In the last week I have spent more hours than usual thinking, thanks to many travels by train and by car: first a busy day though rich in discoveries in Turin for the Salone del Gusto, then a weekend in Umbria with my good food blogger friends, cooking and eating in a villa in the countryside. The autumn landscape is another a good help. Perhaps it’s the warm colours that light up your dreams, perhaps it’s the fog that hides to the eyes a part of reality and discovers other more secret aspects, which can be reached only by suspending for a moment the hectic pace of the everyday life.
I had many thoughts: future projects, the goal of the book slowly approaching – we are now in the process of proof reading, perhaps in all the moments the one that most requires nerves of steel -, my near and far friends and the upcoming opportunities I’ll have to see them again, seasonal ingredients and possible recipes to make.
In this swirl of yellow leaves and thoughts, there was a cake that came often to my mind. I wanted a chocolate cake, a cake that could become the favorite of my family, because if you think about it we do not have a classic chocolate cake at home. You never say: let’s make the chocolate cake, referring with that article to the cake that wakes you up in the morning with the smell of toasted almonds, the cake that you carefully keep close in the oven, but then you slice secretly in the evening before going to bed, sneaking in the silent kitchen, being careful that the oven door does not squeak, revealing to the whole family your disreputable intentions.
I wanted a chocolate cake that could one day become for my friends Giulia’s chocolate cake, come on, the one with olive oil and mandarin juice that she brought last time for our afternoon tea… I wanted a chocolate cake that could fit the autumn leaves, a cake that you would wait with the same excitement with which you await the smell of a lit fireplace in a cold afternoon.
Since I am not the greatest pastry chef and I often lack of imagination, guess what, I decided to start right from the pound cake recipe to make this chocolate cake, changing, subtracting and multiplying the ingredients as to make a totally new recipe, recognizable just for the simple execution.
It is a chocolate cake made with extra virgin olive oil, a few cubes of dark chocolate, almond flour to give body and flavour and wholemeal spelt flour to reduce the use of white flour, a good handful of raw cane sugar and the juice and rind of a tangerine to give a fresh citrus hint to each slice.
Serve the chocolate cake with a cup of English Breakfast tea and a slice of tangerine or a Bancha green tea, which suits perfectly the moist olive oil chocolate cake, now the chocolate cake of my family.
Olive oil and tangerine chocolate cake
- 3 eggs, at room temperature
- 120 g raw cane sugar
- 120 g 50% dark chocolate
- 50 g extra virgin olive oil
- juice and rind of an organic tangerine
- 100 g almond flour
- 100 g wholemeal spelt flour
- 8 g of baking powder
- 1 pinch salt
- icing sugar to serve
- Preheat oven to 180°C.
- Whip the eggs with the raw cane sugar until light and pale.
- Melt the chocolate in a bain-marie and stir in the extra virgin olive oil, the tangerine juice and the finely grated zest.
- Combine the liquids to the well beaten eggs and sugar and mix well.
- Sift the almond flour with the wholemeal spelt flour, the baking powder and a pinch of salt and fold into the mixture gently.
- Grease a 20 cm round mould cake and dust slightly with flour.
- Spoon the chocolate batter into the mould and bake for about 25 minutes until dry, almost crisp on the surface and moist inside.
- Let cool completely before dusting with icing sugar to serve.