Chocolate olive oil cake with rocky icing (recipe)

Phew, it worked! – me

I was a baker under pressure this week. Seriously!

My lovely blogging friend, Hannah let me know that she’d be visiting with her little one the following morning, so I said I’d make a chocolate cake for the occasion. Now, I didn’t want to make any old sponge, so I settled on a chocolate fudge cake recipe and got to work.

But then, disaster, I was almost out of sunflower oil and one of my sandwich tins was missing.

Now I’ve been hearing a lot on the grapevine about Nigella Lawson and her amazing olive oil cake, so I thought I’d take a risk. It paid off – this sponge is moist, decadent and full of flavour. The olive oil does change the taste, but it doesn’t taste ‘wrong’. In fact it tastes oh, so right and works well with the flavour of the stiffer, chunkier icing.

Here’s what to do.


For the sponge

  • 175g self raising flour
  • 2 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp bicarbonate soda
  • 150g caster sugar
  • 2 medium free range eggs, beaten
  • 75ml sunflower oil
  • 75ml olive oil
  • 150ml whole milk
  • 2 tbsp Golden syrup

For the icing

  • 100g unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 235g icing sugar
  • 4 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 1/2 tsp milk
  • A handful of finely diced fudge (either shop bought pieces or make your own)


  1. Preheat oven to 180ºC (160C fan assisted)
  2. Sieve the dry ingredients together in a large bowl
  3. Add the wet ingredient and whisk until smooth – it’s much easier with an electric whisk
  4. Pour the mixture into a greased, lined loose bottomed cake tin
  5. Bake for 35-40 minutes until firm and springy on top
  6. Cool in the tin for 10 minutes, then remove from the tin to cool completely
  7. Using a long, serrated knife, cut the sponge in half two create two halves
  8. For the icing, beat the butter until soft, then beat in the icing sugar and cocoa powder, then add the milk and beat until fluffy
  9. Using a soft spatula, spread some icing on the top of one cake half, the put the other half back on top to create a sandwich
  10. Spread the remaining icing over the top and sides of the cake
  11. Sprinkle with the finely diced fudge
  12. Leave to set for at least an hour before serving

We found that the cake actually tasted better 24 hours after making as it was even more moist and yummy. I’d recommend keeping it chilled in an airtight container, due to the milk content.

If you have double cream and plain chocolate to hand, you could also try switching out the icing covering for a ganache coating – now that would be amazing.

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  1. says

    Totally LOVE this! I’ve got the baking bug at the moment, I’ll tell you what IS nice and causes a nice moist sponge is a bit of dr pepper in the mix. sounds bizarre but is gorgeous!
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