Nigella's Chocolate Olive Oil Cake recipe

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Nigella's rich yet light chocolate cake made with olive oil and ground almonds. Gluten and dairy free.

  • Prep15m
  • Cook45m
  • Total1h

This cake was created by Nigella for the gluten and dairy intolerant, but even if you aren’t intolerant, consider making it anyway. It’s a really good, simple chocolate cake and I’ve made it countless times but I will say that it has attracted various comments such as:

“It tastes like supermarket cake… no, no, in a good way.”

“That was the nicest chocolate cake I’ve ever eaten.”

To be honest, that last comment was referring to two chocolate olive oil cakes sandwiched together with ganache, but I still think it counts.

Don't be alarmed if the cake comes out of the oven looking a little flat. It's not meant to rise spectacularly as it isn't a typical sponge. It can be made with either ground almonds or plain flour (which contains gluten) but it's nicer and more moist if almonds are used.

Serve with strawberries or raspberries, ice cream or mascarpone, or just as it is. The cake keeps for up to three days in an airtight container but I've kept it a bit longer and it's been fine. It freezes well too.

Recipe credit

Nigellissima by Nigella Lawson.


Nigella's Chocolate Olive Oil Cake

  • Prep15m
  • Cook45m
  • Total1h
Serves: 12


Nigella's Chocolate Olive Oil Cake

  • 50g 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

You will need

  • 22 or 23cm springform cake tin


  1. Preheat your oven to 170°C (150°C fan). Line a 22cm or 23cm springform tin with baking paper and grease with a little oil.
  2. Sift 50g of cocoa powder into a bowl or jug and add 125ml of boiled water, a little at a time, until you have a thick, smooth paste. Stir in 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract and leave to cool a little.
  3. Combine 150g of ground almonds (or 125g plain flour), ½ teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda and a pinch of salt in a bowl.
  4. Add 200g of sugar, 3 eggs and 150ml of olive oil into another bowl and whisk for 3 minutes using a handheld or freestanding mixer.
  5. Turn the mixer down low and slowly add the cocoa mixture then add the almonds a little at a time. Whisk for another minute or so until there are no lumps then pour the batter into the prepared 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 tester 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.


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