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Chocolate Olive Oil Cake

10 to 12 Servings

1¼ hours 35 minutes active, plus cooling

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This rustic chocolate cake is made with two surprising ingredients: olive oil and lemon juice. Extra-virgin olive oil lends fruity, peppery flavor notes. For a less prominent flavor, use light olive oil (“light” indicates the oil is refined, not lower in fat). You could even use a combination of oils—for example, a robust extra-virgin olive oil tempered with a little neutral oil. The lemon juice brings a brightness that balances the richness of the oil and chocolate, and its acidity reacts with the baking soda to provide lift. We prefer the deeper, darker color that Dutch-processed cocoa gives the cake, but natural cocoa works fine, too, if that’s what you have on hand. Serve with lightly sweetened whipped cream or with ice cream or gelato. Store leftovers well wrapped at room temperature for up to three days.

10 to 12



Don’t overbake the cake. Be sure to test it by inserting a toothpick into the center; it should come out with a few moist crumbs attached, as if baking brownies. Don’t be alarmed when the center of the cake deflates as it cools; this is normal.

1¼ hours

35 minutes active, plus cooling


  • 43

    grams (⅓ cup) all-purpose flour

  • ½

    teaspoon baking soda


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Maria S.
December 18, 2022
For chocolate lovers
The first time I made this recipe, the center was a little underbake. It was sort of like the interior of a molten lava chocolate cake, still tasty. I couldn't use espresso (can't have caffeine), so I used a really good cocoa. Overall, the dessert was very good. I served it with some fresh fruit and whip cream on the side.
Gregoor P.
February 15, 2024
Lemon Juice Made Cake Sour
This is a fairly easy chocolate cake to make, but I thought the addition of the lemon juice made the flavor too acidic and it had an off flavor. The texture, however, was perfect.
Sara N.
February 12, 2023
Bittersweet chocolate?
I actually just have a question about the bittersweet chocolate. I found I have some that says 70% cacao and some that says 100% cacao. Which would be better to use?
Don P.
October 16, 2022
Sophisticated Winner
This cake loooked so wonderful on the show, I had to try it. After reading the comments, I made a single change. I substituted the extra tablespoons of lemon juice with a tablespoon and half of water. Otherwise, I followed the recipe precisely and used the Dutch process cocoa. The result was a lovely, moist cake with deep chocolate notes and a hint of lemon that is surprising but similar to the espresso with lemon peel effect. I don’t know if my substitution affected the flavor at all, I do know I love this cake— it is unusual but in a welcome way.
Cindy S.
February 10, 2024
sounds wonderful
Haven't made it yet. I was wondering if this recipe will work with almond flour.
Brady S.

This was not my favourite chocolate cake - I much preferred the stovetop chocolate cake or the Swedish sticky chocolate cake from Milk Street. It's possible my olive oil was tasteless, but I couldn't detect it, and the lemon overpowered the chocolate taste, for me.

Joshua A.

I agree 100% with Brady S. There are so many wonderful recipes on Milk Street, but this was not my (or my family's) favorite. Although the texture was very interesting, the cake was quite bitter and too lemony. Ice cream helped. I used a more neutral olive oil, and I'm glad I did--I think if I had used a richer olive oil, it might have accentuated the bitterness.

Diana L.

This was a good cake. My kid loved it. You do taste a bit of lemon (just slightly). I did not have light olive oil, so I have put half of grade seed oil and half extra virgin olive oil. When I have tasted it before baking, it tasted like olive oil. I was actually afraid it will taste like that after baking. It did not. Overall, its an easy cake to make and its delicious. One thing about mine, it did not look like on the picture. It did not deflate in the center as much. I wonder why???