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This Dark Chocolate Olive Oil Cake with Blueberries and Ginger is deeply chocolaty, rich, and moist, with complex fruity flavor notes thanks to the addition of olive oil, blueberries, and ginger.

Dark Chocolate Olive Oil Cake with Blueberries and Ginger 1

We all have a favorite oil, whether it is coconut oil, avocado oil, olive oil, or something else. Like any other staple, our favorite oil is always in our pantry, and it’s often what we reach for when we want to make everything from fried eggs to muffins to sautéed vegetables. For a lot of us, olive oil reigns supreme because if it’s flavor, cooking versatility, and health benefits.

A Happier Healthier You 2015

For this month’s installment of A Happier Healthier You 2015, I’m excited to be featuring Laura Bashar from Family Spice and Mary Platis from California Greek Girl, the talented ladies who authored Cooking Techniques & Recipes with Olive Oil.

Laura and Mary

Mary and Laura

From their cookbook:

Olive oil is a staple of the Mediterranean diet – and largely responsible for making it one of the healthiest and most delectable diets in the world. Like a fine wine or exquisite cut of meat, olive oil is known for its dynamic and diverse flavor characteristics. Understanding basic olive oil properties will hopefully inspire you to experiment with new flavor combinations in your dishes and encourage you to cook ethnic foods with oils from different regions.

Olive Oil Cookbook Cover

Their cookbook demonstrates just how versatile olive oil is with sweet and savory recipes showing how to use olive oil for poaching, braising, marinating, steaming, and baking. Their recipes are a seamless integration of timeless cooking techniques and fresh new flavor ideas. Their Figs with Muscato Grapes recipe combines fruit with herbs, spices, garlic, and vanilla, and can be paired with soft goat cheese and served as crostini or used as a topping for vanilla ice cream. Mind-blowing, right?

And I love how the cookbook weaves in cultural backgrounds from both authors. Mary’s Greek roots are showcased in the recipe for Greek Style Vegetables with Tomatoes, Laura’s Persian heritage is reflected in the gorgeous rice dish Basmati Rice with Potatoes, Dill, and Saffron, and some recipes – like Stuffed Grape Leaves with Brown Rice, Kale, and Fresh Herbs – are common to both cultures.

Dark Chocolate Olive Oil Cake with Blueberries and Ginger 2

Laura and Mary were kind enough to answer a few questions for us…

1) What are a few of the main properties (health, flavor, etc.) that distinguish olive oil from other oils? 

Extra virgin olive oil is the only oil that is a monosaturated fat; all other oils are saturated fats. Extra virgin olive oil is also high in polyphenols. It is also the only oil that is produced by simple, mechanical means, and does not require chemicals or further processing like other oils. Because of this, extra virgin olive oil can be used for all diets: low carb, paleo, raw, vegan, etc. Since there are thousands of different olive varieties that can be used to produce extra virgin olive oil, it is the only oil that offers numerous flavor profiles: peppery, pungent, buttery, mild, and everything in between. And this is not the flavored olive oils, either, but plain extra virgin olive oil. Despite the myths floating around out there, you can fry, roast, bake, braise, and cook anything in extra virgin olive oil!

2) We hear so much about the health benefits of olive oil; is it really as healthy as experts say it is?

Yes, it’s all true! First of all, we are talking about the health benefits of extra virgin olive oil, not virgin, pure, light, or any other lesser-quality olive oil. That being said, consider extra virgin olive oil as a fresh fruit juice versus a saturated fat. Olive oil is a monosaturated fat that contains MUFAs, which keeps the oil in a liquid form in your blood stream as opposed to solidifying and clogging your arteries. Extra virgin olive oil also controls insulin levels and lowers cholesterol. The high polyphenol count in olive oil means that it is high in antioxidants and also reduces inflammation. Extra virgin olive oil is also high in Vitamin E.

3) How does the region where the olives are from effect the oil? Is there a particular region that produces the “best” olive oil?

Olive trees grow best in a Mediterranean-like climate, meaning it likes dry and arid weather. It does not require a tremendous amount of water, but does prosper in good soil and with good farming practices. How the trees and olives are handled by the farmer and miller are vital to the quality of the oil. Today olive oil is being produced in areas that were not traditional thought to be good climates, like cold Canada or humid Georgia, but they are doing well because of the farming techniques and the variety of olive tree being grown. The soil conditions, water, and climate all affect the favor of your oil. So, for example, a Korneiki olive oil produced in Greece will taste different than the same tree growing in California.

