Dark Chocolate Olive Oil Cake

This olive oil cake is the perfect treat for dark chocolate lovers. It's not too sweet, deeply chocolatey, and delicious with a dollop of cardamom cream.

Dark Chocolate Olive Oil Cake

We sold our house yesterday. In case you haven’t heard, Jack and I are moving(!?), and lately I’ve been feeling a really mixed bag of emotions about it. We left Austin a few weeks ago and are spending the summer temporarily in Chicago (living with my parents – so glamorous!) until we find a new place to call home. We’re excited for a new adventure, but of course, it’s always sad leaving homes and friends (and kitchens! aahh, what am I doing!) behind. Don’t worry, the blog isn’t going anywhere – I have tons of new recipes and other special projects in the works. I’ve been cooking up a storm here in my mom’s kitchen, which is especially helpful because she washes all the dishes in my wake :). Hi, my name is Jeanine and I’m 38 going on 12.

So… umm… it’s cake time! I’m not sure it’s celebration cake or sadness cake, but either way – it’s cake! I’m not always big on desserts, but sometimes I just need some “it’s-all-going-to-be-ok” chocolate cake.

Dark Chocolate Olive Oil Cake

This recipe comes from the new book Simple Fare: Spring/Summer by Karen Mordechai of Sunday Suppers, whom I’ve been a fan of for years. Karen describes this cake as “a balance of sweet and savory.” I have to say – this one is for all of you dark chocolate lovers out there. It’s not overly sweet, but it’s deeply chocolate-y. The olive oil gives it a rich flavor but the cake itself is surprisingly light. She tops it with cardamom whipped cream (the recipe is below), but I used some whipped coconut cream that I had on hand instead.

Dark Chocolate Olive Oil Cake

The book is a gorgeous oversized cookbook that feels like an art book. The book is aptly titled “Spring/Summer” as the recipes are highly seasonal (a Fall/Winter volume is coming later). At first glance, the recipes seem very simple (hence the name of the book!) but dig in and you’ll see that each recipe includes 2 or 3 clever “market variations” where Karen suggests altering just a few ingredients to change the recipe’s flavor profile. The book isn’t vegetarian, but there are a lot of vegetable-based recipes (not so many vegan ones), and overall tons of inspiration. I love the way Karen describes her collection of recipes: “food as it should be: nuanced, bright and gorgeous.”

Dark Chocolate Olive Oil Cake

I can hardly wait to have a coffee table again so I can display this beauty 🙂

Dark Chocolate Olive Oil Cake

This olive oil cake recipe isn’t vegan, but if you’re looking for a good vegan chocolate cake recipe, try this traditional one or this chocolate zucchini cake.

4.9 from 28 reviews

Dark Chocolate Olive Oil Cake

Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Dark Chocolate Olive Oil Cake From Simple Fare: Spring and Summer by Karen Mordechai. Reprinted with permission from the publisher.
Recipe type: Dessert
Serves: 8
  • ¾ cup (180ml) extra-virgin olive oil, more for greasing the pan
  • ½ cup (70g) good-quality unsweetened cocoa powder
  • ½ cup (120ml) boiling water
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1⅓ cups (165g) all-purpose flour
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 cup (195g) super fine sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • Cyprus flake salt (or flaky sea salt)
For the cardamom cream:
  • ½ cup (120ml) heavy cream (I used whipped coconut cream)
  • ½ teaspoon ground cardamom
For serving:
  • 1 teaspoon dried rose petals (I skipped)
  • ½ cup (65 g) chopped unsalted pistachios
  1. Preheat the oven to 325°F (165°C). Grease a 9-inch (23-cm) springform baking pan with a little olive oil and line the base with parchment paper.
  2. Sift the cocoa into a medium bowl and whisk in the boiling water until smooth. Whisk in the vanilla, then set aside to cool slightly. In a separate large bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, and salt.
  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat together the sugar, olive oil, and eggs until you have a light, fluffy cream, about 3 minutes.
  4. Turn the speed on the mixer down and pour in the cocoa and vanilla mixture. Slowly add the our mixture until it is evenly incorporated, stopping the mixer and scraping down the bowl as necessary.
  5. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and sprinkle with flaky salt. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until the sides are set and the top of the cake still looks slightly moist. A cake tester inserted into the center should come out clean or with just a few crumbs on it. Let cool in the pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes.
  6. While the cake is baking, in a chilled metal or glass bowl using a hand mixer, beat the cream on medium speed until soft peaks form, about 4 minutes. Add the cardamom and beat until stiff peaks form, about 1 to 2 minutes more. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.
  7. Run a knife around the edge of the cake and release the sides of the pan. Transfer the cake to a serving plate or cake stand. Sprinkle with more flaky salt. Serve each slice with a dollop of the cardamom cream and a sprinkling of rose petals, pistachios, and flaky salt.
Market Variations: replace the cardamom cream, rose petals and pistachios with:
Variation 1: macadamia / violet / creme fraich
Variation 2: hazelnut / hibiscus / mascarpone



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Rate this recipe (after making it):  

  1. I would definitely have a slice of this (or two) for breakfast!! A chocolate masterpiece!

  2. Jennifer

    Hi! I made this on Friday (minus the topping). Loves the flavor, but my cake was dry. Any suggestions on what I can do to make it moist?

    • Jeanine Donofrio

      I’d try baking it a tad less – mine was pretty moist and there’s already enough oil in the recipe that it shouldn’t be dry. Hope that helps!

