It was a tough decision trying to pick a recipe for such a momentous occasion as my grandma’s 95th Birthday. She is the woman from whom I got my sweet tooth (I think) and a lover of all things baked, chocolatey and cake-like. I regularly take her baked goodies so this had to be something extra special.
I thought something super gooey and chocolatey was in order because what says celebration like chocolate? If you said nothing then you’re correct. In a moment of inspiration, I remembered Nigella’s chocolate olive oil cake in Nigellissima and knew it was the one.
Would you believe there is actually no chocolate in this cake? It gets its richness purely from cocoa so it’s best to use the best quality you can afford and source. I found an organic dutch cocoa at my local market and it’s wonderful. If you close your eyes, the aroma that wafts from the container as you twist off the lid just might transport you to Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory.
The luscious, moist texture of this cake is owing to the rather large amount of olive oil. Instead of butter it uses the delicious fruity oil. I’d only ever used olive oil in a cake once before for olive oil orange cake but would you believe I used it twice in one week? The simple lime cake I made for the secret recipe club uses it too.
I decorated it simply with some sugar flowers and a dusting of icing sugar and loaded it up with a variety of candles. I saw this done last year and wondered why all my life I’ve always used matching candles when a variety looks so pretty.
Do you think she liked it?
See how rich and decadent it looks. The interesting thing is, it was actually quite light. You’d think that half a piece would stop it dead but I could have easily devoured another slice. I served it with vanilla whipped cream and raspberries which I thought it would need to balance it out but it turned out they were just there to make it even more indulgent.
The look of it sort of reminds me of that chocolate cake in Roahl Dahl’s Matilda.
Here it is in case you don’t remember. That’s quite a cake isn’t it? I’m sure Nigella’s is much easier to make and might be sans old lady hair and teeth too! Enjoy!
So tell me, do you remember foods from movies or is it just me?
Nigella's chocolate olive oil cake
- 50g good-quality cocoa powder, sifted
- 125ml boiling water
- 2 tsp vanilla extract (I used vanilla bean paste)
- 150g almond meal (you can use flour instead) - I used hazelnut meal
- 1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
- pinch of salt
- 3 free-range eggs
- 200g caster sugar
- 150ml olive oil (plus extra for greasing)
- Pre-heat the oven to 170C fan-forced and grease (with oil) and line a 23cm spring-form round cake tin.
- Place the cocoa in a heat-proof bowl and whisk in the boiling water until the mixture is smooth. It may seem like the cocoa won't dissolve but keep whisking, it will.
- Whisk in the vanilla and then set the bowl aside.
- In another bowl, mix the almond meal, bicarb soda and salt together.
- In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the eggs, olive oil and sugar together for at least 3 minutes until the mixture is thick, light and pale.
- Turn the speed down (unless you want to coat your kitchen in batter) and slowly pour in the cocoa mixture.
- Keep the beater going and slowly add the almond meal mixture.
- Take the bowl off the stand and scrape down the sides (give it a stir if there are any dry bits).
- Spread the batter into the tin (it will be very liquid).
- Bake the cake for 40-45 minutes or until a cake tester inserted in the middle comes out mainly clean (or with a few crumbs. When it's cooked the sides will have set but the top in the middle may look a tiny bit gooey still.
- Leave the cake in the tin on a wire rack for 10 minutes.
- Take the sides off the tin and either serve or leave to cool and then serve.
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I love this recipe :) It’s so easy and super delicious and decandant! reminds me to make it again! hehe
You’d think it was a lot harder to make wouldn’t you?
What a simple and indulgent cake – and what a wonderful celebration with your Nan! I almost always use cocoa powder instead of chocolate, glad you found a really nice one. Love the mixed candles, great idea :D
I never used to but now I’ve discovered the good stuff I might be a convert.
Yum! I remember seeing this recipe on Nigellissima and was dying to make it. Glad to see you used hazelnut meal as I have a packet there just waiting to be used.. :D Looks so chocolatey and amazing!
I think hazelnut meal makes it even better Christine!
Happy Birthday to your grandma Claire! And that’s amazing that it doesn’t have any chocolate in it! It’s so dark, gooey and moist :D
You wouldn’t believe it would you?!
Your grandmother is so incredible for 95! I’m super impressed and can only hope to look that wonderful when it’s my turn – if I get there! I bet she was thrilled with this amazing cake; it looks gorgeous xx
I only hope I’ve inherited her genes Charlie! x
This looks fantstic – the texture looks almost like a cross between a brownie and chocolate cake – something I would adore. Love your idea to mix and match the candles – I can’t wait to try that. Happy birthday to your grandma! (She looks 30 years younger than you say she is!)
It does doesn’t it? Like a gooey brownie. I’ll tell her you said that she’ll be thrilled!
Claire, I think the planets must have been in alignment today as after reading your post I remembered I had some ground almonds and dutch process cocoa lurking in the cupboard. So even though I rarely make cakes couldn’t resist making this one and I now have a cake sitting on the bench cooling. I hope mine looks as good when its cut.
It was most definitely meant to be Carmen. Hope you like it!
Good God, Matilda scared the absolute wits out of me as a kid. But I would sit down and watch it again for this cake. Nigella knows how to bring the chocolate. And you’re right! The variety of candles is way better than all the same – you’ve changed my birthday cake styling forever.
I was terrified too Sarah! I can’t believe I’d never thought of mixing up the candles before. So much prettier!
Your grandma is adorable – I just love her necklaces! And your cake looks awesome too – I can’t wait to try one with olive oil.
She has more jewellery than any of us could imagine Stephanie!
I rarely use olive oil in my baking either, I’m butter-crazy! But I definitely want to give this recipe a go.
PS Your grandma’s hair is fabulous.
Have to say I enjoy butter too but give olive oil a go. It’s very different but good different.
I don’t really know your grandmother but I love her! Same with you sweet Miss Claire, Your cake looks fabulous, I drooling way over here in Carolina, I can almost smell that cocoa! :)
You would Chris as I’m sure she’d love you! x