This cake, like me, is in a somewhat Italian mood. It's adjusted from another recipe that in turn was a variation of this Nigella Lawson olive oil cake. Quantities (and cake size) have been reduced, as was the flavoring: my cake is scented with Aftelier Wild Sweet Orange Chef's Essence (the one in Yellow Mandarin will also be perfect). The cake is light, moist, and fragrant. It's also wheat and dairy free (though not vegan). Of course, it's tempting to serve it with unsweetened whipped cream (which should be a food group, if you ask me), but that would be a distraction from the lovely flavors of this cake, so a light dusting of confectioner's sugar is quite enough.
Two notes about the ingredients: use regular non Dutch-processed cocoa, the best and most fragrant you can find (I used Green & Black, but Scharffen Berger is also wonderful). As for the almonds, buy them whole and raw, and grind them yourself in the food processor right before baking (with their skin on). It only takes an extra minute, but ensure freshness and a superior taste.
The original recipe is in metric units. I switched my digital kitchen scale to kg/gr for accuracy, and highly recommend doing the same if possible when working from a UK recipe.
100 ml (3.3 fl oz) extra virgin olive oil
35 gr (1.25 oz) cocoa powder (non Dutch)
85ml (2.9 oz, a little over 1/3 cup) boiling water
5-6 drops Aftelier Wild Sweet Orange Chef's Essence
100 gr (3 2/3 oz) ground almonds
1/2 tsp baking soda
130 gr (4 2/3 oz) super-fine sugar. A little more if you have a really sweet tooth.
2 large eggs
a pinch of salt
1. Pre-heat oven to 325 F. Grease and prep an 8 in spring foam pan.
2. Sift the cocoa powder into a bowl, whisk in the boiling water to form a smoothish paste. Set aside to cool.
3. In a separate bowl, combine the ground almonds with the baking soda and a pinch of salt.
4. Whisk together the oil, Essence, sugar and eggs for several minutes until thick and creamy. I used a handheld mixer (a big KitchenAid is far too large for this amount and would be ineffective).
5. Add the cocoa mixture, blend well, and fold in the almond mixture. The batter is quite runny. It's ok.
6. Pour into the pan and bake for about 40 minutes (my oven was done in 35), until the sides are set and have started to pull away from the pan, and the top is springy.
7. Let the cake cool for 10 minutes still in its pan, and then ease it out. Dust with confectioner's sugar. Serve warm or in room temperature.