4) What should we look for when buying olive oil? 

  • Find a store where you can taste the olive oil. 
  • Buy from a store you can trust and has high quality standards.
  • Do not buy olive oil based on color. Good olive oil comes in all shades of yellow and green. 
  • Only buy extra virgin olive oil, first pressed olives with no additives or chemicals. 
  • Read the labels and fine print on the bottles. Look for seals of quality and certifications. 
  • Do not buy olive oil that lists many countries of origin. 
  • Look for “best-by date” or “harvest date” for freshness. 
  • Buy olive oil flavors to match style of cooking, and match your use for your meals.

5) What is the ideal way to store olive oil and how will we know if our olive oil is rancid?

Store olive oil in a dark bottle or in a cupboard to keep out sunlight which can damage and spoil your oil. Because olive oil is perishable, you should use within one year of purchasing the oil (if no best-buy date is listed). There are sensory classes you can take if you really want to be an expert on rancid olive oil, but for the average person, rancid oil can have a metallic, briny, moldy taste. It generally tastes bad. Once you have had good extra virgin olive oil, taste the store-bought $7 bottle. Then you will really know what rancid olive oil tastes like!

6) Laura and Mary, what is each of your all-time favorite recipe using olive oil?

Laura: I love the fact that I can bake practically anything using extra virgin olive oil. Things like scones and pie crust, which were always considered to be “butter-only” recipes can be easily made with olive oil. We have a whole wheat scone recipe in our cookbook, but I also have a Red Currant and Rosemary Olive Oil Scone recipe on my blog.

Mary: Growing up Greek, we used olive oil in everything. My mom would make Braised Root Vegetables with Olive Oil all the time. It’s such an easy dish to prepare and I make it all the time for my family.

Dark Chocolate Olive Oil Cake with Blueberries and Ginger 3

So, what did I make first from their cookbook? Well, let me just say that deciding what to make was a real challenge (they have recipes for things like Apple Lattice Pie with Olive Oil Crust, Chicken Kebabs with Cucumber-Mint Barley, and Vanilla and Cinnamon Infused Olive Oil!), but I went for the chocolate. (If you know me, this probably comes as no great surprise.) Dark Chocolate Olive Oil Cake with Strawberries, to be exact.

Only, I had an issue: no strawberries on hand, but a fridge full of blueberries. (You see where this is headed, right?) I also added a touch of ginger because a) I love it with blueberries and b) I thought it would be a nice pairing with a peppery olive oil. It was a great addition. I also made a few minor adjustments to the recipe based on what I had on hand (anything to avoid a trip to the grocery store if it can be avoided!), and it ended up being a really lovely cake. Moist, flavorful, and deeply chocolatey, which is my kind of cake. I will definitely be making it again.

Dark Chocolate Olive Oil Cake with Blueberries and Ginger 4

Dark Chocolate Olive Oil Cake with Blueberries and Ginger
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Yield: 1 (9-inch round) cake
This cake is deeply chocolaty, rich, and moist, with complex fruity flavor notes thanks to the addition of olive oil, blueberries, and ginger.
  • Olive oil, to grease the pan
  • 1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup natural unsweetened cocoa powder (not Dutch-processed)
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon ground ginger
  • ¼ teaspoon baking soda
  • ¾ cup plain, unsweetened yogurt (not Greek yogurt)
  • ½ cup olive oil (see Note)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup (200 g) sugar
  • 1½ teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • ¾ cup semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1 cup blueberries, divided
  • Powdered sugar, for dusting (optional)
  1. Preheat the oven to 350F; brush the inside of a 9-inch round cake pan with olive oil and line the bottom with parchment paper.
  2. Wisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, salt, ginger, and baking soda in a medium bowl.
  3. Whisk the yogurt, olive oil, eggs, sugar, and vanilla extract together in a large bowl.
  4. Stir the flour mixture into the wet ingredients half at a time; be careful not to over-mix. Fold in the chocolate chips.
  5. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and sprinkle ½ cup blueberries on top.
  6. Bake until a wooden pick inserted into the center comes out clean or with just a couple crumbs, about 40 to 45 minutes.
  7. Cool in the pan for 15 minutes, then run a knife along the outside of the cake, remove it from the pan, and let it finish cooling on a wire rack.
  8. To serve, sprinkle the remaining ½ cup blueberries on top. Dust with powdered sugar, if desired.
Olive Oil: Use extra virgin for a stronger flavor, or use light olive oil to keep it more neutral-tasting. I like a peppery extra virgin here to compliment the flavor of the ginger.

