Lemon-Chocolate Olive Oil Cake
Although combining lemon and chocolate in a cake might seem like an unusual choice, citrus and chocolate is a classic pairing in Italian desserts. In this easy-to-make cake, the juice and zest of a lemon is a great foil for the richness of the chocolate and the olive oil.
- 4 oz. (125 g) bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
- 2 cups (10 oz./315 g) unbleached all-purpose flour
- 2 tsp. baking powder
- 1/4 tsp. fine sea salt
- 1 cup (8 oz./250 g) granulated sugar
- 3 large eggs
- 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
- 3/4 cup (6 oz./185 g) full-fat plain Greek-style yogurt
- Finely grated zest of 1 lemon
- 2 Tbs. fresh lemon juice
- 3/4 cup (6 fl. oz./180 ml) extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for greasing
- Confectioners’ sugar for dusting
Preheat an oven to 350°F (180°C).
Put the chocolate in the top of a double boiler and set over but not touching barely simmering water. Heat, stirring often, until the chocolate has melted. Remove from the heat and let cool slightly.
In a bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside. In a large bowl, using an electric mixer set on high speed, beat together the granulated sugar and eggs until pale in color. Beat in the vanilla. Add half of the flour mixture, beating until just incorporated. Beat in the yogurt and lemon juice, and then the remaining flour mixture. With the motor running, beat in the olive oil just until smooth.
Scoop about one-third of the batter into a clean bowl and gently fold in the chocolate. Stir the lemon zest into the rest of the batter.
Lightly oil a 9-by-5-inch (23-by-13-cm) loaf pan. Fill the pan with alternating spoonfuls of the lemon and chocolate batters. Swirl a large, thin-bladed knife in an S pattern through the batters to create a marbled effect. Bake until a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean, 45 to 50 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool for 20 minutes. Carefully invert the cake onto the rack, then place upright on a cutting board. Cut the cake into thick slices and arrange, slightly overlapping, on a platter. Dust with the confectioners’ sugar and serve. Serves 8.
Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Rustic Italian, by Domenica Marchetti (Weldon Owen, 2011)