• Vanessa Bond

Olive Oil Chocolate Cake (Paleo)

Updated: Dec 27, 2021

This is 100% a Nigella Lawson recipe that our family has adopted as our own. It is "THE" cake we make for every family birthday and gathering.

All I can say to Nigella Lawson is "THANK YOU!" My daughter and I have food allergies and this cake recipe is a God send. This cake is also paleo-friendly for those looking to cut back on grains.

I describe it as a dense, dark chocolate European-style cake, but it's better than that.

I've tweaked Nigella's original recipe and the version we make is sugar free - we use stevia - and people are amazed by every decadent and delightful bite. We top with coconut whip cream or ice cream.


  • ⅔ cup regular olive oil (plus more for greasing)

  • 6 tablespoons good-quality unsweetened cocoa (sifted)

  • ½ cup boiling water

  • 2 teaspoons best vanilla extract

  • 1½ cups almond meal

  • ½ teaspoon baking soda

  • 1 pinch of salt

  • 1 cup superfine stevia (or sugar)

  • 3 large eggs


  1. Preheat your oven to 325ºF. Grease a 9inch cake pan (springform tin works well, but not necessary) with a little oil and line the base with baking parchment.

  2. Measure and sift the unsweetened cocoa into a bowl and whisk in the boiling water until you have a smooth, chocolatey, still runny paste. Whisk in the vanilla extract, then set aside to cool a little.

  3. In another bowl, combine the almond meal with the baking soda and pinch of salt.

  4. Put the sugar, olive oil and eggs into the bowl of a freestanding mixer with the paddle attachment (or other bowl and whisk arrangement of your choice - I use a hand mixer) and beat together vigorously for about 3 minutes until you have a pale-primrose, aerated and thickened cream.

  5. Turn the speed down a little and pour in the cocoa mixture, beating as you go, and when all is scraped in you can slowly tip in the ground almond mixture.

  6. Scrape down, stir, then pour into the prepared cake pan.

  7. Bake for 40-45 minutes or until the sides are set and the very centre, on top, still looks slightly damp. A cake tester should come up mainly clean but with a few sticky chocolate crumbs clinging to it. That's what makes it dense (not dry) inside.

  8. Let it cool for 10 minutes on a wire rack. If you're using a springform pan, ease the sides of the cake with a small metal spatula and spring it out of the tin. In my world, I simply let the cake cool in the pan. When I'm ready to pull out, I simply take a spatula around the sides (to make sure nothing is sticking), put a plate on top and flip the mixture upside down so the cake lands centred on the plate (the parchment paper helps release).

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