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Nigella Lawson's chocolate olive oil cake is 'moist, rich and not too sweet' – recipe

There’s nothing better than digging into a decadent chocolate cake, especially when accompanied by a cup of tea or coffee.

However, some chocolate cake recipes can produce dry, sticky and crumbly cakes that aren’t always pleasant to eat.

Nigella Lawson’s chocolate olive oil cake, from her book Nigelissima, has received hundreds of positive reviews from fans with many describing the cake as a “favourite”.

One reviewer posted on Nigella.com: “Amazing! I needed to use up just the right amount of almond flour and this cake was easy and quick! Moist! Rich and not too sweet. It will not disappoint.”

Rather than butter, this recipe uses olive oil which gives it a light yet moist texture.

How to make Nigella’s chocolate olive oil cake


  • 150ml/5fl oz regular olive oil, plus extra for greasing
  • 50g/2oz cocoa powder, sifted
  • 125ml/4fl oz boiling water
  • Two tsp vanilla extract
  • 150g/5½oz ground almonds or 125g/4½oz plain flour
  • Half tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • pinch of salt
  • 200g/7oz caster sugar
  • Three large eggs


1. Firstly, preheat the oven to 170C/325F/Gas 3 and grease a 23cm/9in springform cake tin with a small amount of oil. Then, line the base with baking parchment.

2. Next, measure and sift the cocoa powder into a bowl or jug and whisk in the boiling water until it creates a smooth, runny paste. Add the vanilla extract, whisk again and set aside to cool.

3. Add the ground almonds (or flour) with the bicarbonate of soda and a pinch of salt in another bowl. Stir to combine.

4. Put the sugar, olive oil and eggs into another bowl and whisk vigorously for three minutes using an electric mixer. The result should be pale and aerated.

5. Turn down the speed of your mixer and pour in the cocoa mixture. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and mix again. Once incorporated, slowly tip in the almond mix.

6. Scrape down the bowl and stir it with a spatula. Pour the batter into the prepared tin and bake for 40 to 45 minutes or until the sides of the cake are set and the top looks slightly damp. A toothpick should come out mainly clean with a few chocolate crumbs attached.

7. Allow the cake to cool for 10 minutes on a wire rack in its tin before attempting to release it from the tin. Once out of the tin, allow it to cool completely or serve it warm with ice cream.


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