Italian Almond Olive Oil Cake or Torta di Mandorla is a classic and simple Italian cake, not too sweet, and loaded with elegant flavor and with a light dusting of powdered sugar. Shout out to Nigella Lawson who inspired the chocolate, gluten-free version of this cake. Pure genius. In my version, I added a sinful brown butter, almond glaze (courtesy of pastry chef Gina DePalma) to the chocolate cake. The end result was a decadent dessert that you will crave ever after, and not care that it is gluten-free.
Chocolate Almond Olive Oil Cake with Brown Butter Glaze
- 6 TB quality cocoa powder
- ½ cup boiling water
- 2 tsp. vanilla
- 1 ½ cups almond meal - finely ground
- 1 tsp. baking soda
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 cup sugar or sweetener alternative
- ⅔ cup olive oil
- 3 eggs
- 3 TB butter
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- 3 TB heavy cream or whole milk
- 1 TB lemon juice
- 1/2 cup sliced toasted blanched almonds
Pre-heat oven at 325F.
Whisk together the cocoa powder and boiling water in a measuring cup until the cocoa powder is fully dissolved. Add the vanilla. It should be thickish like a thin paste. Set aside to cool.
In another bowl, mix almond meal, baking soda and salt.
In the Kitchenaid bowl, start to slowly beat the sugar, olive oil, and eggs, and then turn to medium high for 3 minutes. Reduce the speed to low, and add the cooled cocoa mixture. Slowly add the almond meal mixture and beat for 1 more minute until fully combined.
Brush a 8-inch springform pan with olive oil. Pour the batter into the pan.
Bake in a pre-heated oven for 50 - 60 minutes. When it is done, the sides will be set, and the center will look slightly damp. Another way to tell if the cake is done is to wiggle the pan. If the center jiggles, it is too wet. It should look loose and damp but not jiggle. Take out and let cool.The cake will continue to cook when it is out of the oven.
While the cake cools, make the glaze. Melt the butter over medium heat in a small, heavy saucepan. When the bubbles subside, lower the heat and watch the butter carefully, swirling it in the pan occasionally to distribute the heat. When the butter begins to turn a light tan color and smells slightly nutty, turn off the heat and let the butter sit. It will continue to darken as it sits.
While the butter cools, whisk the powdered sugar with the cream in a medium bowl. Whisk until completely smooth but thick. Slowly whisk in the cooled brown butter until smooth. Mix in the lemon juice. Stir in the toasted almonds.
Spread glaze onto the top of the cake letting it drip down the sides. The cake can be served warm or at room temperature.
The Chocolate Almond Olive Oil cake recipe is from TV cook Nigella Lawson. The Brown Butter Almond Glaze is courtesy of Pastry Chef Gina DePalma.