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Recipe: Chocolate Olive Oil Cake

Updated: Apr 14, 2021

Our recipe this week is inspired by one of our participants from Somalia who told me her son was turning three and she wanted to learn how to make a cake for him. Cake is one of those things that seems to be universal in some form or another. While they are often the centerpiece of a celebration such as a birthday, they also are quite common in many middle eastern cultures as an accompaniment to afternoon tea. While American cakes are often loaded down with mountains of frosting, many of the cakes found in these cultures are much more restrained, with a light sweetness.

For this birthday cake however we wanted something simple, yet celebratory and easy to put together as we are a busy kitchen with lots to do! So, I turned to a Chocolate Olive Oil Cake recipe that I have used over and over again as it is easy to put together, super moist, and decadent all at the same time. This recipe can be executed start to finish in 45 minutes (with most of that being baking time) and uses ingredients most people already have in their pantry. While you can fancy it up with toppings and decorations it also makes a quick, indulgent dessert if you're just feeling a chocolate craving. To top it all off, this recipe also happens to be Vegan without sacrificing any flavor. In fact, I think it has a richer chocolate flavor as there is no eggs or dairy to dilute the flavor of the chocolate. The key is to use a good quality cocoa powder as it will be the dominant flavor!

Chocolate Olive Oil Cake

1 ½ Cups AP Flour

¾ Cup Cocoa Powder

1 ½ teaspoons Baking Soda

½ teaspoon Salt

1 ½ Cups Sugar

½ Cup Olive Oil – Either Extra Virgin or regular Olive Oil is fine

1 ½ Cups Hot Water or Coffee (Coffee will add an extra layer of flavor)

1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract

1 Tablespoon Vinegar (Any kind will do


  1. Grease a 9 inch round cake pan or 9 inch springform pan. Cut a circle of parchment paper to fit the pan and place in the bottom. Grease the paper.

  2. Preheat oven to 350F

  3. In a large bowl whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, salt, and sugar.

  4. Whisk in the olive oil, hot water or coffee, vanilla, and vinegar. Whisk until you have a smooth batter.

  5. Pour into the prepared pan and place in the oven.

  6. Bake approximately 30 – 35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.

  7. Set aside to cool completely

  8. Carefully invert cake onto a cutting board or baking pan.

  9. Cut and serve as is or top with frosting or just a little powdered sugar. This cake can be covered and refrigerated or frozen for later use.

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