It should be of no surprise given my profession that I find myself in conversations about food on a regular basis. Recently, in a discussion about the various benefits of a good quality olive oil, I of course steered the conversation towards cake. Sure, olive oil is delicious in savory foods, but the nuanced flavors can also lend themselves nicely in sweet dishes as well. I set out to develop a quick and easy recipe for my friends to try, so I could prove my theory correct.
My goal was to do a version of few flourless (or almost flourless) chocolate cake recipes that I’ve made over the years, essentially replacing melted butter component with olive oil instead. Since olive oil often has a citrus note, I thought punching it up with some actual citrus was a good idea and found in my research that Cannelle et Vanille had a similar approach. Rather than lemon, I opted for orange since it is a classic pairing with chocolate, and I happened to have an orange in my apartment.
This cake is gluten-free, but if you don’t care about gluten or don’t feel like buying almond flour just for a few tablespoons, go ahead and use 3 tablespoons of all-purpose flour instead. Either way, the results are a super moist fudgy interior with a crackly top, which may cave in as it cools. That is an excellent excuse to fill it in with whipped cream for extra decadence. You can also make this dairy-free by forgoing the whipped cream and using a dairy-free chocolate. A nice dusting of cocoa powder when serving it would be a nice touch either way.
Makes one 9-inch cake, serves 8 to 10
Orange Chocolate Olive Oil Cake:
- 6 ounces (170 grams) bittersweet chocolate, 70-72%
- ½ cup (65 grams) light and fruity olive oil, plus extra for greasing
- 1 cup (198 grams) granulated sugar, divided
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 4 large eggs (200 grams), separated
- 2 teaspoons orange-flavored liqueur
- 2 teaspoons orange zest
- 4 tablespoons (25 grams) almond flour
Orange Whipped Cream:
- 1 cup (230 grams) chilled heavy cream
- 3 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar
- 1 teaspoon orange-flavored liqueur
- Cocoa powder for dusting
Make the Cake:
- Preheat the oven to 350˚F. Lightly grease a 9-inch cake pan, line with parchment paper and set aside.
- In a medium sized heatproof bowl placed over a pot of simmering water, melt the chocolate, stirring occasionally. Alternatively, you can microwave the chocolate in 20 second increments, stirring in between, until the chocolate is melted. Remove the bowl from the heat and stir in the olive oil, ¾ cup of the sugar and the salt.
- Add the egg yolks, liqueur and zest to the chocolate mixture, stir to combine and set aside.
- In a separate clean mixing bowl, beat the egg whites with a whisk or a hand mixer until frothy and light and then stream the remaining ¼ cup of sugar in while whisking. Continue whisking until firm peaks form, about 3 to 4 minutes.
- Gently fold the egg whites into the chocolate mixture and then pour into the prepared pan. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes until a crust forms on the top and a toothpick inserted into the middle yields a few moist crumbs. Let the cake cool slightly for about 10 minutes and then invert onto a rack to cool completely. The cake is best the same day but can be stored wrapped in plastic wrap at room temperature for 1 to 2 days.
Make the Whipped Cream:
- In a medium sized mixing bowl, add the heavy cream and whisk by hand or with an electric mixer until it starts to thicken.
- Add the confectioners’ sugar and liqueur and continue whisking until firm peaks form, about 3 to 4 minutes. Use immediately.
Assemble the Cake:
- Top the cake with the whipped cream and dust with cocoa powder, if desired. Cut into slices and serve immediately. Leftovers can be stored wrapped in plastic wrap in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.