In some old notebook, on some crinkled, doodled-upon page, I have a list of dishes and categories that Phoebe and I brainstormed at a BGSK meeting early last fall. In addition to “lasagna,” and “vodka sauce,” “apple pancakes,” and “chicken tikka masala,” under the heading of Classic Comfort Food I wrote “more everyday cakes.”
Because I used to make everyday cakes, from apple crumb coffee cake to banana chocolate chip bread, cakes that you cut a slice of in the afternoon or evening–or in the morning–and eat with milk, ice cream, or a cup of coffee, respectively. And then I stopped, partly because Alex asked me to, and partly because I had leapt out of sweet toothdom and into an odd savory period of my life.
With Valentine’s Day next week, we owe it to you to write about romance, and when it comes to romance, chocolate is king…savory stuff be damned. As you probably know though, when it comes to baking for Alex, sweets without butter or milk are queen. When I’m browsing chocolate recipes in cookbooks, on the other hand, dairy-less dishes are not necessary what gets bookmarked in the sweets section. Without butter and cream, many chocolate desserts tend to lose their gooeyness, which is half of what we chocoholics love about them in the first place.
But recently, looking for an everyday cake, this recipe from Food and Wine caught my eye.
It has the same kind of charm as my old recipe for Wake-up Cocoa Quickbread–back from my baking-heavy days. It’s not terribly sweet, and the olive oil lends the cake a subtle fruitiness that amplifies the chocolate and makes this cake adaptable for any time of day. While there’s no reason you have to wait for a special occasion to bake this (isn’t that the definition of everyday cake?), if you bake it for dessert on Valentine’s Day, I recommend you eat it still warm with a scoop of ice cream in a particularly gooey flavor, like dulce de leche or coffee.
From my kitchen, getting back into chocolate cakes, to yours,
Cara, THE QUARTER-LIFE COOK
Chocolate Olive Oil Cake
(Barely) adapted from Food and Wine
1/2 cup cocoa powder (I used Valrhona Dutch-processed)
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
Ice cream–I like coffee, but pick your favorite chocolate pairing!
Preheat the oven to 325°F. 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.
Sift the cocoa powder into a small bowl (you can skip this step, but you’ll have to stir it more vigorously). 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.
In another bowl, mix together the flour, salt, and baking soda and set aside.
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.
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.
Dust the top of the cake with confectioners’ sugar (I like to use a strainer). Then serve wedges with generous scoops of ice cream.