Olive oil-chocolate bundt cakes

This recipe is really my idea of what some hipstery cafe in Silverlake would serve. Not saying that in a mean or even malicious way, since I am guilty of going to said hipstery cafes in Silverlake with my friends from time to time. Olive oil cake has been trending up a lot in LA lately, and I figured a bundt cake would have that sort of retro Americana aesthetic to it, so why not go that route with this recipe? I opted to include chocolate, because I absolutely love the combination of chocolate and olive oil. One is bitter and sweet and the other is grassy and fragrant. Put those together and you have this almost nutty and unctuously rich flavor profile! With the cakes themselves, I opted for a more American-style batter instead of a lighter chiffon – this helps the cake have this body and bite to it that works better with rich ingredients like chocolate and olive oil. The batter does contain both, being scented with cacao, using olive oil instead of butter, and being studded with dark chocolate chips to really boost up that chocolate flavor! The chips are tossed in flour before being folded into the batter just to guarantee that they will not all sink to the bottom – even if they did, since we are baking them in bundt cakes, that actually makes the chips rise to the top when we flip them over, so either way, it’s really a win! I used buttermilk in the batter as well, just so that while the cake while be rich, it won’t be dense or gummy. The cultures in buttermilk add more lift to batters, and is something I fell in love with working with during college when I would make buttermilk biscuits. That and the buttermilk plays off of cocoa powder really nicely, with the acidity bringing out a tangier quality in the chocolate. I also used instant coffee powder in the cake, as it brings out the chocolate flavor even more, although it is not a necessity to make this recipe. Merely a suggestion.

For the garnishes, a chocolate cake with an olive oil ganache just makes sense. Olive oil can be used in place of butter to create an equally silky and rich ganache. And the floral notes in the oil play off of the chocolate as well, mirroring and echoing the flavor profile of the cake in a rather straightforward way. I did list creme di cacao(chocolate liquor) as an ingredient, though if you do not want to use alcohol, you do not need to. I prefer to use it just because it gives the ganache a silkier mouthfeel as it sets – the alcohol also adds a complexity to the ganache as well. To finish the ganache-glazed cakes is a straightforward combination of chopped dark chocolate and sea salt. The dark chocolate adds a little bit of height, while just hammering home the fact that this is a chocolate cake. The chunks add some crunch and texture as well, things that this recipe is basically begging for. That and the finishing salt adds another dimension to the cake, since sea salt and chocolate just pair so beautifully together, as do olive oil and salt. I used fleur de sel in my recipe, but really any coarse flake salt would work in these! They just add a pleasant pop of salt to the final cakes.

Makes 6 mini bundt cakes:For the chocolate-olive oil cake:
1/2 cup buttermilk
2 tsp instant coffee powder*
1/3 cup olive oil
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup all-purpose flour, in 3 parts
1/3 cup cocoa powder
1/2 cup chocolate chips
2/3 cups granulated sugar
1 tsp baking powder
a pinch of salt

In a cup, combine the buttermilk with instant coffee, olive oil, eggs, and vanilla extract. In a bowl, sift in 2 parts of your flour with all of your cocoa powder first. Then add into that flour bowl the sugar, baking powder, and salt. In another bowl, toss the remaining flour with the chocolate chips. Alternate between pouring into the cocoa powder-flour bowl the buttermilk and the chocolate chips, mixing between pours until everything is combined. Line 6 4-inch bundt cake tins or molds and fill them with the batter. Bake at 350 degrees F for 25 minutes. Allow the cakes to fully cool before attempting to unmold.

For the olive oil ganache:

3 tbsp olive oil
1/2 cup milk
1 cup dark chocolate chips
1 tbsp creme di cacao*

A pinch of salt

In a bowl, bring up the olive oil with milk on low heat first. Once the milk just about to start simmering, add in the chocolate, creme di cacao, and salt. Stir off heat until everything is melted together. Drizzle over the bundt cakes.

To finish:
Finishing salt(I prefer fleur de sel for this!)

Sprinkle on top of the cakes the salt before serving.

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