Lemon-Chocolate Olive Oil Cake



  • 2 oz semi-sweet chocolate coarsely chopped
  • 2 oz milk chocolate coarsely chopped
  • 2 cups all-purpose flower
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 3 large eggs (at room temperature)
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup full-fat greek-style yogurt
  • Finely grated zest of 1 lemon plus 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for greasing
  • Confectioners’ sugar for dusting

In middle school I took my very first Home Ec class. I remember two things: one, my teacher was awful…I’m talking MEAN with a capitol M; and two: the year was divided into two sections. The first half of the year we were to learn how to sew….and the project at hand: boxer shorts. The second half of the year was devoted to baking.

Let’ssssss talk about the first half of the year: sewing.

I remember (for WHATEVER reason) I chose to make cow-pattern boxer shorts….? I also remember ditching that class… A LOT. When it came time to present our final project in front of the class, I stood up to show off my cattle-laid drawers… Ok, not only were the shorts PAINFULLY uneven, they literally fell apart when I held them up….It’s safe to say I didn’t pass.

When semester two came around, I remembered how important A) showing up to class was, and B) the necessity of following directions. I also discovered that there was a science to baking! If you followed the directions exactly as written you scarcely had an issue. If you ventured off book….helllllllo sunken cake!! Luckily, I learned a thing or two from my cow pants, and I stayed on book producing some very delectable treats 🙂  And thus, my love for baking was born!

Here’s to hoping the below recipe helps you to fall….or re-fall….in love with baking as well.

Directions: (the recipe has been altered by me, but the directions are exactly the same as found in Williams-Sonoma’s “Rustic Italian.”)

“Preheat the oven to 350* F. 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 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, 45-50 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 confectioners’ sugar and serve.”

What Worked:

This cake is SO beautiful, and SO moist. I adapted the recipe to fit my particular taste buds. Originally this recipe called for 4oz of bittersweet chocolate. However, I enjoy my desserts on the sweeter side, so I, instead, opted for a blend of semi-sweet and milk chocolate. The combination, along with the punch from the lemon, and the silkiness of the olive oil makes this a dessert I will definitely come back to again and again.

What DIDN’T Work:

Truthfully, there isn’t anything about this recipe that didn’t work. PAAAAAAARAISE!!!!


Here’s a little quick tip: when baking, I ALWAYS set the timer for less time than is called for. So, if a recipe calls for me to bake something for 45-50 minutes, then I bake it for 35 minutes and add time from there. Remember, you can always bake something for longer…but once it’s burnt, it’s burnt.



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