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Gluten-Free Chocolate Almond Olive Oil Cake

Greetings, everyone! It’s another snowy day in the Rockies. The sun hasn’t come out yet so the snow is still clinging to many of the tree branches and it’s lovely.

Late yesterday, we took the beast out for a snowy romp. He seemed to enjoy himself and even dug up a frozen elk leg. Quite a day.


Tonight I am meeting up with a friend who cannot consume gluten. As a professional pastry chef I find it very satisfying when I can overcome baking obstacles- high altitude for one, and currently, gluten-free baking- with a delicious outcome.

I’ve always felt the best way to start gluten-free baking is with a recipe that is naturally gluten-free. For example, don’t start off trying to make breadsticks. That kind of recipe will require a little more knowledge of gluten-free ingredients.

Choosing a recipe that is naturally flourless or uses other tasty ingredients (chocolate, ground nuts, etc.) for “structure” is what to look for. You won’t be disappointed in something not tasting “the same”, and you will feel instant success because, look at it- you made it and it’s really good. And you can do more of this.

I toyed around with a quick bread recipe using an all-purpose flour substitute and I’m not thrilled with it yet. I am heading to Denver this week and plan to pick up some “Cup4Cup” as I have heard good things about it. For those of you living at altitude and seeking recipes that are gluten-free, I will be sure to post my successes.

In the meantime, start with this magnificent chocolate cake courtesy of Alice Medrich’s Sinfully Easy Delicious Desserts and Alanna at The Bojon Gourmet blog.

The eggs in this recipe do all the work, so as long as they’re kept at very soft peaks, no altitude adjustments are necessary. At my altitude, it took approximately 36 minutes to bake. The recipe suggests 40-45 minutes, so at any altitude just keep an eye on your cake after 35 minutes of baking. When it has puffed, the edges have slightly darkened, and the center no longer jiggles, it is done.




Rich, chocolate, and slightly nutty, no one will miss the flour lacking from this cake. It’s reminiscent of a decadent brownie. Another perk is that the cake uses olive oil, rather than butter, so it’s ‘dairy-free’.

For other gluten-free recipes on High Altitude Bakes, check out:
Stacked Chocolate Truffle Cheesecake
French Macarons

How to make this recipe:

Chocolate Almond Olive Oil Cake
Adapted from The Bojon Gourmet blog

Gluten-Free Chocolate Almond Olive Oil Cake
Recipe type: High Altitude Baking, Gluten-Free
  • 6 oz bittersweet chocolate, chopped into small pieces
  • ½ cup olive oil
  • ⅛ teaspoon salt
  • ¾ cup sugar, divided
  • ½ cup ground almonds/almond flour
  • 2 tablespoons sweet rice flour
  • 4 eggs, separated
  • zest of 1 orange or tangerine
  1. Preheat your oven to 325 F.
  2. In a saucepot, combine the chocolate, olive oil, and salt.
  3. Place over the lowest heat setting and stir until the chocolate has melted and the mixture is smooth.
  4. Whisk in ½ cup of the sugar, followed by the ground almonds and rice flour.
  5. Whisk in the egg yolks and citrus zest.
  6. In a mixing bowl, whip the egg whites and remaining ¼ cup sugar to very soft peaks.
  7. Gently fold the whipped egg whites into the chocolate mixture.
  8. Grease an 8" or 9" springform pan and scrape the batter into the pan.
  9. Bake for 35-40 minutes, or until the cake is puffed and firm in the center.
About the author

Chef Megan Joy

Alanna - April 3, 2013

Hi there! Thanks for the lovely write-up – I’m so glad you like the cake! Citrus zest sounds like a killer addition. Happy baking. 🙂

Kelli Billstein - April 14, 2013

Awesome cake!! I baked this cake in honor of my friend Rachel’s birthday. It was delish! I used coconut flour instead of sweet rice flour, and it turned out just fine. The texture was nice–moist and silky. The orange zest really comes through. I sprinkled powdered sugar on the top and added toasted almond slices + strawberries. Yum. Thanks!!

Pauli Novak - May 4, 2014

Hi Megan- Your blog is incredible, I think I have made at least half of your recipes! I live in Breckenridge and made the gluten free cake over the weekend. The flavor and texture was amazing, I had an issue with the edge rising about double above the center which looked like it rose a bit less than yours. I was wondering if this could be an altitude issue since I think we are 2-3000 feet above Vail, or if I possibly beat the egg whites too much. If it is altitude issue, do you think that I could add more rice flour or almond meal to fix this? I have made your stout brownie recipe and others that only use eggs for lift and they have worked perfectly. Thanks so much! Happy mud season!

    Chef Megan Joy - May 9, 2014

    Hi Pauli, thank you for the kind words. I’m glad you’ve had success with the HAB recipes! Did you happen to use a larger cake pan? That could be one reason the cake didn’t rise as high. Another could be as you guessed- the egg whites may have been over-beaten. Next time, try whipping them to a foam that barely holds together. I don’t believe that adding more rice/almond flour will help. Happy mud season and happy baking to you!

rae - June 22, 2014

I have a question about the possibility of frosting this cake: I’m not a dessert connoisseur by any means, but all the flourless chocolate cakes I’ve seen are served either with sprinkled powdered sugar or accompanied by ice cream or more liquid/syrupy accompaniments. Would it be weird to try to cover it with a buttercream or whipped cream frosting for decoration purposes? Or if you have any other tips on decorating without frosting, they would also be greatly appreciated!

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