Chocolate olive oil cake is one of my favorite desserts to make at home. It can be simple and rustic, or an elegant ending to a great meal. It’s all in how you garnish it. Picture this: a moist, decadent chocolate cake that not only satisfies your sweet cravings but also carries a hint of sophistication. And it’s easy to bake! That’s the magic of chocolate olive oil cake.
If you’re ready to get started, simply hit the “jump to recipe” button. Or scroll through below to unravel the delicious layers of this dessert and explore its origins, deeply rooted in the Mediterranean culinary tradition.
What Makes Chocolate Olive Oil Cake Special?
Before we embark on our journey through history, let’s understand what makes chocolate olive oil cake so unique. Unlike traditional butter-based cakes, this treat uses extra virgin olive oil, imparting a luscious moist cake with a subtle fruity undertone to the chocolate. The result? A dessert that’s not only indulgent but also boasts a healthier twist.
The Mediterranean Connection: Origins of Olive Oil Cake
Now, let’s hop on a culinary time machine and travel back to the sun-kissed lands of the Mediterranean, where olive oil reigns supreme in the kitchen. The concept of using olive oil in baking can be traced back centuries, with countries like Italy, Greece, and Spain incorporating this liquid gold into their desserts.
Italy: The Birthplace of Olive Oil Cake: It’s no surprise that Italy, with its rich culinary heritage, takes credit for the birth of olive oil cake. The Italians have been infusing their sweets with olive oil since ancient times. The use of olive oil in cakes gained popularity, especially in regions where olive groves were abundant. Today, variations of olive oil cake can be found throughout Italy, each with its unique local twist.
Greece: A Mediterranean Twist: Crossing the Adriatic Sea, we find ourselves in Greece, where olive oil is not just a cooking staple but a cultural cornerstone. Greek olive oil cakes often incorporate local ingredients like honey and nuts, creating a harmonious blend of flavors. The dessert is not just a treat for the taste buds but also a nod to the country’s deep-rooted traditions.
Spain: A Symphony of Flavors: Spain, with its diverse culinary landscape, brings its own flair to olive oil cakes. Whether enjoyed with a cup of strong coffee or paired with a glass of Spanish red wine, these cakes showcase the versatility of olive oil in creating desserts that are both rustic and sophisticated.
Garnishes to Elevate Your Chocolate Olive Oil Cake
I once heard a chef on TV describe chocolate olive oil cake as the little black dress of desserts. And this truly is the most perfect description. Because you can dress this cake up or dress it down, make it casual or elegant, it all depends on the garnish. The beauty of chocolate olive oil cake lies in its versatility, allowing you to experiment with various toppings. Here are some ideas to spark your creativity:
- Powdered Sugar: A classic choice, a gentle dusting of powdered sugar adds a touch of elegance. It not only enhances the visual appeal but also balances the richness of the chocolate.
- Fresh Berries Burst: Take advantage of seasonal fruits! Berries like raspberries, strawberries, or blueberries add a burst of freshness, cutting through the richness of the cake. Their vibrant colors create a visually stunning contrast. During strawberry season, I love fresh strawberries. But around Valentine’s Day, nothing beats chocolate and raspberries.
- Nuts for Crunch: Toasted nuts such as almonds, hazelnuts, or walnuts bring a delightful crunch to every bite. For a more Italian spin and a pop of light green color, dust with chopped or crushed pistachios. Sprinkle them over the cake for a textural symphony.
- Whipped Cream Swirls: A dollop of freshly whipped cream is a timeless companion to chocolate cake. Its airy texture complements the dense richness of the cake, creating a heavenly combination. Whipped cream also compliments some of the other toppings listed here such as fresh berries or nuts.
- Chocolate Drizzle: Indulge your chocolate cravings further by drizzling melted chocolate over the cake. Go for dark chocolate for an intense flavor or white chocolate for a sweeter touch.
