Monday, June 29, 2020

Chocolate Olive Oil Cake

Em Hungry has been on a long hiatus. First, due to a tech job that sapped my enthusiasm for cooking. Next, due to a pregnancy that sapped my enthusiasm for any food besides crackers and lemonade. (And ice cream... it takes a truly catastrophic health condition to make me lose my taste for ice cream.) But now, I have a new baby and a newfound appetite for just about everything, especially chocolate cake, and this is one of my very favorite chocolate cakes. It takes pretty basic ingredients, so there's a good chance you already have everything you need to get started. Enjoy!

"Any extra for me, Mommy?"

Chocolate Olive Oil Cake
adapted from

1 1/2 cups (195 grams) all-purpose flour
3/4 cup (60 grams) unsweetened cocoa powder (the original says any variety, but I've only tried it with Dutch process)
1 teaspoon baking soda*
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt, or generous 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
3/4 cup (150 grams) granulated sugar
3/4 cup (145 grams) dark brown sugar
1/2 cup olive oil (as fresh as you can get - you don't want any stale or rancid flavors)
1 1/2 cups water**
1 tablespoon cider vinegar or white vinegar

3/4 cup (135 grams) semisweet chocolate chips
3-4 Tablespoons canola oil/butter/cream, or a combination***
2 Tablespoons (10 grams) cocoa powder
1 Tablespoon light corn syrup
a pinch of salt

* The original calls for 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda, but I found that my cake would over-inflate in the oven, then crater back in on itself when it cooled. I now stick to 1 teaspoon, but you could try a 1/4 teaspoon more or less if your cake is under/over-inflating.

** Depending on environmental moisture and which flour I happen to be using, I can end up with a very runny batter when I use the full amount of water. It's not a problem, but the cake takes longer to bake that way. If this happens to you, try using 2-3 tablespoons less water the next time.

*** The original recipe uses 3 tablespoons olive oil, but I find the olive oil flavor too assertive in the glaze. I have tried many variations of straight canola oil, canola oil combined with butter, etc. My favorite glaze combo for flavor and shine and drizzleability, though, is 1 Tbsp canola oil, 1 Tbsp butter, and 2 Tbsp heavy cream.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a 9-inch round cake pan with a circle (or approximate circle...) of parchment paper, and spray the bottom and sides with neutral-flavored cooking spray.

In a large bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa, baking soda, salt, and granulated sugar. Next, whisk in the dark brown sugar. Pour the olive oil, water, and vinegar into the middle of the dry ingredients, and stir just until smooth and combined. 

Pour batter into prepared cake pan, and bake for 30-35 minutes. The center should be set, and a cake tester poked in the center should come out with sticky crumbs but not wet batter. Once the cake is done, let it cool in the pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Then loosen the edges with a knife, and turn the cake onto the rack to cool the rest of the way.

To make the glaze, combine all ingredients in a microwave safe bowl, and heat for 15-30 second increments, stirring in between, until melted and smooth. Pour over the cooled cake, and smooth it just to the edges so it drizzles down the sides a little bit. Once the glaze is set, dig in! On the other hand, this cake is amazing cold out of the fridge if you have the patience.

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