Giveaway Prize Pack

: : GIVEAWAY : :

One lucky winner will receive the following: one copy of Cooking Techniques & Recipes with Olive Oil from Laura and Mary, as well as one bottle of olive oil and one bottle of balsamic vinegar from Montello Fine Foods. If you’ve never tried Montello’s products, you’re in for a real treat! I recently had the pleasure of sampling their olive oil (which is smooth and bright-flavored) and balsamic vinegar (which is thick and sweet), and was impressed by the quality of both. (Thank you to Laura, Mary, and Montello Fine Foods for sponsoring this giveaway!)

To participate in this giveaway, just leave a comment on this post telling me your favorite way to use olive oil.

For extra entries, you can do any of the following (please leave a separate comment for each):

You do not need to have a blog to enter this giveaway. For shipping purposes, this giveaway is only open to residents of the U.S. This giveaway ends on September 6, 2015 at 11:59 PM EST. Once the giveaway ends, the winner will be randomly chosen and notified via email. The winner will have three business days to respond with his or her mailing information, otherwise a new winner will be randomly chosen. Good luck to all!

Disclosure: I received a copy of this cookbook and samples of Montello Fine Foods products for free, and the cookbook authors and Montello Fine Foods are providing the prize for this giveaway; as always, opinions stated are my own. This post contains Amazon affiliate links to products I believe in, which means that even though it doesn’t cost you anything extra, I will receive money from the sale of these items; thank you for helping to support An Edible Mosaic!

Faith, author of An Edible Mosaic.
About Faith

I’m the writer, recipe developer, photographer, and food stylist behind this blog. I love finding the human connection through something we all do every day: eat! Food is a common ground that we can all relate to, and our tables tell a story. It’s my goal to inspire you to get in the kitchen, try something new, and find a favorite you didn’t know you had.

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  1. Any advice on how to turn this recipe into cupcakes?

    1. Emily, To bake this recipe as cupcakes, line the tray with paper liners and keep the oven temperature at 350F, but start checking for doneness around the 18 minute mark. (I’m guessing this recipe will take anywhere from 18 to 25 minutes as cupcakes.)

  2. This looks delicious! Can you use frozen blueberries?

    1. Lisa, Thank you so much! Yes, you can definitely use frozen blueberries! I would just skip adding them as a garnish to the top after the cake is baked (but feel free to add the full 1 cup on top before baking).

  3. How can I substitute eggs?

    1. Khushboo, I haven’t made this recipe without the eggs, but I think with a little experimentation it could work well. It’s important to remember that each egg provides about 1/4 cup of liquid in addition to adding structure and rise to the cake. Applesauce or “flax eggs” may work, but you might want to add additional levener to compensate for losing the rise that eggs would normally provide. I hope this helps!

  4. Beachcomber says:

    Making it today, finally! I have started using olive oil for almost all baking/cooking. What a nice subtle flavor in cakes and cookies. Quick question…why not Greek yogurt? That’s all I normally buy. Thank you for the information and amazing cake recipe!

    1. Beachcomber, The whey in regular yogurt helps keep this cake really moist. It may also work with Greek yogurt, but will probably not have the same moist/tender crumb. Let me know how it goes if you give it a try!

  5. Allison A Kapitanoff says:

    HELP! Have to be completely dairy free and want to make this for Thanksgiving dinner. Anyone have acceptable substitutions for the 3/4 cup of yogurt???

    1. Allison, You could try this with either mashed bananas or unsweetened applesauce instead of the yogurt. However, because the slight acidity of yogurt works in conjunction with the baking soda in this recipe, you’ll want to add acid back in if you use mashed bananas or applesauce instead of yogurt. If you go with one of these substitutions, I’d add either 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice or 3/4 teaspoon apple cider vinegar. Let me know how it goes if you give it a try!

