Galley: 1) the kitchen of a boat. Sally: 1) a venture off the beaten path, 2) a military action in which besieged troops burst forth from their position, 3) a witty remark.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Nigellla's Chocolate Olive Oil Cake

Incredibly moist and delicious. My ancient camera doesn't do it any justice.
This recipe was created by Nigella to be gluten and dairy free, but not vegan. It does have eggs. If you can get farm fresh eggs, use them!

We made this cake as a family one Saturday afternoon, with my husband and daughter assisting with the various mixings. You'll see too a note about a great way for kids to help prep the cake pan.

The cake does have several steps, but the ingredient list is very simple, and the steps are easily executed too. Best of all, when done, you'll have a cake that is hard to leave alone. Nigella noted that the almond meal gives the cake more of a dinner-party pudding feel, with a "squidgy interior." If you are one who likes moist desserts, fudgy brownies, and good chocolate, you'll love this cake. We did. It only lasted two days in our home.

You will need...

2/3 cup regular olive oil (I used extra virgin), plus more for greasing
6 Tbsp good-quality unsweetened dark cocoa powder, sifted (sifting is always better, but I don't have a sifter and things went just fine. Just use a fork to smoosh all the little cocoa lumps before adding it.)
1/2 cup boiling water
2 tsp best vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups almond meal (flour), OR 3/4 cup plus 1 Tbsp all-purpose flour (if you are going gluten free, almond meal is your choice. If you are not going gluten free, almond meal is your choice... unless you are determined to have a lighter crumb cake.)
1/2 tsp baking soda
pinch salt
1 cup superfine sugar (you really do want superfine sugar. It is in the baking isle.)
3 eggs

1 x 9 inch spring from cake pan (I only had a 10 inch pan, and things were fine. Just keep an eye on the bake time, though I didn't notice much difference).

What to do...

1) Preheat oven to 325 F. Grease springform pan with a little olive oil and line the base of it with parchment paper. (If you are baking with a kid, have them trace the pan and cut out the circle for you, it is good fun for them, and will give you a minute to attend to the next step.)

2) Measure and sift (or smoosh with fork) the cocoa powder into a bowl and whisk in the boiling water until you have a chocolatey, smooth, still runny (but only just) paste. Don't over mix! Whisk in the vanilla extract and set aside to cool a bit.
3) In a second small bowl, combine the almond meal (or regular flour) with the baking soda and salt.

4) Mix together the sugar, olive oil, and eggs and beat together vigorously until you have a pale-primrose, aerated and thickened cream. (Nigella says to use a freestanding mixer with paddle attachment for this step, but I did fine with a wooden spoon.)

5) Pour in the cocoa mixture, beating as you go, and when all is scraped in slowly add the almond meal (or regular flour) mixture. If you are using an electric mixer, be sure to turn the speed down before adding the cocoa and flour mixtures.

6) Scrape down and stir a little with a spatula, then pour the batter into the prepared pan. Bake for 40-45 minutes or until the sides are set and the very center, on top, still looks slightly damp. A cake tester (you can use a thin knife) should come up mainly clean but with a few sticky crumbs clinging to it.

7) let it cool for 10 mins on a wire rack, still in its pan. Then, ease the sides of the cake with a small spatula and spring it out of the pan. Leave to cool completely if you can (!) or eat while still warm with ice cream. Yum!!