Cinnamon Olive Oil Chocolate Torte


They say there are two people in life, the cookers and the bakers. The bakers are more careful, measuring and cleaning as they go. They are the Type A personalities. In cooking, you need to be more flexible. You need to be able to think on your feet and taste as you go, adding the right spices or seasonings and using a recipe as a template. There really is nothing like baking. As much as I love cooking, I love the process of measuring out sweet sugar, flours, sorting, melting coconut oil, pouring oil oil, springform pans, ripping parchment paper, and putting out all the pots and pans for mixing. I love the process of lightly whipping eggs, of cracking eggs, of sprinkling spices. From scraping out pureed pumpkin to pouring coconut milk, the whole baking process gives me something to keep my hands busy. You put it all into a pan or you scoop the batter into rounds and you end up with this creation that warms the whole home. My new future apartment in my head has the perfect kitchen. It has a new oven that I don’t have to play with the temperature, but as it always is with me, the moment I have that, I will miss my oven that I know so well. I am the queen of never being satisfied.

I bake the most often when I need an escape from the dilemmas that roil around in my mind. There really isn’t anything that is plaguing my mind at the moment, but there is always that haunting feeling that is so common among millennials like myself. It’s that cold, sinking feeling that you are not living up to your true potential. The feeling of not so instant gratification and being too impatient to realize that life is actually always on time. I am always dreaming about something better, and lately I have been doing something better to get to where I want to be, but part of me is still petulant that it isn’t here yet. Pretty awful of me, huh?

We pretend like we are rooted to the places we are, but we have the freedom to fly anywhere we want to. I know I do, but for me, it is just about finding the right place to fly to. I pretend that I need a new solid job offer to move anywhere but that isn’t true. It is not easy to pick up your life, pack it into boxes and move across the country, but with some savings and an open heart, you can do it. But I have always been the controlling type. I like knowing when things will happen. My Moleskine planner is a necessity and when I don’t have it on me, I get pretty nervous. In savasana (corpse pose), I still run over my to do list in my head. I lay awake sometimes at night and think there is so much to do everyday, and while anyone should be proud of being able to work 50+ hours a week and run around all the time, some weeks it gives me more anxiety than anything. I am unfulfilled on a level that I felt like I settled for something, and I haven’t really forgiven myself for doing that just yet. I feel as though sometimes I don’t take enough risks, and I am trying to work on that. Even if it is something small, I think it will help me make some big jump sometime soon. I am still the girl that traveled to a dozen countries and would rather hop on a plane than do anything else. I didn’t know how it would turn out when I went to live in two countries for nine months when I was 21, and now at 23, I keep thinking of all that could possibly go wrong. But at 21, I didn’t have obligations besides academic ones, and at 23 I have financial responsibilities.

Maybe that is why I like baking so much, you need to be in control because substituting another oil for olive oil would ruin the science. The perfect measurements of things and the right ingredients can yield you something beautiful. And then there are these recipes that are great bases, but with the right warm spices, it is brought to life. This is one of those recipes. I originally read this in a magazine while I was sitting in Barnes and Noble after a yoga shift on Sunday, waiting for some yoga classes to start in two hours. This lovely, simple recipe is from Nigella Lawson. I have always loved her attitude and accent, and watching her on the Food Network has always given me countless ideas to play with in the kitchen. I have embedded her recipe below, with my additions and notes for the torte I ended up making. I don’t cook with all purpose flour a lot, but I do love the cakelike texture of this torte with the all purpose flour is worth it enough for me to try it once in a blue. The addition of light brown sugar and warm cinnamon made the torte even more flavorful to me, but feel free to add cayenne instead if you want more of a Mexican hot chocolate inspired torte.


— From Nigella Lawson’s “Nigellissima: Easy Italian-Inspired Recipes” (Clarkson Potter, $35) 8 to 12 servings

2/3 cup regular olive oil, plus more for greasing
6 tablespoons good-quality unsweetened cocoa powder, sifted
½ cup boiling water
2 teaspoons best vanilla extract
1½ cups almond meal (flour) (see note) (I used unbleached all purpose)
½ teaspoon baking soda
Pinch salt (I used Pink Himalayan)
1 cup superfine sugar (I used light brown sugar)
3 eggs

**3 teaspoons cinnamon (my addition)

**I topped the torte with a sprinkle of powdered sugar

1. Preheat your oven to 325 degrees. Grease a 1 x 9-inch springform pan with a little oil and line the base with parchment paper.

2. Measure and sift the cocoa powder into a bowl or pitcher and whisk in the boiling water until you have a smooth, chocolatey, still runny (but only just) paste. Whisk in the vanilla extract, then set aside to cool a little. In another smallish bowl, combine the almond meal with the baking soda and pinch of salt.

3. Put the sugar, olive oil and eggs into the bowl of a freestanding mixer with the paddle attachment (or other bowl and whisk arrangement of your choice) and beat together vigorously for about 3 minutes, until you have a pale-primrose, aerated and thickened cream.

4. Turn the speed down a little and pour in the cocoa mixture, beating as you go, and when all is scraped in, you can slowly tip in the almond meal mixture. Scrape down and stir a little with a spatula, then pour this dark, liquid batter into the prepared pan.

5. Bake for 40 to 45 minutes or until the sides are set and the very center, on top, still looks slightly damp. A cake tester should come up mainly clean, but with a few sticky chocolate crumbs clinging to it. Let it cool for 10 minutes on a wire rack, still in its pan, and then ease the sides of the cake with a small metal spatula and spring it out of the pan. Leave to cool completely or eat while still warm with some ice cream, as a dessert.

Note: For a more cakelike crumb, substitute ¾ cup plus 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour for the almond meal. But without the almond meal, it’s more of an everyday cake, Lawson writes.


Next time, I might add some citrus zest or lavender. You could always use chia eggs (water and chia seeds) for the eggs if you would like, but I love eggs and the rich flavor this has with the ingredients I used, so please feel free to adapt this according to your tastes. As I always say, there is always room for dessert.

health and happiness always,



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