A couple of weeks back we had a big birthday to celebrate in our office, for which it was deemed I should make a cake (no hardship really!). As there are only 6 of us, I wanted to make sure everyone could have a piece, especially our newest GF-colleague.
Google led me to no end of gluten free recipes – where to start! I’ve made gluten free brownies before, which turned out rather well, if I do say so myself, so sticking with something chocolatey seemed a safe better. With some ground almonds lurking in the back of the cupboard, and a very well-reputed Nigella recipe to boot, how could I go wrong?
I downscaled the recipe by a third, not only so it would fit in the best tin I could find, but also because it only had to feed 6 – and we were still eating cake all week!
Recipe (adapted from Nigella Lawson’s Chocolate Olive Oil Cake)
100 ml olive oil (I used extra virgin as that was what we had in the house)
35 grams cocoa powder
85 ml hot water
1 generous teaspoon vanilla
100 grams ground almonds
Pinch of bicarbonate of soda
170 grams sugar (Nigella uses caster, but I used a light brown for an extra fudgy texture)
– Beat together the cocoa powder and hot water to a smooth paste (like melted chocolate)
– In a large bowl (a stand mixer if you have one), whisk the eggs, sugar and olive oil until they are light and aerated – lots of fine bubbles and quite thick. It should take 3-5 minutes if using a stand mixer, a little longer by hand
– Pour in the chocolate mixture, vanilla, and add the almonds and bicarbonate of soda. Mix on a slow speed until all combined
– Spoon or pour the mixture into a lined and well greased tin (I used a 7 inch round sponge tin)
– Bake for around 30 minutes at 180 degrees. Use a skewer / cake tester to check if it’s done, it should come out clean with no batter visible, maybe just a few crumbs
– Leave in the tin for 5 minutes, before turning out and cooling on a wire rack
Whilst the cake is cooling the icing can be made – I started off making a ganache, with milk instead of cream, but quickly decided a thick chocolate fudge icing would be better!
Chocolate fudge icing
200g dark chocolate
75g light brown sugar
– Put the chocolate, butter and milk into a heavy-bottomed saucepan, and heat on low until everything is melted together and smooth
– Add the sugar, stir well, and turn the heat up so the mixture starts to boil
– Allow it to boil for around a minute, stirring gently, then remove from the heat
– Stir and leave to cool until it reaches your desired consistency
– Spoon, drizzle, and generally adorn all over your cake, allowing to drip down the sides
I topped my icing with a mass of white chocolate stars – sprinkled liberally doesn’t even come close!
And to finish, a homemade ‘happy birthday’ bunting banner. There are plenty of templates online which you simply print off, cut out the triangles, and loop over a piece of string – a lovely hand-made touch that takes no time at all (especially if you do it whilst watching the tv…)
The birthday girl was delighted, as were we all on tucking in. Although I was a little dubious about the olive oil in the recipe, it makes for a dense, fudgy, chocolatey cake, only too well complimented by a dense, fudgy, chocolatey icing!