Chocolate cake

Lunch break: super simple chocolate cake for the New Year


From The Cake Book by Rebecca Firth at

I was in the final stretch of writing cake book, and I woke up on New Year’s Day wanting a super simple chocolate cake – something that could be ready quickly, with minimal effort, using just a handful of ingredients and a bowl. If you’re craving chocolate, she’s your girl! The cake is soft, moist and moist, and the cream cheese frosting is the perfect contrast in texture and flavor. It’s so simple to make and can be served casually with a sprinkle of sea salt flakes, or dressed up with sprinkles for your most special occasions.



  • 1 cup (200g) granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup (168g) good quality extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1 tbsp (13 g) vanilla paste or real vanilla extract
  • 1⁄2 cup (43 g) unsweetened Dutch cocoa powder, sifted
  • 1 teaspoon (5g) baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon (5g) baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon (6g) sea salt
  • 1 cup (135 g) all-purpose flour
  • 1⁄2 cup (112g) hot water


  • 1 cup (170 g) dark chocolate, finely chopped
  • 4 tablespoons (57 g) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 2 tbsp (30g) heavy whipped cream or whole milk, room temperature
  • 2 1⁄2 cups (300 g) icing sugar, sifted
  • 4 ounces (113 g) cream cheese, at room temperature and cut into 8 pieces
  • 2 teaspoons (8g) vanilla paste or real vanilla extract
  • 1⁄2 teaspoon sea salt


Sea salt flakes or nuggets (optional)

For the cake: Preheat the oven to 350 F (177 C). Grease a 9-inch (23 cm) round cake pan and line with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, whisk together sugar, olive oil, eggs and vanilla until well blended. Whisk cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt until blended. Sprinkle flour on top and gently fold in until just blended. Add hot water and whisk until smooth.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Press the counter several times to deposit the cake batter and release trapped bubbles. Use a spatula to smooth the top of the cake and bake in the center of the oven for 35 minutes. Cool on a rack for 20 minutes, then invert onto a cooling rack to cool completely.

For the Salted Chocolate Buttercream: In a large heatproof bowl, add the chocolate, butter and cream/milk and place over a medium saucepan of simmering water. Do not let the bowl touch the water or let the water boil. Stir frequently until melted and smooth. Remove from the heat and let cool for 10 minutes, stirring frequently. In a large bowl, mix the icing sugar, cream cheese, vanilla and salt until well combined (it will be thick). Add melted chocolate, stirring until smooth and shiny. Make sure the chocolate and cream cheese mixture is at the same temperature before combining. Spread top of inverted cake, sprinkle with sea salt flakes (or sprinkles) and serve.

NOTE: To garnish with chocolate shavings (as seen on cover): In a medium heatproof bowl, add 1 1⁄2 cups (255g) dark chocolate and place over medium saucepan of simmering water , stirring until it melts. Pour onto an inverted baking sheet, spreading with an offset spatula in a thin layer. Once cooled, but still soft, use a scraper or spatula to gently scrape the chocolate into curls. Place on parchment paper until ready to serve or store in the fridge/freezer if it’s particularly hot.

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