Dense, tender, and sophisticated, this gluten-free almond flour chocolate cake gets a flavor kick from fruity olive oil. Deck slices out with whipped cream and seasonal fruit, or enjoy plain with a cup of coffee.
Naturally dairy-free, with gluten-free and paleo options.
This favorite recipe from TBG archives deserved an update, so I've added new images and detail to the post. You need look no further for a perfectly rich and decadent almond flour chocolate cake recipe. This beauty hails from Alice Medrich's cookbook Sinfully Easy Delicious Desserts. Medrich has a well-deserved reputation for being an awesome baker with solid recipes who isn't afraid to try new techniques. She is a culinary pioneer from whom I find continual inspiration.
Similar in texture to a flourless chocolate cake but with a bit of nubby texture from almond flour, this almond flour chocolate cake will satisfy the most voracious of chocoholics.
Chocolate Olive Oil Cake
The ingredient that sets this almond flour chocolate cake apart from others is the good pour of olive oil that stands in where butter would usually be. It's no secret that I'm a fan of olive oil desserts of all ilks and also a fan of gluten-free chocolate cake. Here the fruity notes from the olive oil complement rich chocolate and nutty almonds. The olive oil also makes the cake naturally dairy-free (more on this below), though you could swap in any oil you like. Use a neutral oil like grapeseed or sunflower, or a flavorful nut oil such as hazelnut or walnut.
Paleo Chocolate Cake Option
The original recipe for this almond flour chocolate cake contained a small amount of wheat flour. This is easily replaced with sweet rice flour (or probably really any flour you like!) One reader recently commented that she made the cake paleo-friendly by using grain-free cassava flour, and coconut sugar in place of regular. Brilliant!
Ingredients & Substitution Suggestions
- Chocolate is the star of this show, so be sure to use one that you like the taste of. Guittard bittersweet is my go-to; Valrhona is another well-loved brand. For a paleo-friendly version, choose a chocolate free of refined sugar such as Hu, Raaka, or Guittard.
- Eggs create fluffy texture similar to a flourless chocolate cake, and they give the cake structure. I wouldn't recommend trying to substitute them. But if you're looking for a GF vegan chocolate cake recipe, try this one!
- Almond flour or almond meal give the cake substance. You can make your own almond flour by grinding whole, slivered, or sliced almonds with the flour until fine and powdery. You can also use hazelnut flour, or any other nut. You could also try using ground seeds such as sunflower or pumpkin seeds for a nut-free option.
- Olive oil stands in for the usual melted butter. Choose a bold, fruity olive oil that you love the flavor of. Or use any other cooking oil you prefer. A nut oil such as hazelnut or walnut would be lovely too.
- A small amount of flour absorbs moisture. Pretty much any flour will do. I used sweet rice to make this, but any all-purpose blend should work. For paleo-friendly, use cassava flour.
- Salt and vanilla sharpen the flavors. Cocoa powder makes an optional topping.
- I adore cakes like these with a dollop of softly whipped cream. For a dairy-free version, try a rich coconut yogurt such as Coyo, or make your own whipped coconut cream or cashew whipped cream.
- Serve this cake as-is, or garnish with some seasonal fruit: berries, pomegranate, poached pears, fresh figs – all play well with chocolate and almonds!
How to make almond flour chocolate cake: step-by-step instructions
Chocolate Cake vs. Chocolate Torte
The terms torte and cake can both be used to describe this dessert. In the US, we use the word "cake" to describe both light, fluffy confections like angel food and chiffon, and short, dense numbers like this chocolate almond cake. The word "torte" hails from Europe where it's used more often to describe a rich cake made with a high ratio of eggs, and sometimes ground nuts.
So call this what you like – chocolate almond torte or almond flour chocolate cake. You'll definitely call it delicious.
Gluten- and Dairy-Free Cake (that isn't Vegan)
The first job I had in San Francisco was at a gluten-free wholesale bakery where work days consisted of mixing, baking, and packaging hundreds of really good fudgy brownies. My favorite task was cutting up "brownie favors," irregular pieces that got weighed into bakery bags. It was way too easy to continually stuff my face full of brownies pop a scrap in my mouth every so often, which I could rationalize because the brownies contained brown rice flour, palm oil, ground flax and organic eggs. (And besides, as we say in the baking biz, "Broken cookies have no calories.")
