Lemon-Chocolate Olive Oil Cake

Baking, Cook, Dessert, Recipes

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.


Lemon-Chocolate Olive Oil Cake


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. pure vanilla extract

3/4 cup (6 oz./185 g) full-fat Greek-style yogurt

Finely grated zest of 1 lemon, plus 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, 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 the 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.


Recipe adapted from Rustic Italian, by Domenica Marchetti

10 comments about “Lemon-Chocolate Olive Oil Cake

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  3. Nancy

    I had been looking forward to making this cake and made it this afternoon. I have a couple questions about the batter. Does it matter the type of chocolate? I used 100% dark insweetenef cocoa. When I mixed it with 1/3 of the batter, it became quite thick. I marbled as directed, though it was a little difficult/stiff. . I baked the cake for 47 minutes. I felt the toothpick test came out clean. There were parts of the batter, particularly underneath the chocolate that were a little dense and could have been baked a bit longer. Is this a heavier brownie type cake?
    I might like to try it again. Any advise?

    1. Cortney

      Nancy, I had the same problem. Cooked for 58 minutes in stoneware. The outside looked done and was browning, toothpick came out clean but the cake is terribly underdone. I also think perhaps we’re missing an ingredient. I was so excited about this cake. Williams-Sonoma, would love some advise on this.

  4. Cortney

    Still hoping for a response to the comments above. More specifically, is there supposed to be baking soda in this recipe? Commenting again and remembering to mark it to get notified for additional comments.

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  6. Zsuzsanna

    I baked this cake yesterday, and it was excellent. I did not have lemon at home so I made the cake without it, but otherwise followed the recipe as directed. I originally baked the cake on 350 for 45 minutes, but my tester – when inserted all the way to the bottom of the pan – came out with lots of thin batter. I baked the cake for an additional 20 minutes and when I sliced it after cooling, it was perfect. For those who had the problem with under baking, I would definitely recommend additional baking time. If the cake starts browning on top, just cover it with a sheet of aluminum foil.


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