Some people are really strict when they follow a keto way of eating, eating only strict clean keto foods. But I think most people can get away with having the occasional sweet treat, as long as it doesn’t lead you off into other cravings and make you want more and more sweet foods.  If you struggle to just have one piece of sweeter food, then stick on track with your good keto. But for me, I will have the occasional bit of sweet food, and usually as a dessert.

I do use keto friendly sweeteners, usually sticking with erythritol, although I do notice that my version of ‘sweet’ is very much lower sweetness than what non-keto people eat and think is sweet.  My brother gamely tried my keto vanilla and pecan cheesecake over Christmas. It did have sweetener in, but it was the nuts you tasted, and he thought it tasted more savoury than sweet. But to me it was sweet enough. So tastes do change.

In a few keto groups I’m in, I’ve seen Nigella Lawon’s olive oil cake come up as a suggestion for cake.  With just a couple of tweaks you can make it keto friendly, but still make it taste good.

chocolate olive oil cake keto style

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With ground almonds and light or mild olive oil, you can just remove the sugar totally and the cake still works. It is quite bitter without any sweetener especially if you’ve only just moved to keto, or still have sweetener.  So you can add the equivalent sweetener in to what she has in her recipe for sugar.  I halved the amount of sweetener and that was just enough.

For the olive oil do make sure it’s light and not extra virgin. You don’t want a strong taste of olive oil.  Alternatively it does work with coconut oil instead, but it will be a softer bake.  I just used ground almonds as they’re cheaper than almond flour, but you could make with the less granular almond flour – it might turn out more cakey and lighter than the ground almonds. You will find it’s quite a dense cake because it uses almonds rather than normal flour. But this makes it a really good dessert cake.

If you’re not making it for a dessert for family and friends, then do what I do.  Cut it up into individual pieces, then freeze in an airtight container with greaseproof paper inbetween.  To serve just defrost at room temperature. Although I like to then warm it up slightly in the microwave, and serve with a few berries and double cream. This also helps to sweeten it if you prefer to leave the sweetener out.

To add flavour to the cake, try adding a flavouring of choice. I used orange extract for a chocolate orange cake, and peppermint extract is a good option too.  If keto, look out for non oil based extracts which are more intense and cost a bit more, as well as being non keto friendly oils (they tend to have be rapeseed oil based). But it keeps the carbs down more. I use this orange extract, and this peppermint (US alternative).

If you’re not a chocolate fan, you can even turn it into an almond and raspberry cake instead. Just leave out the cocoa and hot water, replace the vanilla extract with almond extra, and before adding to the tin, stir some slightly mashed raspberries into the mix.

Keto Nigella’s olive oil chocolate cake recipe

Serves 10-12
Prep 10 mins
Cook 35 mins

Ingredients

  • 150g ground almonds 
  • 150ml light or mild olive oil (plus more for greasing)
  • 100-200g of granulated erythritol or omit totally if you don’t want to use sweetener
  • 50g good-quality cocoa powder (sifted)
  • 125ml boiling water
  • 3 large eggs
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • ½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 tsp orange or peppermint extract (optional)

Instructions

1, Preheat oven to 170C (150C fan) / GM 3. Grease a 23 cm / 9inch springform tin with a little oil and line with baking parchment.

2, Sift cocoa powder into a bowl or jug, whisk in the boiling water til you have a smooth, chocolatey, slightly liquid paste. Stir in the vanilla extract, then leave it to cool a little.

chocolate mix for cake batter

3, In another bowl, combine the ground almonds, bicarbonate of soda, and pinch of salt.

4, Beat together the sugar, olive oil and eggs in a bowl til you have a light yellow and thickened cream. I beat by hand, or with an electric hand whisk, but you could do it with a paddle attachment in a stand mixer.

whisking the egg

5, Pour in the cocoa mix gradually, beating all the time. Then slowly add the ground almond mix. Stir, then pour into the tin.

6, Bake for 40-45 minutes until largely set. The centre will still look a little wet. Test with a cocktail stick which should be mostly clean but with a few crumbs on.

batter for nigella's olive oil cake

7, Let it cool for 10 minutes on a wire rack in its tin. then ease the sides of the cake with a knife and remove it from the tin.

olive oil chocolate cake turned out of the tin

8, I like serving it with a few berries and cream. Alternatively have it slightly warm with ice cream, keto or normal.

nigella's olive oil cake slice with cream and raspberries

Let me know how you get on with making it.

Keto Nigella’s olive oil chocolate cake recipe

A rich dark chocolate dessert type cake made with olive oil, and made keto by removing the sugar
Course Dessert
Keyword cake, chocolate, keto, low carb
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Total Time 1 hour
Servings 8

Ingredients

  • 150 g ground almonds
  • 150 ml light or mild olive oil (plus more for greasing)
  • 100-200 g granulated erythritol or omit totally if you don’t want to use sweetener
  • 50 g good-quality cocoa powder
  • 125 ml boiling water `
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • pinch salt
  • 1 tsp orange or peppermint extract (optional)

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 170C (150C fan) / GM 3. Grease a 23 cm / 9inch springform tin with a little oil and line with baking parchment.

  2. Sift cocoa powder into a bowl or jug, whisk in the boiling water til you have a smooth, chocolatey, slightly liquid paste. Stir in the vanilla extract, then leave it to cool a little.

  3. In another bowl, combine the ground almonds, bicarbonate of soda, and pinch of salt.

  4. Beat together the sugar, olive oil and eggs in a bowl til you have a light yellow and thickened cream. I beat by hand, or with an electric hand whisk, but you could do it with a paddle attachment in a stand mixer

  5. Pour in the cocoa mix gradually, beating all the time. Then slowly add the ground almond mix. Stir, then pour into the tin.

  6. Bake for 40-45 minutes until largely set. The centre will still look a little wet. Test with a cocktail stick which should be mostly clean but with a few crumbs on.

  7. Let it cool for 10 minutes on a wire rack in its tin. then ease the sides of the cake with a knife and remove it from the tin.

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2 Comments

  1. This looks so yum! It’s great that even when having to stick to a certain diet, we can still have cake. That’s my kind of diet! Thanks for sharing the recipe

    • Yes, I agree, it’s always important to have alternatives even if only for occasions.

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