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Chocolate Olive Oil Cake

Cake makes me happy. I don't mean a cream-laden, frosting-filled cake. I mean a simple, moist cake that tastes like its supposed to. With no added embellishments. Sometimes when I'm sick of the brulees, mousses and tarts, I want to eat cake. Uncomplicated. Flavourful.

I love cake that has been left to mature overnight. I love cake for breakfast. My favourite all-purpose cake is a loaf of chocolate cake that's been dusted with some vanilla sugar. It reminds me of my childhood. Of an easier time, of an easier life.

So when my friend R landed a day after her birthday, I was pretty certain the kind of cake I'd want to bake for her. Considering I was limited to chocolate because that's all she likes and was slightly constricted for time, since I'd come back home so late, I decided to make this chocolate olive oil cake, that had been playing on my mind for some days now.

The cake took me all of 5 minutes to put together. Especially since I'd halved the recipe, because there were only some 5 of us who were to eat it. I used this piggy cake pan that my sister had bought for me and should have really greased the silicon a bit, because one ear and eye didn't quite come out the way I'd have liked it to. I wish there was some ice cream to go with it, but a dusting of icing sugar was quite enough.

The olive oil made the cake moist and gave it a very tender crumb and I know that it would have tasted better the next day, but unfortunately there were no leftovers to test this theory. That said, my sister told me it reminded her of this cake we'd eat while growing up. I'm going to be baking this cake super soon. And will definitely rest it for a couple of hours before allowing anyone to touch it. But like, that's ever going to happen.

Chocolate Olive Oil Cake
Adapted from Fine Cooking

1/2 cup cocoa powder
1 teaspoons. vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon espresso powder
1 cup flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
3 large eggs plus 1 egg yolk, at room temperature
2/3 cup olive oil (no need to use extra virgin, but if it’s all that you have it’ll work fine)
1 1/3 cups sugar
1/4 cup confectioners’ sugar for dusting

1. Preheat the oven to 180 degree centigrade. Generously oil a 9-inch springform cake pan with olive oil and line the bottom of the pan with a round of parchment. Oil the paper too.
2. Sift the cocoa powder into a small bowl . Pour about 6 tablespoons of boiling water over the cocoa and mix until it’s smooth and glossy–you can add another tablespoon or two if necessary. Stir in the vanilla and espresso powder. Set aside to cool slightly.
3. In another bowl, mix together the flour, salt, and baking soda and set aside.
4. In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the eggs and yolk, olive oil, and sugar. Beat on medium high until lightened and thickened, about 2 minutes. Reduce the speed to low and gradually add the cocoa mixture (make sure it’s not hot), mixing until it’s well combined, scraping down the sides of the bowl once. In a few additions mix in the dry ingredients until just combined, scraping down the sides of the bowl.
5. Pour the batter into the cake pan and bake in the center of the oven until a toothpick comes out with a few moist crumbs clinging to it but with no wet batter, about 50 minutes. Put the pan on a rack and carefully run an offset spatula around the inside edge, then release the springform on the cake. Let cool for 10 minutes. Using a second rack to sandwich the cake pan, flip the pan over. Carefully lift the pan from the cake, gently peel off and discard the paper liner, and let the cake cool completely.
6. Dust the top of the cake with confectioners’ sugar.

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