Chocolate Olive Oil Cake with Caramel Sauce and Strawberries

We had a lot of birthdays around here this week. We host a yoga class in our attic every Friday night followed by a potluck so this week I rustled up this cake to celebrate 4 birthdays at once. I cannot emphasis enough how easy it is and the bang for the buck is huge. Rich flavor for not a lot of effort. The cake recipe is from Amanda Hesser at Food52 which is featured in A New Way to Dinner. I love this cookbook because it inspires a better sense of meal planning for the week by getting stuff done in advance over the weekend. The recipes are great but beyond the recipes it makes you think differently about everything you cook and how you can eat well all week long without killing yourself each night to get food on the table.

Adding in the caramel sauce and strawberries takes it over the top. The caramel sauce from Bobby Flay is also phenomenal over ice cream so if you have any leftover, grab a pint of vanilla and go nuts.

For the Cake (from Amanda Hesser)

2 cups all purpose flour

1 cup sugar

3/4 cup light brown sugar

1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1 1/3 cup olive oil

1 1/2 cups whole milk

1/4 cup orange juice

3 large eggs

6 ounces bittersweet chocolate, melted

For the Salted Caramel Sauce (from Bobby Flay)

1 cup sugar

1/4 cup water

1/2 cup heavy cream, warmed

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

3/4 teaspoons kosher salt

To serve

Sliced strawberries

Confectionary sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Oil and flour a 9 inch cake pan and line the bottom of the pan with a circle of parchment paper. Oil the paper.

Combine the flour, both sugars, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a large bowl. In a separate bowl, whisk together the olive oil, milk, orange juice, and eggs. Whisk the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients until incorporated. Fold in melted chocolate until incorporated.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 60 minutes until a cake tester comes out clean. Let cool on a wire rack for about 30 minutes. Invert the cake onto a plate and let cool completely for about two hours.

To make the sauce, put the sugar and water in a medium sauce pan and cook over medium high for about 10-12 minutes until reddish brown. All caramel instructions I have ever read tell you not to stir the sugar while it is caramelizing but I have a crappy stove with uneven heat that melts and browns at different intensities so I have stirred the mixture with a whisk as it is caramelizing.Occasionally a few sugar crystals form but as I continue to stir they go away. But I will say stir at your own peril since it is not the conventional thing to do and if you have a better stove than mine you might not need to.

When the caramel is a lovely reddish brown, whisk in the cream carefully. It will bubble up quickly as soon as you add it. Continue whisking for about 2 minutes until incorporated and thickened. Remove from the heat and stir in the butter and kosher salt. Keep the caramel warm until serving. You can refrigerate the sauce for up to a week but will need to reheat it to serve. Just put some hot water in a bowl and set the container you stored the caramel in the hot water for about 5 minutes.

To serve, sprinkle the cake with confectionary sugar, drizzle with caramel sauce and top with strawberries.