Chocolate Olive Oil Cake

Inspired by our beloved Original Cake Pan Cake, this dairy-free recipe is made with cake flour for a super-tender crumb. The olive oil does double duty: it beautifully complements the chocolate, and enhances the cake’s overall flavor. The unique chocolate crackle topping not only provides added texture but also a flavorful finish (thanks to PJ Hamel for the inspiration!). Made with everyday ingredients, this cake is destined to become part of your everyday snacking. 

10 mins
24 to 28 mins
1 hr
one 9” square cake
Chocolate Olive Oil Cake - select to zoom
Chocolate Olive Oil Cake - select to zoom
Chocolate Olive Oil Cake - select to zoom
Chocolate Olive Oil Cake - select to zoom


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  1. Preheat your oven to 350°F. Lightly grease a 9” square pan.

  2. To make the cake: In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, cocoa powders, salt, and baking soda.

  3. In a separate bowl, whisk together the vanilla, vinegar, olive oil, water, and eggs. Pour the wet ingredients into the bowl of dry ingredients, stirring until thoroughly combined. Pour the batter into the prepared pan.

  4. Bake the cake for 24 to 28 minutes, until a toothpick or paring knife inserted into the center comes out clean, or with a few moist crumbs clinging to it.

  5. To make the topping: While the cake is baking, pulse the chocolate in a food processor until finely ground. Stir in the granulated sugar and mix to combine. If you don’t have a food processor (or blender), you can simply chop the chocolate by hand; try to chop it as finely as possible before mixing in the granulated sugar.

  6. Immediately after the cake is done, sprinkle the ground chocolate mixture evenly over the top of the hot cake. Sprinkle sparkling sugar on top of the chocolate mixture, if desired.

  7. Return the cake to the oven for about a minute, just until the topping starts to settle in and melt slightly.

  8. Remove the cake from the oven and allow it to cool to the touch before placing it in the refrigerator just until the chocolate topping is set, about 10 to 15 minutes.

  9. Storage information: Store the cake, well covered, at room temperature for several days; freeze for longer storage.

Tips from our Bakers

  • This cake’s topping is a good chance for you to tweak the recipe to taste. Semisweet chips will yield a softer topping than bittersweet chips, due to their higher sugar content. Chips (thanks to the addition of lecithin) won’t melt as much as wafers; and chocolate buzzed to powder in the food processor will melt and settle more than hand-chopped chocolate. We have even been known to grind up and use various flavored chocolate bars and assorted chocolates from a gift box — but it’s all good! No matter what chocolate you use or how you chop it, you’ll be rewarded with a unique topping.