  6. I love using olive oil in cakes – and I love the flavor combination of blueberry and ginger you used!

  7. This cake looks and sounds fabulous! Our family is somewhat obsessed with quality olive oil :) I use it in so many things, including baking, and we go through about 2 large bottles each month! Great flavor combo in this cake, will have to try it!

  8. What a beautiful, simply elegant cake! I pinned this, too. It’s definitely something I would make and love!

  9. Oops, just read the second question on how to use it outside the kitchen! My husband used olive oil yesterday to degrease a camera part.

  10. So many great ways to use olive oil, already listed. I’ll go a different route and tell you lovely it is applied topically! I used to throw it into the mix of my belly butter I would make when pregnant… Two pregnancies and zero stretch-marks! (Feel free to delete this link, but if anyone is interested in seeing how to make it:

  11. Ginny McMeans says:

    That is a beautiful cake and what fantastic information about olive oil. I need to add that cookbook to my collection.

  12. I love to mix some avocado, chopped kale, fresh from the garden tomatoes, cilantro, sea salt and olive oil for an incredible salad. Even kale haters will love this one.

  13. Wow! What an awesome looking cake. I love all the ingredients, and also the fact how deeeliicous and full of good healthy this cake is. Beyond YUM. Can’t wait to try.

  14. Kirsten Doherty says:

    Absolutely love the Blood Orange oil!!! I had the pleasure of tasting brownies that had been made with it and it opened up a new world to me. Since then I’ve used it to make a lot of things but my favorite are eggs and pumpkin spice cookies. I also used oil on my belly when I was pregnant with my daughter in hopes of keeping away some of the stretch marks. It worked as well as it could and I would definitely do it again if we were to have another. I’d love to see a lavender oil from them!!!

    1. We’re happy to hear that you’re enjoying our products Kirsten!

      We can special order some Rosemary/Lavender Olive Oil, which goes well on fresh fish, pot roast, breads, cookies, roasted whole chickens, egg dishes, summer salads, and sauces.

      Email your contact information to [email protected] and we’ll send you the details.

  15. yotam ottolenghi has an awesome olive oil cake (most unique for me)

  16. i mix coffee grinds leftover from my morning aeropress and olive oil for a body scrub

  17. i like to use olive oil in any recipe that calls for any oil at all (especially my challah)

  18. I love adding olive oil to places where it’s not expected! It always adds the best flavor to cakes, in my opinion. Especially with chocolate! This looks pretty magical.

  19. Bianca @ Sweet Dreaming says:

    the most unique olive oil recipe i’ve made is an olive oil chocolate mousse!

  20. Bianca @ Sweet Dreaming says:

    love it for roasting veggies!

  21. I love this recipe! The thing is every time I make an olive oil cake I tell myself I should do it more often because they come out so tasty and then I completely forget until I see another recipe I want to try. Now I need to make this because the chocolate and ginger together sounds AMAZING!

  22. Such a beautiful cake! Love your on-hand substitution. What a fun way for you friends to begin using extra virgin olive oil. Thank you!

  23. Great recipe! I love olive oil in everything, especially dipping crusty bread in evoo.

  24. I make Olive Oil and Orange Cake but have never tried one with blueberries and ginger! This cake looks totally scrumptious and with the flavors from the berries and ginger – I can imagine yummi-ness in every mouthful!

  25. Those ladies are awesome! My favorite ways to use olive oil are homemade tomato sauce and in brownies!

  26. I liked montello fine food on FB

  27. I liked California Greek girl on FB

  28. I liked family spice on FB

  29. I liked an edible mosaic on Facebook

  30. My fav non culinary use of olive oil was for my baby! I would put it on his head and massage it into his cradle cap to loosen it (gross I know!)

  31. The most unique thing I have made with olive oil is my own homemade mayo from scratch with A CUP of olive oil

  32. I love roasting lots of peppers and preserving them under olive oil!

  33. This looks so good! I love rustic and delicious looking food and your pictures are amazing! ANd dark chocolate…. with the sweetness from blueberries! perfection!

  34. A fabulous cake! Thanks for sharing this interesting interview with us.



  35. Vanessa Grimmett says:

    I love making my own salad dressings with extra virgin olive oil, and using garlic olive oil for top of the stove popcorn.

  36. I know I can’t enter the giveaway, but I had to comment anyway because the cake is so very, very beautiful. :-) What an inspiring and informative book. :-)

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