Nigella's Chocolate Olive Oil Cake

Nigella's Chocolate Olive Oil Cake

Although this cake was designed for gluten and dairy intolerate people it's so nice that I make it all the time even though I don't have either of these dietary requirements. 

This cake can be made with either ground almonds (gluten free) or plain flour but it's much nicer and more moist if only almonds are used. The last time I made it I only had extra virgin olive oil so I used rapeseed oil instead and it was fine.

I'd consider this to be a healthier cake because of the almonds and the lack of butter, but the sugar content is fairly high. Anyway, it's lovely with custard as a dessert, or on its own with a cup of tea and strawberries or raspberries.

Don't be alarmed if it comes out of the oven looking a little flat; it's not meant to rise spectacularly as it isn't a typical sponge cake. I'm a big fan though and I've baked it at least eight times already. It's straightforward to make; there's no need to fold in whisked egg whites or mix up a batch of icing, it's just a really good, plain chocolate cake.


Serves: 8

  • 60g good quality cocoa powder
  • 125ml boiled water
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 150g ground almonds (or 125g plain flour)
  • ½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • a pinch salt
  • 200g caster sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 150ml light olive oil or rapeseed oil
  • icing sugar for dusting


  1. Preheat your oven to 170°C and grease a 22cm or 23cm springform tin with oil.
  2. Sift the cocoa powder into a bowl or jug and add the boiled water a little at a time until you have a thick, smooth paste. Stir in the vanilla extract and leave to cool while you carry on with the recipe.
  3. Combine the almonds (or flour), bicarbonate of soda and salt in a bowl.
  4. Add the sugar, eggs and olive oil into another bowl and whisk for three minutes (a handheld or freestanding mixer is helpful for this).
  5. Add the cocoa powder and mix well, then add the almond or flour mixture. Whisk for another minute or so until there are no lumps then pour into the cake tin.
  6. Bake for 40-45 minutes. Use a cake tester or stick of uncooked spaghetti to check if the cake has cooked through. It's okay if a few crumbs stick to the skewer as the cake is supposed to be somewhat damp in texture.
  7. Allow to cool for 10 minutes in its tin then remove the tin carefully and dust with icing sugar. Serve while still warm with ice cream or custard. Supposedly the cake keeps for up to three days in an airtight container but I've kept it for longer and it's been fine.

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