Tag Archives: Nigellissima

Chocolate Olive Oil Cake (gluten-free)

Chocolate Olive Oil Cake Revisited (8397)If you are one of those readers who likes to scour this blog for ideas you would know that I have already posted a photo of this simple beauty, sans recipe when I got Nigellissima to review. For all the criticism the book received, there are still valid recipes to be made from it and this particular one gets full marks from me. Incidentally recipes from Nigellissima are the most popular here. Since then, I have made this cake countless times without really thinking that it was gluten-free. Yes. It’s that good. So without thinking, when people were asking me for GF recipes I was stupidly stuck, actually stating that my Lime and Coconut Cake was my first ever recipe of the sort! I am Absentmindedness personified. I know it…and now you do too. I am rectifying this mistake by revisting the recipe, I made the cake again (there’s no cheating here) and took fresh pics, some better than others, and watch out because there will be more recipes of this kind hopefully very soon. Btw, just on a personal note, this is my 200th post on Chorizo & Thyme. I humbly thank you for your readership and friendship. Cheers to you!

Chocolate Olive Oil Cake Revisited (8391)

  • 50g good quality cocoa powder, sifted
  • 125ml boiling water
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 150g ground almonds*
  • ½ teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
  • pinch salt
  • 150ml regular olive oil
  • 200g golden caster sugar
  • 3 eggs

Grease a 22cm round cake tin** and line the bottom with parchment paper, and preheat the oven to 170ºC/Gas mark 3.

Into a jug or bowl, sift the cocoa powder and whisk in the boiling water until you get a runny, albeit smooth, just pasty mixture. Whisk in the vanilla extract and leave this to one side to let this mixture cool a little.

Mix together the ground almonds, bicarbonate of soda and salt. In a large mixing bowl tip in the sugar, olive oil and eggs and whisk or beat these with an electric beater until you have a pale yellow cream, light in texture.

While whisking, pour in the slightly cooled cocoa mixture. As soon as the mix turns evenly brown, slowly fold in the almond mix.

Pour the cake batter into the prepared tin and bake for around 45 minutes, until the centre of the cake looks a little damp and the sides are set, detached inwards from the tin itself.

Let the cake cool for a little while in the baking tin. Place on a cake dish and sprinkle away with icing sugar. It will approximately give you 12 slices.

This cake is light, soft and gooey, and very quick to make, with minimum fuss. My kind of recipe. Perfect with an espresso, or still warm with ice cream.

Chocolate Olive Oil Cake Revisited (8396)

*Nigella suggests substituting the ground almonds with 125g of flour for less crumb in the cake. I have tried this and it certainly works for the whole amount, half that or even with just a few grams. Of course don’t do this if you want the whole thing to be gluten-free. Personally I like almonds so these days I keep it as is. It would be useful, and I will do this soon, to try a similar recipe recently sent to me by a friend of mine. It calls for dark melted chocolate, instead of cocoa powder. With this she told me that toasted hazelnuts work well too. I will post something on this in the next few weeks.

**You can also use a springform cake tin but to be honest I’m not a big fan. I use them when I have to. For this recipe you don’t. So don’t worry and work with what you have. Adjust timings according to your oven and size of whatever round tin you usually use.

Chocolate Olive Oil Cake Revisited (8400)

All that remains to be said is…Enjoy!

Rob x

(Recipe adapted from Nigellissima, Chatto & Windus, 2012.)


Yogurt Pot Cake

Lemon and Yoghurt Cake (6556)

During a recent visit to Malta, I went through an old recipe file, still in storage. I wanted to find the very first cake I have ever baked. I flipped through the many sheets of neatly printed papers and there it was. Found it. You see, back in the days when I started to feel at home in the kitchen I was extremely methodical about keeping notes, writing and printing almost every recipe I tried. I had so much time on my hands, enough to feel really lonely…it was unbelievable. (My only regret is that I had no interest in blogging back then.) Alas, things have changed during the past few years and I have not been that good about organizing my notebooks. J came up with a strategy: there is a simple solution to all this, but to me it’s sounding more of a battle plan. So I am postponing what I should have done ages ago. Not good.

