One of the most enjoyable parts of creating this blog has been spending more time in my home. Before I felt as if I was obligated to leave and interact with the outside world as a means of happiness. But I find that I am most content in my apartment with my husband, Jacob. My favorite mornings are ones spent with cups of coffee, classical music, and enjoying the view of the lake from my window.
This is not to say that I don't enjoy any human interactions. I would rather have fewer, but more meaningful, ones. The world itself is constantly so busy and I find myself getting stressed by all of it. I realized, however, that if I make an effort to slow down my day to day activities, the world itself won't seem as chaotic.
As a result of spending more time at home, my itch for creating new recipes has intensified. I buy a new issue of Cook's Illustrated every week and try out multiple recipes from it. I often use food magazines or old cookbooks as inspiration for new recipes. I like to start out with a classic recipe and add a new flavor to it. Lately I have been itching to remake one of my old recipes and I landed on this Dark Chocolate Olive Oil Bundt Cake.
Being half Italian, I have always used olive oil for most of my cooking. I rarely buy any other kind of oil unless I need to fry something. I use it when I sear steak or chicken, to drizzle over pasta, and even for my fried or scrabbled eggs in the morning. So, since I love it so much I figured why not bake with it! Olive oil has such a rich, buttery, grassy, and harmonious flavor. I also have an intense love for dark chocolate so I thought the two would be a perfect pair. In most recipes you can use olive oil as a substitute for canola, vegetable, or any other oil a recipe may call for.
I kept the recipe simple. You don't need any fancy ingredients, only things you probably already have on hand. Flour, sugar, salt, cocoa powder, instant espresso powder, baking soda + powder, eggs, milk, and of course, olive oil! The instant espresso powder isn't 100% necessary but I highly recommend adding it. You don't taste the espresso but it adds a depth of flavor and compliments the cocoa powder perfectly.
This is a pretty simple recipe and you only need two(!!!) bowls to mix everything. Clean up is quick and easy-- a must for me. I would say that the hardest part is preparing your bundt pan. You can make this cake in one 10 inch cake round but I love the look of the fancy bundt pan and you don't see them being used very often anymore. The best way I have found to ensure that your batter does not stick to the bundt pan is to soften two tablespoons of butter and using a pastry brush, brush it i/on surface and crevice of the pan. Next, take 1/4 cup of cocoa powder and swirl it around the bundt pan, covering every bit of it. Dump out the excess cocoa powder into the garbage and your bundt pan is prepped! This is all you need to do and if you do it correctly, your batter should not stick! I've been doing it this way forever and have never had any pieces of cake stick to the pan. Also, I like to use cocoa powder instead of flour to dust the pan because 1. it’s chocolatey and 2. flour will give the cake a ‘dusty’ look when you take it out of the pan.
Next, the Olive Oil. It is one of my favorite ingredients right now! For this cake you want a good quality olive oil. You don't need to spend $30 on a 12 ounce bottle but make sure it is a good one. Look for one around $10-$12 that is in dark glass bottle. This usually suggests that the bottle is slightly higher quality. I only buy olive oil from Costco now since I use so much of it. You can get a 2 Liter bottle of Organic Olive Oil for $13.99 and it tastes delicious! Again, don't go all out and buy a super nice finishing olive oil, but don't buy a $5 bottle either.
Another ingredient that I don't recommend skimping on is the cocoa powder. I only buy dutch-processed cocoa powder now and I get a large bag from Costco for under $7 and it is such good quality! Dutch-processed (sometimes referred to as "European") cocoa powder is washed with a potassium carbonate solution. This neutralizes the cocoa powder's acidity to a pH of 7, whereas "natural" cocoa powder (commonly used in the U.S.) is much more acidic with a pH level usually of 5 or 6. Dutch-processed cocoa is darker in color and has a more mellow and earthy flavor. I like to think of natural cocoa powder as the milk chocolate version and dutch-processed is the dark chocolate version. I highly suggest purchasing dutch-processed cocoa for a more rich and tasty cake.
