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Chocolate + Port + Cherries + Extra-Virgin Olive Oil = Elegant Cake

High quality chocolate, with its nuances of deep flavors, can hold its own with any style of extra-virgin olive oil. If you prefer a buttery undertone, use a delicate oil. But do experiment with a robust oil as well. The taste of the chocolate and the oil will meld, elevating the cake to another realm.

One cake, 4 to 6 servings


1 ½ ounces dried sweet cherries, coarsely chopped
2/3 cup Ruby Port wine
butter and flour for the mold
6 ounces 70% chocolate, roughly chopped
2/3 cup (3 ½ ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour
¾ teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon fine sea salt
1 ½ ounces extra-virgin olive oil
4 ½ ounces granulated cane sugar
1 extra-large egg, at room temperature
½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
powdered sugar for dusting the finished cake


Preheat the oven to 350°F with the rack positioned in the middle.

Put the cherries in a small bowl. Pour the Port over the cherries and let them macerate while you continue preparing the recipe.

Butter and flour a 5-cup capacity ring mold, such as a 9 ½ inch savarin mold.

Put the chocolate in a medium stainless-steel bowl and melt it over simmering water. Remove the bowl and whisk the chocolate until it is smooth. Set aside.

Sift the flour, baking soda, and salt together into a bowl. Set aside.

Beat the olive oil and sugar on medium speed in the bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle until well combined and slightly fluffy, scraping down the sides of the bowl a few times. (This mixture will not be as airy as a beaten butter-sugar mixture.)

Break the egg into a small bowl and beat it lightly with a fork. Beat in the vanilla. With the mixer running, drizzle the egg/vanilla into the bowl a little at a time, waiting for each addition to become incorporated before adding more.

Beat in the melted chocolate.

Pour the cherries and Port into a sieve set over a small bowl. Set both aside.

Add the dry ingredients in three additions, alternating with the Port. Start and end with the dry ingredients.

Beat the cherries into the batter until they are just combined.

Pour the batter into the ring mold and bake until puffed and cracked and until a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean, about 20 minutes.

Cool on a rack, then unmold onto a serving plate so the cake is upside down.

Lightly dust with powdered sugar before serving.


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