Dark Chocolate Olive Oil Cake from Simple Fare

chocolate olive oil cake | simple fare | apt 2b baking co
chocolate olive oil cake | simple fare | apt 2b baking co

When I was first transitioning out of restaurant work into the food media world I volunteered for Karen Mordechai at Sunday Suppers a handful of times. Honestly, it was mostly my nosiness lead me to contact Karen. I had followed her work online and was so inspired by the dreamy light-filled space that she had created in a formerly industrial space in Brooklyn that I just had to see it in person- and I was too broke to buy a ticket to one of her dinners...I met so many wonderful people through Karen and Sunday Suppers and the experience really informed how I have decided to make my own career in food. 

I admire what Karen has built so much (she even has a line of beautiful pantry essentials called ILA), and wasn't surprised at all when I took a look at her new work - Simple Fare. It is part art catalogue - part simple recipe inspiration to carry you through the Spring and Summer and so Karen. I can't wait to see the Fall/Winter edition in the coming months.

Congrats, Karen! It's lovely and this Dark Chocolate Olive Oil Cake is delicious too!

Dark Chocolate Olive Oil Cake

Adapted from Simple Fare: A Guide to Everyday Cooking and Eating Spring/Summer by Karen Mordechai

Karen offers some suggestions of different ways to top the cake, and there is a recipe for delicious cardamom infused cream below. I went with whipped yogurt sweetened with a bit of honey, chopped pistachios, and the rose and cacao nib sprinkles from Lily's Kale and Caramel Cookbook. Choose your own adventure!


3/4 cup (180ml) extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for greasing the pan

1/2 cup (50g) good-quality unsweetened cocoa powder

1/2 cup (120ml) boiling water

1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract

1 1/3 cups (165g) all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon sea salt

1 cup (195g) superfine sugar

3 large eggs

Cyprus flake salt

Cardamom Cream

1/2 cup (120ml) heavy cream

1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom


1 teaspoon dried rose petals

1/2 cup (65g) chopped unsalted pistachios

Cyprus flake salt

Preheat the oven to 325ºF (165ºC). Grease a 9-inch (23cm) springform baking pan with a little olive oil and line the base with parchment paper cut to fit.

Sift the cocoa into a medium bowl and whisk in the boiling water until smooth. Whisk in the vanilla, then set aside to cool slightly. In a separate large bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, and salt.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat together the sugar, olive oil, and eggs until you have a light, fluffy cream, about 3 minutes.

Turn the speed on the mixer down and pour in the cocoa and vanilla mixture. Slowly add the flour mixture until it is evenly incorporated, stopping the mixer and scraping down the bowl as necessary.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan and sprinkle with flaky salt. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until the sides are set and the top of the cake still looks slightly moist. A cake tester inserted into the center should come out clean or with just a few crumbs on it. Let cool in the pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes.

While the cake is baking, in a chilled metal or glass bowl using a hand mixer, beat the cream on medium speed until soft peaks form, about 4 minutes. Add the cardamom and beat until stiff peaks form, about 1 to 2 minutes more. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.

Run a knife around the edge of the cake and release the sides of the pan. Transfer the cake to a serving plate or cake stand. Sprinkle with more flaky salt. Serve each slice with a dollop of the cardamom cream and a sprinkling of rose petals, pistachios, and flaky salt.

chocolate olive oil cake | simple fare | apt 2b baking co

Rhubarb and Honey Panna Cotta

rhubarb and honey panna cotta | apt 2b baking co
rhubarb and honey panna cotta | apt 2b baking co
rhubarb and honey panna cotta | apt 2b baking co
rhubarb and honey panna cotta | apt 2b baking co
rhubarb and honey panna cotta | apt 2b baking co
rhubarb and honey panna cotta | apt 2b baking co
rhubarb and honey panna cotta | apt 2b baking co
rhubarb and honey panna cotta | apt 2b baking co
rhubarb and honey panna cotta | apt 2b baking co

Every Spring I get SO excited for rhubarb, I always push the season a little bit. We don't get rhubarb in NY until about June, and when I saw these cute skinny little stalks at the store the other day I couldn't resist...They were so perfectly pink. 

