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Author Notes: With its hidden flecks of orange and black olive, this rich chocolate cake is a crowd-pleasing treat which satisfies with an almost brownie-like crumb. A cinch to whip up, the dessert is a nod to those olives-on-fingertips days of youth, delivering simplicity and sweetness in one scrumptious form — all ages welcome, no olives evident in the taste.
It came to me when eating a black olive; I thought: "Mild, moist and a little bit salty? Those are a few perfect attributes for a cake ingredient!" I decided on a black-on-black batter: dark cocoa and black coffee to mingle with the tiny bits of olives. A heap of orange zest would add a citrusy tang, and a good dose of vanilla would soften it all. The result was just as I’d hoped: a spongy, moist and deep-dark dessert enjoyed by many.
Decorating the cake with a stencil of contrasting white powdered sugar leaves the possibilities endless for themes. A witch or jack-o-lantern stencil will turn the orange and black ingredients into a festive Halloween cake.
This recipe first appeared on my web site, buttersugarflowers.com —butter, sugar, flowers
Makes a 1 layer 8" round cake; serves 10
- 2 eggs
- 1 cup sugar
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 1/4 cup unsalted butter at room temperature
- 3/4 cup flour
- 1/2 cup cocoa powder (not Dutch process)
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 cup black coffee at room temperature
- 4.25 ounce can (or 1/2 cup packed) finely chopped black olives
- finely grated zest of one orange
- powdered sugar for decorating (optional)
- Preheat oven to 350 F. Grease an 8″ cake pan and either line bottom of pan with parchment paper or dust with flour.
- In a large bowl, beat the eggs, sugar, vanilla and butter until pale and even. Sift the flour, cocoa, baking soda and baking powder over the egg mixture. Begin to stir, gradually adding the coffee. Mix until completely smooth. Fold in the olives and orange zest, stirring until evenly distributed.
- Spread the batter into prepared cake pan, and bake for about 30-35 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center tests clean. Let cake cool completely in pan before inverting and decorating with powdered sugar. (A witch or jack-o-lantern stencil make an especially cute Halloween cake that mirrors the orange and black ingredients!) Serve at room temperature, and store covered, eating within two days.