I digress so back to the cake. The precious paper (no rings here) contains a recipe for a “Yoghurt Cake”.  It has been ages since I made it so I won’t include it here; I might try it next week and take some pics. Right now I want to tell you about a similar bake, found in Nigellissima for another yogurt cake. Now I don’t know about you, but more often than not I tend to have a big pot of plain yogurt on the go in my fridge. I always get a 500g pot at the start of the week with the most basic, or rather, idealistic premise of a healthy breakfast. Of course, this plan goes completely awry by Wednesday, but not to worry: what remains of the pot goes into this cake. Well, 150 grams of it anyway!

When I bought Nigellissima, this was one of the recipes that caught my eye, and admittedly I thought that the savarin mould was irreplaceable. So this recipe was confined more towards the end of my list. However Nigella suggests using a 22/23cm springform pan, which I have; I just don’t like using it. So I used a normal non-stick round tin instead, which I still greased, and it worked well. (I always butter and flour non-stick pans when not using parchment paper.) A couple of weeks ago, I did get a savarin mould and I cannot wait to try it. I definitely will…very very soon…before my Maltese lemons run out. I’d better hurry! (If the lemons you have are not unwaxed, then don’t fret. Just rinse them with cold water, scrubbing them lightly as you go.*)

  • 150g plain yogurt
  • 150ml vegetable oil
  • 3 egg whites
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 250 golden caster sugar
  • 1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract
  • zest of ½ an unwaxed lemon*
  • 175g plain flour
  • 75g cornflour (or cornstarch)
  • 1 teaspoon icing sugar, for sprinkling on top of the cake before serving

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C/gas mark 4 and grease the savarin mould or the tin of your choosing.

Whisk the egg whites till you get firm peaks and set aside.

In another bowl, tip in the egg yolks and add the yogurt and sugar, and whisk these well until airy.

Now, slowly add the vegetable oil while mixing the yogurt mixture; then add the lemon zest and vanilla extract.

Fold in the flour and the cornstarch in two or three batches, making sure to scrape the sides of the bowl. When you have no lumps, stop mixing.

Gently fold the egg whites into the flour mixture. Keep it light. (It’s a bit like flicking and swishing a wand, if you’re a lovable show-off like Hermione.)

Tip the mixture into the greased cake tin or mould and bake for 30 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean. Place it on a rack to cool. I would wait for another 15 to 20 minutes to remove it from the mould. Serve after sprinkling it with the icing sugar.

Enjoy! R xx

(This recipe is adapted from Nigellissima, Chatto & Windus, London, 2012.)

Instant Chocolate and Orange Mousse recipe from “Nigellissima”


A little while ago I couldn’t stop saying good things about Nigella’s Chocolate and Orange Mousse. And I still am. I have also been receiving some messages from people asking me to give the recipe, since the link I gave from the Daily Mail has expired. I wasn’t sure about giving the recipe myself, one of the reasons being that I haven’t found it on nigella.com. I said that I would do that eventually though and after giving it some thought this is it. I would suggest, as always, and maybe more than usual, to read the recipe very carefully before attempting it. It’s not difficult. You just need to pay extra attention to some of the steps. It will be worth it, I promise. You will need:

  • 150g dark chocolate, finely chopped (minimum 70% cocoa solids)
  • 175g condensed milk
  • 500ml double cream
  • pinch salt (optional, but in this case I would suggest using it.)
  • 2 tablespoons orange liqueur
  • 2 tablespoons orange juice
  • zest of ½ an orange

Melt the chocolate in the microwave (or in a medium bowl over some simmering water).  With a spatula, scrape the chocolate from the sides of the bowl and make sure to stir the chocolate occasionally as it melts. Take off the heat and set aside to cool for a while.