I got it home and let it sit in my refrigerator. It somehow seemed too precious to use so I'd open the drawer every day just to say hi - happy that it was there, but not sure how I wanted to cook it. In the end, I roasted the rhubarb very simply with just a bit of sugar, vanilla, and lemon until it was soft and yielding but not falling apart - ready to top my morning yogurt or something a little fancier (but still quite simple) like this honey sweetened panna cotta.

Panna cotta has a bad wrap for being boring and rubbery, but a properly set panna cotta is creamy and light, and a totally dreamy base for just about any seasonal fruit. I made this one with a bit of kefir subbed in for the milk but you could use buttermilk or plain yogurt thinned with a bit of milk instead. The cultured dairy adds some tanginess that cuts the sweetness of the honey and really nicely compliments the tart rhubarb.The pistachios add a nice pop of color and crunch, but you could sub just about any nut or even a bit of bee pollen if you like.

Both recipes below call for a vanilla bean, but I'll let you in on a little secret - I used the same bean for both recipes. I used it first in the panna cotta, then rinsed it off to roast with the rhubarb, there was plenty of flavor to go around! 

Honey Panna Cotta

Makes 6

This lightly sweet and tangy panna cotta is the perfect base for any seasonal fruit, but in the early Spring, Roasted Rhubarb is where it’s at. The panna cotta is slightly adapted from the Chamomile Honey Panna Cotta from Sweeter off the Vine, which would also be super delicious with some roasted rhubarb on top. This is a great dinner party dessert that you can definitely make a day ahead. Make both components and store them in the fridge - top each panna cotta with the rhubarb and pistachios just before serving.

1 cup (240ml) kefir or buttermilk

1 (1/4oz/7g) envelope unflavored, powdered gelatin

2 cups (480ml) heavy cream

1 vanilla bean, split

1/4 cup (60ml) mild flavored honey I used Blackberry Honey from my pals at Old Blue Raw Honey

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

Measure the kefir and sprinkle the gelatin evenly over the top, but do not stir. Let the gelatin soften until the grains look wet and like they are beginning to dissolve, 5-10 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat the cream, honey, salt and vanilla bean in a saucepan set over medium heat until just barely simmering. Stir occasionally to dissolve the honey. Turn off the heat and remove the vanilla bean, scraping the seeds into the pot.

Add the milk and gelatin and stir until the gelatin dissolves. Divide the mixture between 6 ramekins or glasses. Cover and chill until set, at least 4 hours and up to overnight. If you are going to leave them overnight, cover each ramekin with plastic wrap.

To unmold the panna cottas, run a thin knife around the top edge of each ramekin to release the sides, and invert it onto a plate. You may have to shake the ramekin gently to get the panna cotta to release onto the plate. Top each panna cotta with a spoonful pf rhubarb and it’s juices and sprinkle of chopped pistachios. Alternately, serve the panna cottas straight from their ramekins with the garnishes on top.

Roasted Rhubarb

1/2 (225g) pound thin rhubarb stalks

1/2 cup (50g) granulated sugar

juice of 1/2 lemon

1 vanilla bean, split

1/2 cup chopped pistachios, to serve

Heat oven to 375ºF.

Slice the rhubarb into 2-3 inch lengths. Toss it in a baking dish with the sugar, lemon juice and vanilla bean. Roast until soft and juicy but not falling apart, about 15-20 minutes. Let cool before serving.

rhubarb and honey panna cotta | apt 2b baking co
honey panna cotta with roasted rhubarb | apt 2b baking co
rhubarb and honey panna cotta | apt 2b baking co
rhubarb and honey panna cotta | apt 2b baking co