I have made this cake countless times with butter. It is easy to assemble and always garners raves from guests. Now I have a new way of making one of my favorites—using olive oil instead. A delicate olive oil mimics the flavor profile of the butter version of this cake, although the oil adds an underlying taste. When made with a robust olive oil, the flavor is more pronounced—it is on equal footing with the chocolate rather than being a nuance. Use a dark chocolate you like that has a cocoa content of 70 percent.” – Fran Gage
7 ounces 70% dark chocolate, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup (4 ounces) either delicate or robust extra-virgin olive oil
1 cup (7 ounces by weight) granulated cane sugar, divided
5 extra-large eggs at room temperature, separated
2 tablespoons unbleached all-purpose flour
1/8 teaspoon fine sea salt
powdered sugar for dusting
whipped cream for serving (optional)
Preheat the oven to 350°F with the rack positioned in the middle.
Line the bottom of a 9-by-3-inch round cake pan with parchment paper.
Put the chocolate in a large stainless-steel bowl and melt it over simmering water. Whisk it until it is smooth.
Add the olive oil, whisking in a steady stream. Whisk in 2/3 cup of the sugar, the egg yolks, then the flour and salt.
Put the egg whites in the bowl of a stand mixer and beat on medium speed with the whisk attachment until they start to foam. Add about a third of the remaining 1/3 cup of sugar. Beat until the whites become opaque, then add another third of the sugar. When the whites begin to increase in volume and become firmer, add the rest of the sugar and turn the mixer speed to high. Beat until the whites form soft peaks when the whisk is lifted from the bowl. They will still look slightly wet.
Fold the whites into the chocolate mixture in two additions.
Pour the batter into the pan and bake until the cake is puffed and a skewer inserted into the center comes out clean or with only a few crumbs clinging to it, 35 to 40 minutes.
Let the cake cool completely, still in the pan, on a rack. It will deflate as it cools.
Run a table knife around the edge of the pan and invert the cake onto a serving plate. Peel off the parchment paper.
Lightly dust the top of the cake with powdered sugar. Serve at room temperature, with a dollop of whipped cream, if desired.
YIELD: 8 servings
SOURCE: Recipe courtesy of Fran Gage, author of The New American Olive Oil.