I know, my photography is rubbish!
Recently I was looking to make a dessert or cake that was dairy free. There doesn’t seem to be that many appealing options out there! I did read that butter in a recipe can be substituted with margarine (no thanks!) or sunflower or vegetable oil. I wasn’t sure if I could confidently work out the correct amounts and didn’t want to wing it so I decided not to go down that route. Then I remembered this cake from Nigella Lawson’s Nigellissima.
There was a lot of talk about it when the book came out last year but I had never tried it. It was perfect, I didn’t make a single change to the recipe. The cake is actually dairy AND wheat free so it is ideal for when you have someone with a food intolerance coming around. I don’t want to go so far as to say it is gluten free as I wouldn’t know enough about it but I’m sure someone more knowledgeable than myself can let me know.
I barely got to taste this but it seemed good to me and went down a treat with others. When I took it out to cool I was afraid that it seemed a bit greasy but it definitely did not taste this way. Don’t use very good olive oil here and definitely do not use extra virgin olive oil, you don’t want to be able to taste the oil. It is lovely served warm with some berries and if you are not on a dairy free diet, some ice cream or mascarpone would be great with it. You can also use regular flour instead of the almonds if you don’t need it to be wheat free but I think the almonds make it really moist and tasty. This will keep for up to 3 days in an airtight container stored in a cool place.
- 150ml regular olive oil (plus more for greasing)
- 50g good-quality cocoa powder (sifted) – I use Green & Blacks or Valrhona
- 125ml boiling water
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 150g ground almonds (or 125g plain flour)
- ½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
- Pinch of salt
- 200g caster sugar
- 3 eggs
- Preheat your oven to 170C/150 fan/gas mark 3. Grease a 9inch springform tin with a little oil and line the base with baking parchment.
- Measure and sift the cocoa powder into a bowl or jug and whisk in the boiling water until you have a smooth, chocolatey, but still runny paste. Whisk in the vanilla extract, then set aside to cool a little.
- In another bowl, combine the ground almonds (or flour) with the bicarb of soda and salt.
- Put the sugar, olive oil and eggs into another bowl and beat together vigorously for about 3 minutes until you have a pale-yellow,, aerated and thickened cream. Use the paddle attachment if using a free standing mixer.
- 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 ground almond (or flour) mixture.
- Scrape down the sides, and stir a little with a spatula, then pour this dark, liquid batter into the prepared tin. Bake for 40-45 minutes or until the sides are set and the centre 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. You can leave it to cool completely or eat while still warm.
Wheat free, dairy free and made with olive oil. Has to be healthy, right?!