I read about this orange, olive oil chocolate cake on Rhonda Sittig’s Thankful Heart blog. Although I don’t usually bake that much, mainly because someone then needs to eat it, and it’s unkind to feed large amounts of yummy but fattening foods to the loved ones in ones life…..however, I couldn’t resist trying this olive oil and orange cake covered in chocolate ganache. I made it a day after Rhonda posted it and then, in defiance of my own rule about never bringing anything when someone has invited you over for dinner in Switzerland (supplementary food that is, not presents) I brought it along to our dinner invitation along with a bottle of red wine. A pairing I would like to try with this would be an Etoile Du Sud, Carignan Grenache Assemblage from the Cotes de Roussillon Villages, in France, but I didn’t have one handy. No matter by the time we got to dessert we were full and had moved from wine to tea. I assiduously followed the thankful Heart’s cake recipe – resisting the temptation to substitute some flour with almond meal, and some of it with finely ground semolina which I imagined might add a nice texture and some moisture, I also resisted adding Cointreau or orange flower water, so much self-control (!! – those of you who are challenged when they have to follow a recipe will understand this problem). And only in the last-minute did I succumb to the impulse to throw in a 1/4 cup of chocolate chips, from Costco, from a bye-gone era (Change I) . The problem was however, that the batter is quite runny, so the chips sank to the bottom, but they made a nice crunchy base so that was fine. And the kids enjoyed trying to find them in the cake, and triumphantly proclaiming when they found one. And the second change I made was for the Ganache, I used 75% dark chocolate, orange juice and butter, melted in a bain-marie instead of Rhonda’s version which uses chocolate chips, orange juice and cream if I remember rightly. For my Ganache I also didn’t follow any amounts, which is typical, I just melted 75% cocoa solid chocolate (about 150g) and added some orange juice (about 2tbsp) and butter (not too much, about 1 tbsp) and mixed till it felt right and tasted good with the orange flavour singing forth. Two comments, you must use fresh oranges, and secondly find organic ones, I couldn’t and so used regular oranges, which I washed, but the peel doesn’t taste the same, as well as not being too good for you probably.
WHY TRY IT or the result: 1) Takes no time at all. If you are an aficionado of ready bake mixes, think again, this will meet your needs much better, and you know what’s in it! 2) Pleases kids and adults. All adults scarfed their piece down and one had seconds, and the children proclaimed after their first fork-ful that it was really very good. Kids are 6 and 8, so I was a bit surprised, as orange, dark chocolate and olive oil are not typically thought to be child-friendly flavours 3) The verdict of the assembled group was: add to recipes, and make again. For my part I thought the cake was a bit too dry, but the flavours were great, and in combination with the rich ganache, it worked very well. So key learnings – make sure to serve with bathed in soft chocolate and make sure to rescue out of the oven as soon as it is done!