I’ve been doing quite a bit of chocolate based baking recently. Namely, Nigella chocolate based baking. I made her quadruple chocolate loaf cake from Feast for my brother’s birthday (always has to be chocolate cake for the brothers), her chocolate fruit cake for xmas presents, and my friend Mel and I made the chocolate olive oil cake from her new book Nigellissima the other day. In photos and in person, the glossy centre make the cake look exceedingly rich, though this is deceptive. It’s dense for sure, though because there is no actual chocolate added, just cocoa powder, the flavour is quite subtle. Nigella says to use just regular olive oil but we used extra virgin which lends a peppery undertone.
Mel made her Nutella Cheesecake too – amazing. Best eaten cold for some reason though, or as Nigella puts it, ‘with a bit of fridge chill on it’. Mel and I also made a chocolate olive oil cake from the ‘American food’ issue of Lucky Peach magazine, with a homemade grappa apricot jam and ricotta buttercream, an Italian spin on the classic Austrian Sacher Torte. The Lucky Peach recipe uses flour instead of almond meal which gives a more mudcake-like texture – Nigella says you can sub flour in her recipe, though I prefer the squidgy texture given by almond meal. In future, I’d add chocolate chunks to Nigella’s cake for a more intense flavour, and pair it with the ricotta buttercream from the Lucky Peach recipe. The apricot jam was fun to make – just soak dried turkish apricots in sugar syrup and grappa for a few days and blend – though you could achieve a similar flavour combo by just sipping Grappa with your cake. That could be fun.