  3. Elizabeth England

    Hi Jeanine. Im a fan of Karen’s “Sunday Suppers” cookbook and, of course, Love and Lemons. This sounded perfect as a light but chocolately cake for c lebrating a friend’s birthday after a dinner of make your own pizza in our outdoor oven. The bake was perfect, but I thought I would let you know that the cake needed overnight to develop flavor and the unctuous olive texture. Last night it tasted like angel food cake. Today, like heaven. Served it with a lemon Sultana marmelata mascarpone. Wishing you good luck with the move!

  4. Laura from grillyourlife.com

    I am going to make it!!!! Looks awesome!!!
    Thank Jeanine!

  5. Kelly Mahan

    That cake sure looks good! And unlike you, I’m a huge huge dessert fan, I’ll try this recipe and I’m pretty sure it will go in my top favorites. Liked this post a lot 🙂

  6. Pam

    OMG, I love olive oil cakes.
    And, I love olive oil chocolate (bars).
    This is going to be excellent.

  7. elsie from procurement.uonbi.ac.ke

    Great stuff! I love the book

  8. Ah Jeanine, I hear you about the mixed back of emotions with moving. We’ve done it far too often as expats. It’s always bittersweet. But then after the transition period, things always seem to look up and we settle in well once again. Wishing you guys the same. And this cake and book! Gaaah!

    • Jeanine Donofrio

      Aw, thanks Katie for the hopeful outlook 🙂

  9. Lauren

    Hi Jeanine! I was excited thinking you may move to Chicago since I love local recommendations of my favorite bloggers. Do you know what region you are moving to after the summer?

    • Jeanine Donofrio

      We’re planning to get to the Bay area in the fall – we’ll see! I’ll probably be posting some Chicago recommendations before the summer is over 🙂

  10. pam

    Hi! This looks stunning! Love the ingredients! Can you sub all purpose flour for almond meal or another gluten free option? And if so how much would you recommend.Thanks!

    • Jeanine Donofrio

      Hi Pam, I’m not sure without trying – can you let me know if you give an alteration a go?

      • pam

        Will do! Thanks for the reply!

  11. Dee vadera

    Wishing you all the very best with your next phase! Make the most of being with mom too!
    Will try the cake as soon as. Looks yum.

    • Jeanine Donofrio

      Thanks Dee!

  12. D. Cullington

    This make be a silly question, but, can you substitute avocados for olive oil? We have an abundance of them from our trees, and I know the oils are so good for you. The nutty flavor is an added plus. Thanks.

    • Jeanine Donofrio

      I couldn’t say without trying it – let me know if you give it a go! 🙂

  13. Gemma from cinnamongirldelights.blogspot.com

    This cake looks divine and the pictures are so beautiful, as usual! 🙂
    Can’t wait to see some pics of your new home, especially the kitchen! Sending you lots of good luck vibes, I’m sure you will find a great place to call home. In the meantime, enjoy your time with your parents and cherish every moment.


    • Jeanine Donofrio

      Thanks Gemma! 🙂

  14. This sounds delicious! I love to bake with olive oil (prefer it over coconut oil actually); it adds such a nice flavor.

    • Jeanine Donofrio

      I’m starting to bake with olive oil more and more… you’re right, I love coconut oil, but olive oil has such a nice flavor too.

  15. Robyne

    This cake looks and sounds ah-mazing! Yum! Making this for Father’s Day… But maybe going to have to make a practice one first.. You know it is dark chocolate… Sorry you’re moving:( that can be difficult… but think of the new adventures ahead of you… and the new people you’ll meet.. There’s always something interesting and special wherever you go. Enjoy every moment!

    • Jeanine Donofrio

      Thanks Robyne, I hope you enjoy (both) cakes!

  16. Alexa

    This looks delicious; can’t wait to try it! Just a heads up you’re missing the “r” in “cocoa powder” in the ingredients list. 🙂

    • Jeanine Donofrio

      thank you!

  17. christine from mynaturalkitchenblog.com

    Dark chocolate, olive oil, cardamon … such favourites, I love the sound of this cake. I hope it’s doing it’s job for you! I totally understand those mixed emotions. Take care, and good luck with the new home search! xo

    • Jeanine Donofrio

      Thank you Christine!

  18. Esther

    The cake looks delicious and since I love dark chocolate I will give it a try.
    Thank you for sharing. Have a beautiful Sunday.
    Love, Esther

  19. Looks gorgeous! I recently moved to Chicago – I’m discovering it’s lots of fun in the summer. This winter was a little meh 🙂 Have you gone to the Green City Market? They have a chef’s BBQ in July that I went to last year, before we moved here, and it was such a highlight. Hope you enjoy the rest of your time in Chicago!

    • Jeanine Donofrio

      Ha, the winter is definitely meh! (we’re hoping to leave before then). I haven’t been to the Green City Market but I’ll have to check it out. We love the Logan Square Farmers Market.

  20. JoAz

    This would be great for Father’s Day desert I’m planning a dinner for my husband the father of pups! Do you have a favorite brand of coconut cream? I was reading 📖 another blog yesterday & folks were having issues with the traders joes coconut milk and a few others.
    Good luck with the move I hope you find a wonderful place to live & find peace & happiness. Thankyou for your wonderful blog.

    • Jeanine Donofrio

      Yea they’ve been inconsistent lately, it seems like – I had a can of Thai Brand Coconut Cream (not coconut milk), but it was still a little watery. I’ve had the best success with Whole Foods 365 Brand full fat Coconut Milk, as long as I remember to put them in the fridge the night before.

A food blog with fresh, zesty recipes.
Photograph of Jeanine Donofrio and Jack Mathews in their kitchen

Hello, we're Jeanine and Jack.

We love to eat, travel, cook, and eat some more! We create & photograph vegetarian recipes from our home in Chicago, while our shiba pups eat the kale stems that fall on the kitchen floor.