Chocolate Olive Oil Cake

Although I first came up with this recipe because I had someone coming for supper who (genuinely) couldn't eat wheat or dairy, it is so meltingly good, I now make it all the time for those whose life and diet are not so unfairly constrained, myself included. It is slightly heavier with the almonds (though not in a bad way) so if you want a lighter crumb, rather than a squidgy interior, and are not making the cake for the gluten-intolerant, then replace the 1 1/2 cups almond meal with 3/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon of all-purpose flour. This has the built-in bonus of making it perhaps more suitable for an everyday cake. Made with the almonds, it has more of dinner-party pudding feel about it and I love it still a bit warm, with some raspberries or some such on the side, as well as a dollop of mascarpone or ice cream.
  • Level: Easy
  • Total: 1 hr 15 min
  • Active: 20 min
  • Yield: Cuts into 8 to 12 slices
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Ingredients

2/3 cup regular olive oil, plus more for greasing

6 tablespoons good-quality unsweetened cocoa powder, sifted

1/2 cup boiling water

2 teaspoons best vanilla extract

1 1/2 cups almond meal (flour) or 3/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon baking soda pinch salt

1 cup superfine sugar

3 eggs

Directions

Special equipment:
One 9-inch springform cake pan
  1. Preheat your oven to 325 degrees F. Grease your springform pan with a little oil and line the base with parchment paper.
  2. Measure and sift the cocoa powder into a bowl or pitcher and whisk in the boiling water until you have a smooth, chocolatey, still runny (but only just) paste. Whisk in the vanilla extract, then set aside to cool a little.
  3. In another smallish bowl, combine the almond meal (or all-purpose flour) with the baking soda and pinch of salt.
  4. Put the sugar, olive oil, and eggs into the bowl of a freestanding mixer with the paddle attachment (or other bowl and whisk arrangement of your choice) and beat together vigorously for about 3 minutes, until you have a pale-primrose, aerated, and thickened cream.
  5. Turn the speed down a little and pour in the cocoa mixture, beating as you go, and when all is scraped in, you can slowly tip in the almond meal (or all-purpose flour) mixture.
  6. Scrape down, and stir a little with a spatula, then pour this dark, liquid batter into the prepared pan. Bake for 40-45 minutes or until the sides are set and the very center, on top, still looks slightly damp. A cake tester should come up mainly clean but with a few sticky chocolate crumbs clinging to it.
  7. Let it cool for 10 minutes on a wire rack, still in its pan, and then ease the sides of the cake with a small metal spatula and spring it out of the pan. Leave to cool completely or eat while still warm with some ice cream, as a dessert.

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