To top this cake is a simple dark chocolate ganache. For the chocolate, I recommend buying high quality bars with 50%-70% cocoa content. I recommend buying bars, not chocolate chips, because the chips contain high quantities of stabilizers in them. This is why when you bake chocolate chip cookies, the chocolate chips hold their perfect "tear-drop" shape even after being baked. I have found that using chips results in a stiffer ganache even with a higher amount of heavy cream than I would usually use. I always buy Ghirardelli barred chocolate (the 72% cacao) and roughly chop it with a knife then weigh it on my kitchen scale. I decided to top the cake with some lightly crushed pistachios to add a bit of crunch and color to the cake but feel free to add Maldon salt flakes, sprinkles, or any nut of your choice.
I love this recipe because it truly is a classic. There’s nothing better than a chocolate cake and this bundt cake just looks beautiful, tastes delicious, and is extremely easy to make. I was so excited to remake this recipe because as I said, the original pictures of it didn’t do it justice. This Dark Chocolate Olive Oil Cake is perfect for holidays, birthdays, and even just to serve on a weeknight because any day is a good day for cake!
If you try this recipe or any other recipe from Persona Kitchen please share your thoughts, feedback, or photos with me. I would love to hear from you! Have a wonderful week everyone and happy baking!
Dark Chocolate Olive Oil Bundt Cake
For the Bundt Cake
2 Cups All Purpose Flour
1 ½ Cups White Granulated Sugar
¾ Cup Dutch-processed Cocoa Powder
¾ Teaspoon Baking Soda
¾ Teaspoon Baking Powder
1 Teaspoon Espresso Powder
1 Teaspoon Kosher Salt
¾ Cup Dark Chocolate Chips (I use Ghirardelli extra dark chips)
1 ½ Cups high-quality Olive Oil
1 Cup Whole Milk, room temperature
3 Large Eggs, room temperature
1 Teaspoon Pure Vanilla Extract
2-3 Tablespoons Butter, room temperature + cocoa powder (for preparing the bundt pan)
For the Dark Chocolate Ganache
8 Ounces (1 Cup) Heavy Cream
4 Ounces (½ Cup) Dark Chocolate Bar, roughly chopped (I use a Ghirardelli 72% cacao bar)
¼ Cup Pistachios, crushed
Make the Chocolate Bundt Cake
Preheat oven to 350℉. Prepare your bundt pan: Brush every nook and cranny of a bundt pan with the softened butter. Add in ¼ cup of cocoa powder and rotate the pan, ensuring to cover the entire inside of the pan. Set aside.
In a large bowl whisk together the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, espresso powder, and salt until evenly combined. Add in the chocolate chips and mix until evenly combined. Set aside.
In a large measuring cup (or medium sized bowl) whisk the olive oil, milk, eggs, and vanilla extract until completely combined.
Add the wet ingredients into the dry and mix just until combined— do NOT over mix! Pour the batter into the prepared bundt pan ensuring not to fill it more than ¾’s of the way full.
Place the bundt pan on a baking sheet and place on the center rack in the oven. Bake for 35-40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Let the cake cool for 10 minutes and then carefully (using oven mitts) invert the bundt cake onto a wire cooling rack. Let cool completely.
Make the Dark Chocolate Ganache
Place the chopped dark chocolate into a medium sized bowl. Set aside.
In a medium sized saucepan add the heavy cream and bring it to a simmer over medium heat— do NOT scorch the milk!
Pour the hot cream over the chocolate ensuring that each piece is covered by the cream and let sit for a full two minutes. Whisk until you have a silky smooth ganache. Set aside and let cool to almost room temperature.
Place the cooled bundt cake onto a cake stand or serving plate.
Place the chocolate ganache into a measuring cup (or anything with a spout) and pour as much or as little all around the bundt cake. For lots of ganache: pour a layer of ganache on top of the cake, put the cake in the fridge for 5 minutes to set, and then pour on more ganache.
Top with the crushed pistachios.
Slice and enjoy!
*This cake cake be kept in an airtight container in the fridge for 3-4 days. When ready for a slice, take it out of the fridge and let it sit for 5-10 minutes at room temperature.