As a special treat for Academy Award night, my husband made this Chocolate Olive Oil Cake from Nigella Lawson's new cookbook Nigellissima: Easy Italian-Inspired Recipes. Recovering from a flu bug, I didn't dare step foot in the kitchen, so my husband took over in the baking department and created this wonderfully moist and chocolatey confection. Finished with a dusting of icing sugar, some fresh raspberries and sprigs of mint, he saved the day and won culinary kudos at the same time.
Nigella's Chocolate Olive Oil Cake
Serves 8 to 12
1/2 cup boiling water
6 tbsp good quality unsweetened cocoa powder, sifted
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 cup almond meal or 3/4 plus 1 tbsp cup all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
Pinch of salt
1 cup superfine sugar
3 large eggs
2/3 cups olive oil, plus more for greasing
Preheat oven to 325°F. Lightly coat a 9-inch springform pan with olive oil and line the bottom with parchment paper. Measure and sift the cocoa powder into a bowl or pitcher and whisk in the boiling water until you have a smooth chocolatey, still runny paste. Whisk in the vanilla, then set aside to cool a little.
In another small bowl, combine the almond meal or flour with baking soda and a pinch of salt.
Combine sugar with eggs and olive oil in the bowl of a stand mixer with a paddle attachment. Beat on high for about 3 minutes until the mixture is fluffy, pale yellow thickened cream. Turn the speed down a little and pour in the cocoa mixture, beating as you go, and when all is scraped in, you can slowly tip in the almond meal (or all-purpose flour) mixture.
Scrape down and stir a little with a spatula, then pour this dark liquid batter into the prepared pan. Bake for 40-50 minutes or until the sides are set and the very centre and top still looks slightly damp. A cake tester should come out clean but with a few chocolate crumbs clinging to it.
Let it cool for 10 minutes on a wire rack, still in its pan, and then esae the sides of the cake with a small metal spatula and spring it out of the pan. Leave to cool completely or eat while still warm with ice cream, as a dessert.