’ (powdered) sugar. Do this by placing the powdered sugar in a strainer and gently tapping it over the cake.

Step by Step Details

Be sure to use a really good quality cocoa powder (I love Penzey’s Dutch Processed cocoa), and make sure it’s Dutch Processed: I can’t remember exactly why, but it has to do with the fat content of the cocoa and how it reacts with other ingredients. Also use a high quality olive oil; I use extra virgin, for the best flavor.

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Start by making the cocoa mixture, so it has sufficient time to cool. Sift the cocoa powder through a strainer over a bowl. Please excuse my untidy photo of this step. I measured out way too much cocoa, which made a mess of this step when I sifted it into a bowl that was much too small for that amount. (I ultimately remedied the problem by doubling everything else and making two cakes, so it all worked in the end.)

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Add 6 T of the boiling water to the cocoa and stir until the mixture is smooth and glossy. (You’ll know you measured something wrong if it looks really lumpy, like mine did at first. See Blooper Photo #9.)

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If it seems too thick, add up to 2 T more boiling water, but only if it needs it. It should be smooth but not too runny. The cake may deflate if you use too much water.

Stir in the vanilla and almond extracts and set aside to cool. Go ahead and enjoy the aroma of this magical chocolate mixture (the almond extract really adds some key flavors and aromas), but don’t taste it yet. It will be very, very bitter, despite how enticing it smells.

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Now prep the pan. Generously coat the bottom of the pan with olive oil. Either pour some in and spread it around with a paper towel or your fingers, or use an oil mister/sprayer, if you have one. Do NOT use an aerosol spray (like PAM) or it can ruin your pan.

Line the bottom of the pan with parchment or waxed paper. See my quick tip for making this step a whole lot easier.

Oil/spray the paper and dust it lightly with flour, tapping the pan against your palm to evenly distribute the flour.

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Now, back to the cake. In small bowl, mix together the flour, salt, and baking soda. In a larger bowl, beat (on medium-high speed) the eggs, egg yolk, olive oil and sugar until thick, lemon colored, and creamy, about 2 to 3 minutes.

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Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Reduce the mixer speed to low and add the warm cocoa mixture.

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Beat until well combined, scraping down the sides of the bowl, then add the dry ingredients. Keeping the mixer on low, mix in the dry ingredients.

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Mix only until just combined – do not over mix or the batter may develop too much gluten and result in a tougher cake. Scrape down the sides of the bowl one last time.

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Pour the batter into the prepared cake pan.

Bake in the center of the oven 55 to 60 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out dry or mostly dry with a few moist crumbs.

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Place the pan on a cooling rack and carefully run a butter knife (use the back side so as not to scratch your pan) around the inside edge to loosen the cake from the sides.

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Let cool for 10 minutes. Place a second rack over the cake pan and, holding that rack and pan together carefully, flip the pan over.

Carefully lift the pan off the cake. If you’re lucky, you’ll find some large crumbs of cake stuck on the bottom of the pan, under the parchment paper. Go ahead and eat these: it’s a great way to sneak in a free taste while leaving the cake intact. No one will ever have to know.

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Gently peel off and discard the paper liner. You might get lucky and find some additional crumbs stuck on the paper. More free tastes!

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Gently sandwich the cake again by placing a rack on top of it, and flip it over, right-side up, and let cool completely on the rack.

Dust the top of the cooled cake with confectioners’ (powdered) sugar. Do this by placing the powdered sugar in a strainer and gently tapping on it. You can even use the same strainer you used earlier for the cocoa. Create a stencil, if you’re so inclined, and place it on the cake prior to dusting. (I made a little heart, but I already warned you I am no artist.)

Olive Oil Chocolate Cake

Drizzle a raspberry sauce (or other tangy sauce) on the plate before serving the cake. (Call it a “raspberry coulis” and your guests will be doubly impressed.) I love Penzey’s Raspberry Enlightenment on this cake .  Enjoy!

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