I am always curious to try new chocolate cake recipes, especially those that don’t require a hundred ingredients or have a 20-step method that would take over the whole of Sunday. A good chocolate cake needs to be moist but airy, which is so hard to achieve when you normally bake with butter, but it should also have weight. Vegetable oil, and in particular mild olive oil, make cakes exceptionally fluffy, but I find they tend to lack flavour. This cake has the best of both worlds. By making the cake with oil, and dissolving the cocoa powder in boiling water to turn it into a paste that you then incorporate into the eggs, you get a fluffy texture with some density, and a dark chocolate taste that isn’t sickly. And by using butter for the frosting, you get the rich and creamy chocolate flavour that elevates this cake and turns it into a celebratory one.
For the cake:
50g cocoa powder
125 ml boiling water
150 ml mild olive oil
200 g caster sugar 3 large free-range eggs ½ tsp vanilla extract 150 g gluten-free (or normal) self-rising flour
For the chocolate buttercream icing:
75g icing sugar
20g cocoa powder
1 tbsp. hot water
1. Preheat the oven to 170°C/325F and line the base of a 22cm/9inch cake tin with baking parchment.
2. Place the cocoa powder in a bowl, add the boiling water and vanilla extract and stir with a wooden spoon until you have a smooth paste. Set aside.
3. In a separate bowl, put the olive oil, sugar and eggs and whisk vigorously until you have a thick, bubbly and pale batter. Pour a third of the cocoa mixture and continue to whisk, until well incorporated; add the rest of the cocoa mixture while whisking.
4. Incorporate the flour and whisk at low-speed. Pour the batter into the cake tin and bake for 30 minutes, or until a skewer comes out clean. Leave to cool down completely before transferring onto a plate.
Chocolate buttercream icing
1. Beat the butter, icing sugar and hot water in a large bowl until fluffy and smooth. If the icing is too stiff, add a little bit more hot water, if it’s too runny, just add some more icing sugar and whisk.
2. Spread the buttercream icing on top of the cake.