Flourless chocolate olive oil cake

A few weeks ago I had a dinner party where there were a few dietary restrictions, including dairy intolerance and gluten intolerance.  It can be rather difficult to find dessert recipes that are gluten and dairy free, but obviously I took it on as a fun challenge and found this AWESOME cake as a result.  I cannot speak highly enough about this cake – it’s honestly one of the best cakes I’ve made recently.  It’s quite simple and comes together really easily, but the end result seems like you spent hours toiling over it.

The substitute for flour here is almond meal, which works really well.  The olive oil makes the cake incredibly moist, which is very important (the worst thing ever is a dry chocolate cake – ew).  This is also a great recipe because it can be made the day before and when  you are hosting a dinner party, the last thing you want to be doing is preparing dessert while everyone else is eating dinner and socialising.  I just made the cake the night before and decorated it right before serving, and it looked effortless (which is basically is).  This is a winner of a chocolate cake!

Flourless chocolate olive oil cake (adapted from Nigella)


  • 2/3 cup regular olive oil (plus more for greasing)
  • 6 tablespoons good-quality unsweetened cocoa
  • ½ cup boiling water
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 ½ cups almond meal
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 pinch of salt
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3 large eggs

Preheat your oven to 170°C/325ºF. Grease a 22 or 23 cm/ 9 inch springform tin with a little oil and line the base with baking parchment.  (I didn’t have a springform tin so it’s fine if you don’t – I just served it straight in the tin instead of putting it on a plate.)

Put the cocoa in a bowl and whisk in the boiling water until you have a smooth, chocolatey, still runny (but only just) paste. Whisk in the vanilla extract, then set aside to cool a little.

In another bowl, mix together the sugar, olive oil, and eggs, beating until the mixture is pale and aerated (beat for at least 3 minutes).  Then pour in the chocolate mixture and mix until fully combined.  Then put in the pinch of salt, baking soda, and the almond meal.  Stir in slowly until it’s all combined.  The batter will be dark and liquidy.  Pour it into the prepared tin and bake for 40-45 minutes or until the sides are set and the very centre, on top, still looks slightly damp. A cake tester should come up mainly clean but with a few sticky chocolate crumbs clinging to it.

Let it cool for 10 minutes on a wire rack, still in its tin, and then ease the sides of the cake with a small metal spatula and spring it out of the tin.  Or if you are like me, just serve it in the tin.  You can eat it while still warm or leave it to cool completely.  I made mine for a dinner party ahead of time and thus it was a nice room temperature, and I decorated it with raspberries and pomegranate seeds, which I must say made it look quite lovely.

IMG_6570The chocolate mixture

IMG_6571Sugar, olive oil, and eggs mixture

IMG_6572Combining the two mixtures

IMG_6573Adding in ground almond mixture to the batter

IMG_6574Batter ready to go into the oven

IMG_6591Finished product – I scattered it with raspberries and pomegranate seeds

IMG_6595I served the cake with these lovely fruit skewers as well – yum!

This cake was seriously amazing.  I highly recommend serving it with some sort of red fruit topping because it looks lovely and raspberries, pomegranate seeds, or strawberries are a great contrast with the deep chocolate flavour.  The cake had an amazingly tender crumb and I honestly could have eaten it straight out of the pan with a fork.  Normally when you make a recipe that is dairy free or gluten free you tend to give up some taste, but this recipe is perfect just as is.  Honestly it is one of the best chocolate cakes I have ever made!

One year ago: Cinnamon swirl banana bread

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