This Olive Oil Chocolate Cake is extremely easy to make, while yielding the smoothest, richest and most velvety chocolate snack cake you will ever meet!
I have to admit chocolate cake is my absolute guilty pleasure. I love a fancy layer cake, but I know we all need an easy-to-make cake recipe that doesn’t compromise on taste or texture. And this chocolate olive oil cake delivers!
Ingredients and Substitution
Here are some notes on the ingredients used in this recipe along with substitution tips. A full list with quantities can be found in the recipe card at the end of this post.
- Flour – all purpose flour is used in this recipe. If you want a gluten free version, try a gluten free all-purpose flour that can be substituted in the same ratio.
- Leavening agents – both baking powder and baking soda are used in this recipe. Baking soda neutralizes the acids (sour cream and coffee). Baking powder gives it another lift while in the oven.
- Cocoa powder – I always prefer dutch-processed cocoa powder because it tends to yield a more chocolaty flavor, but natural cocoa powder will work in this recipe just as well since we’ll enhance it with coffee.
- Sour cream – you can use yogurt or buttermilk instead.
- Olive oil – I used extra virgin olive oil. You won’t be able to taste the olive oil in this cake because the chocolate flavor is much stronger, but it will give a very soft velvety mouthfeel to your cake.
- Coffee – hot coffee added to chocolate cake batter can help improve the chocolate flavor 2 folds: one, it helps the cocoa powder bloom and two, coffee enhances the flavor of chocolate. If you don’t want to use coffee, you can use hot water, but you may not get as intensed a chocolate flavor.
- Sugar, salt and vanilla extract – for flavor.
- Just 1 egg to bind everything together.
- Cream – heavy whipping cream or double cream with high fat content 36-40% for the ganache topping.
- Chocolate – I prefer Ghirardelli dark chocolate wafers for the best flavor, sweetness and texture overall. This chocolate wafer has about 45-50% cocoa, so it is not too sweet and not too bitter. It yields a softer ganache as compared to one made with chocolate chips. You could use semi-sweet chocolate chips, but since chips have a stabilizer so they don’t melt as readily when baked, the ganache will set up harder.
Step by Step Instructions
Make the olive oil chocolate cake batter
- Sift together flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and baking powder.
- Add sugar and kosher salt (sugar and salt have larger grains and will not pass through the sieve).
- Whisk to distribute evenly.
- Add olive oil, egg, sour cream and vanilla extract to a large mixing bowl.
- Beat with a whisk until combined and creamy.
- Add the dry ingredients mixture.
- Fold until combined (use a spatula in this step because the batter will be quite thick).
- Add hot coffee (if you can stir while adding the coffee, it would be best. A stand mixer would be convenient in this step or just put your mixing bowl on a thick towel to keep it from moving while pouring coffee with one hand and whisking with the other.)
- Mix with a whisk until thoroughly combined.
- Pour cake batter into an oiled and lined cake pan (the batter is quite thin at this point, it is normal).
- Bake until a toothpick inserted in the middle of the cake comes out clean with just a few crumbs attached.
Make the chocolate ganache topping
- Pour hot cream over chocolate and pats of butter in a medium mixing bowl.
- Let the mixture stand for a minute before stirring. Stir gently until all the chocolate has melted, avoid incorporating too much air into the ganache.
- Stir in a pinch of salt and a splash of vanilla extract.
When the cake is cool to the touch and the ganache has cooled and thickened slightly, spread the ganache on top of the cake. Refrigerate to allow the ganache to solidify before removing the entire cake from the pan and serve. You could also leave the cake in the pan and serve it from the pan. If you bake this cake in a glass pan with a lid, it would be perfect for storing leftovers.
Chocolate ganache is not only super easy to make, it’s also rich, chocolaty and delicious. I wouldn’t have this cake any other way. But you can also make it with other frosting, try these if you wish:
- Swiss Meringue Chocolate Buttercream
- American Style Chocolate Buttercream Frosting
- Or a coffee buttercream from this Mocha Cake recipe
Can I make a larger batch?
You can double the recipe and bake it in a 9”x13” cake pan. This would be perfect for a work potluck or to take to a family get together.
Storing olive oil chocolate cake
Leftover cake should be refrigerated since the ganache topping has cream and butter in it. This cake also freezes beautifully. I recommend dividing the cake into individual portions, wrapping them in plastic then freezing. You can defrost a single slice whenever you have a chocolate craving.
More chocolate recipes
- Mini Chocolate Cake
- Peanut Butter Chocolate Cake
- Chocolate Muffins
- The Best Ever Brownies
- Chocolate Mochi
Olive Oil Chocolate Cake
- 1 cup all-purpose flour (135 g)
- ½ cup cocoa powder (dutch-processed or natural, 46 g)
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- 1 cup granulated sugar (200 g)
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 large egg
- ½ cup sour cream (116 g)
- ½ cup olive oil (105 g)
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- ½ cup hot coffee (111 g)
- Olive oil for cake pan
- 1 ⅓ cup dark chocolate wafers (or semisweet chips, 227 g)
- 1 cup heavy whipping cream (227 g)
- 2 tablespoon unsalted butter (28 g)
- A few pinches of fine sea salt
- ¼ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Make the cake
- Preheat the oven to 350°F.
- Brush olive oil on the bottom and sides of an 8” square baking pan. Line the pan with parchment paper and brush the parchment paper with olive oil as well. Set aside.
- Sift together flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and baking powder into a medium mixing bowl. Add sugar and salt to the flour mixture, and mix thoroughly with a whisk.
- Add sour cream, olive oil, eggs, and vanilla extract to a large bowl. Beat with a whisk until combined.
- Add the flour mixture to the liquid mixture, and mix with a spatula until a thick batter forms. Add the hot coffee and whisk until combined.
- Pour the cake batter into the prepared cake pans and bake for 25-30 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the middle of the cake comes out clean with just a few crumbs attached.
- Allow the cake to cool on a wire rack completely before removing from the pan and adding frosting.
Prepare the frosting
- Cut butter into small cubes and add to a small heatproof bowl with the chocolate.
- Heat cream in a small saucepan over medium heat until simmering. Pour hot cream over the chocolate and butter and let stand for about a minute.
- Stir the mixture with a spatula until the chocolate is completely melted, and the ganache is smooth.
- Add a pinch of salt and a splash of vanilla, stir to incorporate. Allow the ganache to cool at room temperature until thickened.
- When the cake is completely cool and the ganache has thickened, spread the ganache on top of the cake and serve.
- I made this recipe with both chocolate wafers and chocolate chips. The ganache made with chocolate wafers will stay a bit softer while the one made with chocolate chips solidifies quicker and also harder. Both are good but I prefer the wafer version.
- It takes about 1 ½ hours for the ganache made with chocolate chips to thicken but still spreadable, and longer for the one made with chocolate wafers.
- If you don’t want to use coffee, you can substitute hot water, but this may weaken the chocolate flavor.
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