In a medium-sized bowl pour in the condensed milk, *half* the quantity of double cream (i.e. 250ml) and a pinch of salt. Whisk (you can do this by hand) till the mixture has just thickened. You should have a fluffy trail of lines/ribbons.

Stir around one third of the whipped cream mixture you just made into the cooled melted chocolate. Don’t be afraid to use some force – nothing will happen to it at this stage.

However from now on you will have to be gentle. Slowly and gently fold the lightened chocolate mixture back into the remainder of the whipped cream.

Then, very gently stir the orange liqueur and the orange juice into the mixture. Divide into 6 ramekins or glasses (each of around 150ml capacity), but do not fill them to the top. You will need some more space for the rest of the whipped cream later on.

Place the containers in the fridge to set. Whip up the rest of the double cream until just before it forms soft peaks and put this also in the fridge in it’s bowl. Before serving, divide the cream on top of the six ramekins and top each one with the orange zest.

This recipe takes a bit of care and a little time, but you will want to make it again and again. (In moderation of course!) It is good. Enjoy!

Rob x

(Adapted from Nigelissima, Chatto & Windus, 2012.)

Nigella’s chocolate and olive oil cake from “Nigellissima”


When I purchased Nigellissima, this was the first recipe I wanted to try. I have previously come across other recipes with vegetable oil instead of butter as one of the basic elements of cake, but never olive oil. It could be that my reading isn’t extensive enough. Having said that this is somewhat of an unusual recipe. It really does work well though, and it has become very popular in this house. My lovely neighbour also told me it was “delicious” and I trust her judgement. Nigella’s recipe is great for those who are allergic to gluten, but you can also choose to replace the ground almonds with plain flour (the measurements of which she gives both in the book, and see the link below). I made it with almonds, as I always have a stash in my pantry, especially in the colder months when I make crumbles by the dozen. The almonds give extra moisture and oiliness to the cake, and by the end you should have something in between a sponge and a cake. If you want something easy but different this is the recipe you should go for, and it takes no time to prepare just before your guests arrive for lunch. Perhaps today for Halloween. All you need now is an espresso. A real one. Black and black.

Rob xx

Additional note (11.12. 2013): I have made this cake again and have posted new updated photos. Click here for the full recipe.

Instant Chocolate and Orange Mousse from “Nigellissima”


I wasn’t going to write about this recipe now, well at least for the coming few weeks, but yesterday I’ve noticed that some of my readers were looking for it through this blog. These days I found myself more and more drawn to Nigellissima; you see, even though it’s not my favourite book, I will always be a fan of Nigella, and I did say that the puddings and cakes in Nigellissima (or at least those that I have been making) are very very good. And I had no doubt about that. I will not be trying any more of the savoury stuff, just because in my humble opinion there are much better books out there which cater for the Italian foodie. So I don’t think you will find anything other than the puddings here, but that is not to say that I will never write about the other things, just because I cannot predict the future. You know I will always rave about the sweet stuff…

So one of my latest favourites is the Chocolate and Orange Mousse. Now don’t tell me that this is too sweet for you – the chapter is called Sweet Things so you have been warned. If you don’t want to faff about so much in the kitchen, or you just don’t have the necessary time (you really don’t need much though) to make the one in Nigella’s latest publication, you will find that the one in Express is very similar in richness, takes less time and ingredients to make, but will still give you great results. However I prefer the orange and chocolate one. Short cut ingredients may help you in the long run, but if you want to make something really really good you must take your time. I’m glad I tried this, and now I really don’t see the need for the mousse in Express anymore, just because this could just be *it*. It’s light, airy and fluffy, and the orange and chocolate combo reminds me of the festive season, so I will definitely make this again, perhaps for Christmas lunch. It just needs to sit in the fridge for a while, and you can also make it the day before so less stress. Individual portions also makes life a lot easier. Just what the doctor ordered. (It is also free of eggs, which is good to know for people with allergies.)

You can find the recipe here, on my blog. Enjoy!

Rob x