Olive Oil and Chocolate? Oh, Yes.
I have a particular fondness for simple single layer cakes. For these types of cakes to be memorable, the cake itself must be good enough to eat all on its own. Any glaze or topping is literally icing on the cake. While I have several recipes I make often, I’ve never hit on a chocolate version that I really love. So, this got me to thinking about one of my favorites, an olive oil cake, and I decided to try my hand at coming up with a chocolate version.
First and foremost, I think if you’re going to use olive oil in a cake, then there should be plenty of it. Otherwise, what’s the point, right? This cake contains 1 1/3 cups of medium flavored olive oil. You don’t want a strongly flavored oil because it can be sharply flavored and would conflict with the chocolate flavor. But you do want one that has enough flavor to contribute to the overall flavor profile. I used the Kirkland organic extra virgin olive oil from Costco. California Ranch extra virgin olive oil would also be a good choice here.
The cocoa I used came from King Arthur. It’s called Bensdorp Cocoa and is a Dutch processed cocoa powder with a deep mahogany color. As for other additions, I added a little strong coffee and some Amaretto. These served to round out and enrich the overall flavor.
The texture is not light and fluffy. That’s not what I was going for with this cake. It is dense and moist. The large amount of olive oil gives it a mouth feel which is almost fudge like in the center, while being more cake like near the edges. I thought the deep chocolate flavor would be well served with some tangy lightly sweetened whipped cream and chose to add buttermilk to the heavy cream in order to achieve that flavor.
As to the level of difficulty? Two bowls, a whisk, measuring cups and spoons, and a cake pan are all you need to get this in the oven. But I do recommend a hand beater for whipping the cream. I don’t know about you, but it’s never made sense to me why you’d want to whisk cream by hand when a beater gets the job done so quickly and easily.
I’ve finally found a chocolate single layer cake I truly love. As my son said, “Well, you know I’m not a particular fan of chocolate cake, but this is one I can fully support.”
Which brand of Amaretto do you use? So many brands, and I am a novice here.
Hi, Valerie. I’ve always bought Disaronno brand. It’s widely available. I hope you enjoy the recipe. Please let me know. Thanks!
Renee, I found this dense, single-layer cake to be flavorful, incredibly moist, and the perfect canvas for the adornment of buttermilk whipped cream and bloom of fresh strawberries. I made this cake for my family on Mother’s Day. They inhaled it!
This recipe is like having a little black dress — or suit. You won’t need it every day, but it’s important to have when the occasion arises!
And how beautiful is this?? I’m so happy you like it, Sherman! It is indeed a nice recipe to have in your back pocket, isn’t it? Everyone needs a good solid chocolate cake recipe. Thank you so much!
I knew my friend was coming to visit and I wanted to bake her Renee’s special Chocolate Olive Oil Cake
The sensational velvety texture was deeply satisfying. I used a fine Spanish olive oil, Grand Marnier liqueur and garnished it with fresh Mandarin Orange segments; using a rasp, I grated Orange Chocolate Negro Bar (82%) as the final touch. So good!
This is really sensational, Jana! I hope your friend enjoyed it, too! Thank you!
I made this cake last week, and it’s definitely a keeper! Easy, moist, and delicious. It also holds really well. I’m always looking for small/manageable desserts, since there are just 2 or us. A cake like this lasts at least a week for us (portion control), and it’s still moist and delicious.
I agree with you about how well this cake holds. So glad to hear you enjoyed it!!
Could the olive oil be substituted with sunflower oil or another neutral
Hi, Lily –
Technically you could use another oil, but the flavor won’t be as rich and nuanced, although the texture will not be affected. If you’re dealing with an allergy then I can see doing it. Otherwise, I’d stick to the olive oil. The flavor of the olive oil isn’t discerned, but the overall flavor of the cake will be different. Please let me know how you like it if you decide to make it using a different kind of oil.
Did we love it? We did. Well I only got two pieces, but what I got was delicous. Obviously I’m making it again in the near future.
Yours is gorgeous!!!! So happy you enjoyed those 2 slices. Lol!
Would Kahlua work in place of Amaretto?
I think Kahlua would be delicious in it.
This recipe sounds divine tho not a a fan of Amaretto taste. How would you adjust recipe w/o this ingredient? add vanilla flavoring? add more liquid?
Hi, there. If you’re not a fan of Amaretto, how about trying some Grand Marnier. A good friend made it with Grand Marnier and liked it very much. But if you’d rather leave out any alcohol, I’d simply add 2 teaspoons vanilla, and substitute the amount of Amaretto for water, minus 2 teaspoons. Please let me know if you make it and how you like it. Thanks!
I just made this yesterday. I think there are three (little) pieces left. Words fail me. My husband called it a chocolate bouchon on steroids. I think that describes this gorgeous cake pretty darn perfectly.
Yay!!!! So glad you two loved it, too!!Thank you, Sherie. And Matt.
I do have round cake pans. I think I even unpacked them after we moved. But I can’t find them now. So I made this cake in a 9 inch square pan and we cut it, straight from the pan, still warm. It was awesome. No topping of any kind was necessary, the cake alone was all we needed. I asked the rest of the household – husband, sister – whether I would be making this cake again. “Oh yeah – it’s a definite keeper” was my husband’s vote. My sister just smiled through a mouthful of cake. Yup. A keeper.
Elizabeth, I know that chocolate cakes aren’t your favorite, so I’m really surprised you made it. I am so glad you liked it!!!! Devin feels the same about chocolate cakes and said again yesterday, “Mom, I not only support this cake, I LOVE it.” LOL! Thank you so much!! And I feel sure those round pans will show up at some point.
I don’t HATE them, but will usually choose something fruity over something chocolatey. But just the other day Carl, who is the cake baker in the family, wistfully said “maybe some one will make me brownies for my birthday cake”. So subtle. His birthday is at the end of May so he is giving me plenty of notice, and he loves those tahini brownies. Anyway, your description of this cake, along with my fondness for a bit of plain snacking-type cakes, led me to go for it, and I was not disappointed. It’s a cracker of a cake (and was so lovely eaten warm – we are going to have it later with tea and coffee after doing some gardening work, so I’m interested to experience the “next day” texture).
Carl is definitely subtle. Lol! I also love those tahini brownies, so I understand his feelings on this. As to the next day texture, I’m curious as to what you think. I thought it held up well for days. I had to keep mine refrigerated due to the whipped cream topping. I really want to hear what you have to say because I’m assuming yours is at room temperature. Be sure and let me know.