One day we got an angry letter from a vegan claiming to have been bamboozled into eating eggs by our misleading label, which proclaimed the bars "gluten- and dairy-free." But since dairy is defined as "food made from or containing milk," eggs are not technically dairy. (I checked)
This did not endear me to vegans.
So lest there be any confusion, this cake contains no dairy, but it does get its luscious texture from whipped egg whites.
This cake turns out moist, tender and rich, but not so densely truffle-like as some cakes of its ilk. The ground almonds add body, and its judicious sweetness is balanced by deep chocolate and fragrant olive oil. It appreciates a tot of good whiskey or a cup of coffee.
Since I have several lactose-intolerant friends, I'm quite happy to have this cake in my arsenal for continually stuffing my face the occasional dinner party. (Thanks, Alice Medrich!) Serve it up to guests, or make if for your sweetie for the upcoming holiday. You won't get complaints from any non-vegans.
But if you're looking for a gluten-free vegan chocolate cake, try this one!
*Bojon appétit! For more Bojon Gourmet in your life, follow along on Instagram, Facebook, or Pinterest, purchase my gluten-free cookbook Alternative Baker, or subscribe to receive new posts via email. And if you make this gluten-free chocolate olive oil cake recipe, I’d love to know. Leave a comment and rating below, and tag your Instagram snaps @The_Bojon_Gourmet and #bojongourmet.*
Gluten-Free Chocolate Almond Olive Oil CakePrint Recipe Pin Recipe
- 1/2 cup (60 g) almond flour or meal (or whole almonds ground with the rice flour until powder-fine)
- 2 tablespoons (20 g) sweet rice flour or GF AP flour (use cassava flour for a paleo option)
- 6 ounces (170 g) bittersweet chocolate with 65-72% cacao mass, roughly chopped
- ½ cup (120 ml) flavorful olive oil, plus extra for serving
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 4 large eggs, separated, at room temperature
- ¾ cup (150 g) sugar, divided use (use coconut or maple sugar for paleo version)
- ¼ teaspoon cream of tartar
- For serving (optional): cocoa powder, unsweetened whipped cream / coconut cream / yogurt, seasonal fruit, olive oil
- Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 350ºF. Rub an 8- or 9-inch round springform pan with a bit of olive oil.
- Place the chocolate, oil and salt in a large, metal bowl. Place the bowl in a skillet filled with 2 inches of barely simmering water, and stir frequently until the chocolate is melted.
- Remove the bowl from the skillet and whisk in ½ cup of the sugar, then whisk in the egg yolks.
- Place the egg whites and cream of tartar in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Whip on medium-high speed until foamy, then gradually pour in the remaining ¼ cup of sugar, whipping the whites until they hold soft peaks (i.e., when you pull the whisk out and hold it upside down, the peaks of white flop over).
- Without delay, use a flexible spatula to stir one-third of the whipped whites into the chocolate mixture.
- Add the remaining whipped egg whites to the bowl, sift in the almond and sweet rice flours, and gently fold until the batter is just combined and no streaks remain.
- Immediately scrape the batter into the prepared pan, and smooth the top. Bake the cake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with moist crumbs, 30-40 minutes.
- Let the cake cool completely, then remove the sides of the pan. Dust with cocoa powder just before serving if you wish, then use a large chef's knife wiped clean after each cut to slice the cake.
- If you like, serve the cake with a dollop of cream, a drizzle of olive oil, a few flecks of flakey salt, and/or seasonal fruit or berries. The cake will keep, covered and at room temperature, for up to three days, or refrigerate or freeze for longer storage.
- This cake makes a great do-ahead dessert as it is even better on the second or third day, when the flavors have had a chance to develop.
- To keep the batter happy, warm your eggs to room temperature before making the cake; this will keep the batter fluid and easy to fold. You can do this quickly by placing the whole eggs in a bowl of warm tap water and letting them sit for 5-10 minutes.
- If gluten isn't an issue, feel free to use all-purpose wheat flour in place of the rice; or you could probably use a gluten-free all-purpose blend.
- Do use good chocolate and olive oil that you like the taste of. I don't recommend making this with chocolate chips.