- Candied Orange: Candied oranges are a wonderful companion to any chocolate dessert. You can garnish with candied oranges, or finely grated orange zest to add a burst of citrus to your chocolate olive oil cake. TIP: If you find orange infused olive oil, swap out half a cup of regular olive oil for half a cup of orange infused olive oil for an Orange Chocolate Olive Oil Cake.
- Espresso Infusion: Does anything go better with chocolate than coffee? We include espresso in our recipe below, but if you want even more coffee flavor, add espresso after baking. Once the cake is out of the oven and slightly cooled, use a pastry brush to gently brush the espresso over the top of the cake and let the cake absorb that extra coffee flavor and moisture.
How To Make Chocolate Olive Oil Cake At Home
Ready to get started? I adapted this recipe from our lemon olive oil cake recipe, swaping out the lemon zest and juice for espresso and cocoa. And we’ve tested this recipe SO many time at home and are not even tired of eating it. But I did learn a few tips and tricks I’ll share with you. Baking a chocolate olive oil cake is a delightful adventure, and here’s a simple recipe to get you started:
INGREDIENTS FOR CHOCOLATE OLIVE OIL CAKE
Here are a list of ingredients for chocolate olive oil cake to gather from your pantry or pick up at the store:
- baking soda
- cocoa powder
- vanilla extract
- strong coffee or espresso
- olive oil
- all purpose flour
- powdered sugar
CHOCOCLATE OLIVE OIL CAKE RECIPE STEP-BY-STEP
Preheat your oven to 325°F (162°C) and grease a 9″ cake pan with olive oil. In a small bowl, whisk together salt, baking soda, and cocoa powder.
Brew coffee or espresso, and while it is hot, whisk coffee into bowl with cocoa powder, salt, and baking soda. I like to use two shots of espresso. If you wait until the coffee is cool, the cocoa powder will be a bit sticky and more like a paste. Heating the coffee, or using it fresh after brewing, makes it easier to combine the cocoa.
In a separate large bowl, whisk together olive oil, sugar, eggs, and vanilla extract until well combined. (TIP: You can use a hand mixer, stand mixer, or food processor for this step).
Then, once the eggs, sugar, and vanilla are well combined, add in the cocoa mixture and mix well.
Gradually add the flour to the wet ingredients, gently mixing by hand until just combined.
Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 45-50 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
This recipe works best in a 9″ springform pan or 9″ cake pan. It will also bake in a 8″ cake pan, but the top of the cake will dome up and crack a bit.
Allow the cake to cool before adding garnishes. A simple dusting of powdered sugar is perfect. You could also experiement with one of the many garnishes listed above.
Chocolate olive oil cake is not just a dessert; it’s a celebration of culinary history and the richness of Mediterranean flavors. So, the next time you’re in the mood for a decadent treat, whip up a chocolate olive oil cake and let your taste buds embark on a journey through time and taste.
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teapoon baking soda
- 1/2 Cup cocoa powder
- 1/2 cup strong coffee (or 2 shots of espresso)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 Cup olive oil
- 1 Cup sugar
- 3 eggs
- 1 Cup all purpose flour
- 1/2 cup powdered sugar
- Preheat your oven to 325°F (162°C) and grease a 9" cake pan with olive oil.
- In a small bowl, whisk together salt, baking soda, and cocoa powder.
- Brew coffee or espresso, and while it is hot, whisk coffee into bowl with cocoa powder, salt, and baking soda.
- In a separate large bowl, whisk together olive oil, sugar, eggs, and vanilla extract until well combined. Then, add in the cocoa mixture. (TIP: You can use a hand mixer, stand mixer, or food processor for this step).
- Gradually add the flour to the wet ingredients, gently mixing by hand until just combined.
- Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 45-50 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
- Allow the cake to cool before adding garnishes.
TIP: This recipe works best in a 9" springform pan or 9" cake pan. It will also bake in a 8" cake pan, but the top of the cake will dome up and crack a bit.
GARNISH IDEAS: Feel free to garnish this chocolate olive oil cake to your own chocolate pairing preferences. Here are some ideas: powdered sugar, raspberries, strawberries, candied orange, orange zest, crushed pistachios, whipped cream.