Nigella’s Chocolate Olive Oil Cake

Nigella Lawson chocolate olive oil cake recipe

Do you bake with olive oil?

I’d never tried using olive oil in cakes and had always been a bit horrified at the thought.

A rich fruity extra virgin oil wouldn’t work at all in a cake, I reckoned. And that was the type of olive oil I always bought.

I knew there must be more to the story and Bertolli Olive Oil has just explained it to me when they sent me three bottles of oil to try.

Nigella Lawson chocolate olive oil cake recipe bertolli olive oil

Nigella’s Chocolate Olive Oil Cake


  • 150 ml olive oil (plus more for greasing)
  • 50 grams good-quality cocoa powder (sifted)
  • 125 ml boiling water
  • 2 teaspoons best vanilla extract
  • 150 grams ground almonds (or 125g plain flour, I used 75g ground almonds and 65g plain flour)
  • ½ teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
  • 1 pinch of salt
  • 200 grams caster sugar
  • 3 large eggs

The marvellous benefits of blogging, I tell you.

So the long and the short of it is that you need the right olive oil for the dish you are preparing.

And for the beginner cooks like me, Bertolli has started explaining on the label what each of their three oils is for:

• Classico: Best choice for barbequing & roasting.
• Extra Light: Best for baking and frying.
• Extra Virgin: Best for salads, pasta sauces & dips.

So for the chocolate and olive oil cake I wanted to make, the Extra Light was clearly the go.

Nigella Lawson chocolate olive oil cake recipe
Nigellas Lawson chocolate and olive oil cake
Getting all the necessaries prepared.
Nigellas Lawson chocolate and olive oil cake
The mixture is very, very runny. The cake is very moist too, would make a great dessert.

Bertolli Olive Oil has just celebrated its 150th anniversary.

I started using it when I spent a year as an au pair in Italy when I was 18… which is about 150 years ago, come to think of it.

These days I try to mostly buy Australian olive oil, for the sake of the reduction in food miles.

But I’m delighted to hear about the new Bertolli range and will use the light one for baking for sure.  I have a few recipes to try out, stand by.

 Would love to hear your favourite baking with olive oil recipes!

Happy baking.

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  1. Oh! I have never made this cake! I have only used olive in carrot cakes but your chocolate cake looks amazing! I love how you have decorated it with icing sugar, so simple and elegant 🙂

    1. says: Seana Smith

      I’ve got two of these doily thinngies… I didn’t do a huge close up of the cake but if you look you can see the knife mark where I tested it was ready. It’s ALL gone now, sadly.

  2. says: kirsty

    I’ll have to try this – it looks divine and cooking with good fat is a bonus! And I’d love the secret of the icing sugar – how did you get that lovely pattern?

    1. says: Seana Smith

      Hi Kirsty, it’s a doily type thinggy from a kitchen shop, make of stiffish plastic, by Martha Stewart. Am getting SO fancy.

  3. says: Jodie

    Wow! Seana this cake looks amazing! I have used olive oil in similar recipes & it is surprisingly good! What a great trick using the doily – love it!! 🙂

    1. says: Seana Smith

      I think that the doily could cover a multitude of cake sins… I will try sprinkling a mixture of icing sugar and cocoa over a vanilla songe next maybe. Your noodle salad sounds marvellous, will pop over later.

    1. says: Seana Smith

      I will have to ask you for some more recipes. Great to see your Christmas in July posts up there, great weather for some craft sessions.

    1. says: Seana Smith

      People who have tried it are really keen, I’ll definitely use it more, in recipes calling for veggie oil and will look out some more olive oil cake recipes too.

  4. says: Grace

    Interesting! I’ve used Canola Oil for baking muffins (A Nicole Avery – Planning with Kids recipe!) but never Olive Oil.
    This looks absolutely delish, though. I like the fact that it uses ground almond!

    1. says: Seana Smith

      I have googled for more recipes and there are quite a few, good to get in the good oils. The ground almond is a good addition and I will try it with coconut flour next. Happy Sunday night, Grace.

  5. says: Kirsty

    Back again! I just got around to baking this today and it was totally delicious. My little boy proclaimed it the ‘best cake ever’! Much thanks!

    1. says: Seana Smith

      Hooray!! So glad to hear it, I love hearing that cakes went well. AND I made a Retromummy cake yesterday and must pass on the love to her cos it was fab, a lemon cake. So easy too.

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