‘Eat olive oil and come tonight’ (Φάε λάδι κι έλα βράδι) as the old Greek saying commended, pointing out the lightness, as well as the aphrodisiac properties of our indispensable ingredient. Both our savory and sweet dishes and treats are better with olive oil, I think, and I am not alone; this truly sumptuous cake is based on Nigella Lawson’s popular recipe!
The glaze is based on Smitten Kitchen’s vegan olive-oil chocolate cake, but I prefer to use honey instead of corn syrup. I love to top the cake with crystalized ginger, but you can use candied orange slices if you prefer.
Serve with cream and fresh strawberries or sliced oranges, preferably the spectacular-looking blood oranges, if you can get them.
For a 9-inch cake
6 tablespoons good-quality unsweetened cocoa (50 grams)
½ cup boiling water, or coffee
2/3 – 1 cup superfine sugar (depending how sweet you like it)
4 medium eggs (or 3 large)
2/3 cup regular olive oil (plus more for greasing)
2 teaspoons best vanilla extract
1 ½ cups finely ground almonds (preferably non-skinned)
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 ½ teaspoon baking powder
1 pinch of salt
3-4 tablespoons Drambuie Liqueur, or Grand Marnier (optional)
1/2- 2/3 cup crystalized ginger
135 grams semisweet chocolate chips (preferably 65% or more)
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon honey or agave syrup
A pinch of sea salt
Preheat your oven to 170°C (325ºF). Grease a 9-inchpan with a little oil and line it with parchment paper.
Measure and sift the unsweetened cocoa into a bowl or jug and whisk in the boiling water or coffee until you have a smooth paste. Whisk in the vanilla extract and set aside to cool.
In another bowl, combine the ground almonds, the flour, the baking powder, and the salt.
Put the sugar and eggs into the bowl of a standing mixer with the paddle attachment and beat for about 3-5 minutes until you have a light yellow cream.
Turn the speed down a little and pour in the olive oil and the cocoa mixture, beating as you go, and when all is scraped in, slowly add half of the almond-flour mixture and when incorporated, add the rest.
Scrape down, and stir a little with a spatula, then pour this liquid batter into the prepared pan. Bake for 40-45 minutes or more, until the sides are set; the very center may look slightly damp. A cake tester should come up mainly clean, with just a few crumbs clinging to it.
Let it cool for 10 minutes on a wire rack, then ease invert the cake on a plate or cake stand and sprinkle liberally with the liqueur, if using.
MAKE THE GLAZE: Combine chocolate, cocoa powder, olive oil, honey, and salt in a medium bowl set over a saucepan with 2-inches simmering water, or microwave in 15 to 30 second increments, stirring after 15 seconds, until just melted. Whisk until smooth. Pour over the completely cooled cake, and use spatula to gently nudge it down the sides. Sprinkle with the crystalized ginger.
“Leave to cool completely or eat while still warm with some ice cream, as a pudding, suggests Nigella!