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From The Cake Book by Rebecca Firth at

I was in the home stretch of writing The 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 one bowl. If you’re craving chocolate, this is your girl! The cake is soft, fluffy and moist, and the cream cheese frosting is the perfect contrast of texture and flavor. This is so simple to make and can be served casually with a sprinkle of sea salt flakes, or dressed up with sprinkles for your finest of special occasions.                                                       

MAKES 8 TO 10 SERVINGS                           

FOR THE CAKE                               

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


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


Sea salt flakes or sprinkles (optional)

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

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

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

For the Salted Chocolate Buttercream: In a large, heat-safe bowl, add the chocolate, butter and cream/milk and set 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. Take off of the heat and let cool for 10 minutes, stirring frequently. In a large bowl, mix the confectioners’ sugar, cream cheese, vanilla and salt until thoroughly combined (it will be thick). Add in the melted chocolate, stirring until smooth and glossy. Make sure the chocolate and cream cheese mixture are the same temperature before combining. Smear over the top of the inverted cake, sprinkle with sea salt flakes (or sprinkles) and serve.                                   

NOTE: To garnish with chocolate curls(as seen on the cover):In a medium, heat-safe bowl add 1 1⁄2 cups (255 g) dark chocolate and set over a medium saucepan of simmer water, stirring until melted. Pour over an inverted baking sheet spreading with an offset spatula into a thin layer. Once cool, but still soft, use a bench scraper or spatula to scrape the chocolate gently into curls. Set on parchment paper until ready to use or stash in the fridge/freezer if it’s an especially warm day.