I spotted this recipe for a chocolate cake made with olive oil on one of my favourite blogs Meemalee's Kitchen a few weeks ago. It appealed to me, as with its lack of flour and relatively small amount of sugar, it looked like quite a healthy cake option. And it also seemed to be quite a simple recipe. In fact it is a very simple recipe, but I turned making this cake into a very stressful experience by firstly not being able to locate the motor for my hand-held electric mixer; and then resorting to using the mixer attachment for the food processor but with only the single beater that I could find in the drawer. I do not recommend this methodology. It leads to mid-recipe washing up, swearing, and going red in the face a lot.
However, this cake was totally worth the (self-inflicted) stress. It was densely chocolate-y, but also mousse-like so still very light. Basically it was bloody delicious, and I was very tempted to make it again the next day. I used vanilla as an extra flavouring, rather than the original orange, but I suspect it would work well with a range of others such as cardamon, pistachio or cinnamon.
Recipe (adapted from Meemalee's Kitchen from an original recipe by Jose Pizarro)
Enough for around 6 decent slices, depending on greed
125g very dark chocolate (I used 100g of 90% and 25g of 85% cocoa solids chocolate)
125ml standard olive oil (not extra virgin)
4 large eggs (yolks and whites separated)
50g caster sugar
2 tsp good quality vanilla extract
Firstly put the oven on to pre-heat at gas mark 4. Break the chocolate into pieces and melt it along with the olive oil in a bowl set over a pan of simmering water. When fully liquid and melted, set aside to cool. In the meantime cream together the egg yolks and sugar, until they look pale and light. An electric whisk is ideal for this. Once the chocolate mixture has cooled, slowly add it into the eggs and sugar together with the vanilla extract. In a separate clean bowl, whisk up the egg whites until they form stiff peaks and you can do that classic trick of holding the bowl upside down without the contents falling out. An electric whisk is also ideal for this. Gently mix the egg white into the rest of the cake mix, and pour into a 28cm cake tin that has been lined with greaseproof paper. Bake in the middle of the oven for at least 15minutes. Mine was still quite liquid in the centre after this time though, so I gave it an extra 10minutes. Wait until the cake has cooled before taking it out of the tin.
Serve with a splodge of clotted cream, fresh strawberries, or both.
NB The above is how it's supposed to work. In my stressed state I managed to balls things up by adding all the chocolate to the eggs and sugar in one go. Or maybe it hadn't cooled enough. But basically I ended up with one giant lump of sticky chocolate sitting in a pool of pale brown 'water'. I managed to 'rescue' this by slowing adding the egg white to the mix and doing a lot of stirring. It did eventually come back together, but I suspect I knocked most of the air out of the cake mix, so it didn't rise much. But the texture and taste remained fab.