Nigella Lawson’s Chocolate Olive Oil Cake

Nigella's gluten and dairy free chocolate cake

Chocolate cake is the most popular treat in my family and my kids go crazy when I serve it for dessert. I have made just about every variety of chocolate cake there is, from the glorious layered type where two chocolate sponge cakes are sandwiched together with chocolate frosting to the flourless kind containing only butter, dark chocolate, sugar and eggs. I have also tried a version by Nigel Slater that contains beets. I have a few trusted recipes that I make over and over again but when I encounter unique ones, I am always game to give them a try.

Being almost fanatical about chocolate cakes, I was naturally excited when I came across this chocolate olive oil cake by Nigella Lawson in her new cookbook, Nigellissima. Olive oil in any dessert intrigues me; it’s such a versatile cooking fat and I prefer its robust flavour over butter any day. It also happens to be one of my favourite smells in the kitchen, lemon and vanilla being the other two.

I had high hopes for this cake, I truly did. It is a chocolate cake. It is moistened with olive oil and ground almonds. But it fell slightly short of what I was expecting. Looks wise, my cake came out of the oven pretty much deflated into a thin inch-tall disc but I won’t proceed to judge a cake by its height. Taste wise, although it was meltingly tender (in Nigella’s words) and was deeply chocolaty at that, I felt something was missing. An extra shot of vanilla or a boost from espresso, perhaps? In all, I would say that it was a good gluten and dairy free chocolate cake but it was not chocolate cake as I prefer it.

My cake was finished within four days and I felt it improved in taste as it sat so if you are planning to make this cake, I recommend making it a day in advance before serving. And I would like to add that despite my reservations both my kids loved this cake, they inhaled their petite slices and asked for seconds, to which I obliged. Well, the slices were really petite to begin with.


3 thoughts on “Nigella Lawson’s Chocolate Olive Oil Cake

  1. I saw this episode of Nigellisima and had intended to try out this chocolate olive cake. Not sure if I want to now after reading your post.
    You mean the cake deflated after you took out of the oven? how was the flavour like?

    1. Yes, the cake rose quite a fair bit while baking but deflated considerably after I took it out of the oven. Flavour wise, I felt the cake had a nutty edge to it and wasn’t too sugary like the regular chocolate cakes.. For me, the texture of this cake was too wet and moist for me to consider it a proper “cake”. It actually got more moist with days. But you should try it! Just because it is a unique cake and definitely worth making once. Hope this helps!

      1. Thanks for sharing.. not sure if i would like its texture now that you have described it.

        but I’ve placed it in my to-try recipe pile.
        I’m still looking at other chocolate olive oil cakes.

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