Portable Chocolate Olive Oil Cakes and a Road Trip West

Chocolate Olive Oil Cake

Chocolate Olive Oil Cake

I’m bringing you more jar food today! This time, the jars actually serve a purpose- PORTABLE CAKE! Ok, I’ll stop yelling now, but you get the picture. Cakes in jars excite me.

My friend Jon moved to Oregon last week, and even though I still haven’t quite forgiven him for leaving, I thought I would be a supportive friend and do the drive from Dallas to Eugene with him. I’m fairly certain that any good road trip needs to include portable cakes, just in case of emergencies. You may think this is a little extreme, but we did actually have an emergency, which I’ll get to in a bit.

Ever since I made these cookies a few weeks ago, I’ve been fixated on combining chocolate and olive oil in cake form. The flavors really go well together, and this time I added a little almond to the mix as well. This recipe is another super simple one- a one bowl cake with no mixer required, not even for the frosting! It’s a small batch recipe that makes only 2 cakes, which are baked directly in the mason jars that you will later be spooning them out of. This recipe is also egg and dairy free.

Chocolate Olive Oil Cake

The frosting is a chocolate ganache made with coconut milk, cooled to room temperature, and then piped onto the cakes. If you’re not a fan of coconut, don’t worry. I couldn’t taste it at all, especially after adding a little bit of amaretto liquor to the ganache. I topped my cakes with chocolate sprinkles and some honey roasted almonds that I got at Trader Joe’s, but if you’re vegan, maple roasted almonds would be a good substitute.

Now on to the road trip. We drove though Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, Colorado, Utah, Idaho, and Oregon.

Oklahoma always surprises me with their restaurants. We found a place in Norman called Local with lots of veggie options and a great green chili chowder.

I continued my love/hate relationship with Colorado. It was beautiful, as always, but I swear I’m allergic to everything that blooms there, and the altitude drives me bonkers. Also, just as we were crossing into the Colorado border, we got caught in a terrible hail storm and Jon’s windshield got smashed. After getting pummeled for about 15 minutes, we managed to take cover at a gas station and ate cake out of a jar while waiting out the storm. I told you it came in handy!


We waited at a lovely little coffee shop while getting the windshield fixed in Idaho, but it set us back several hours in our trip, so the time that we had planned to stop in Portland got cut short. We did, however, get to stop at Salt and Straw (best ice cream ever!) which was recommended to me by Erika (check out her blog post all about Portland). There was a line out the door, which made me feel as though I was among kindred spirits. Anyone willing to wait in line for 30 minutes for ice cream understands me.

I also got to have Divine Pie! I saw these raw vegan pies on the Cooking Channel last year, and I’ve been dying to try them ever since. They sell them at the Portland Farmer’s Market on Saturdays, and even though we were there on Friday, I was able to locate one at a Whole Foods. They lived up to every expectation, and now I’m obsessed with raw vegan pie. You can see my experiments on Instagram.


Even though we missed the Portland market, we did get to see a little bit of the Saturday Market in Eugene. Highlights included cherries for miles, rhubarb (which I have yet to find in Dallas), every flavor of goat cheese imaginable, teeny tiny potted plants, and more dreadlocks than I have ever seen in my life. I feel like Oregon is my food soul mate and I can’t wait to go back!



Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset




Portable Chocolate Olive Oil Cakes

Yield: 2 mason jar cakes or 3 cupcakes


    For the Cake:
  • 4 tablespoons non-dairy milk
  • 1/4 teaspoon vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons cocoa powder (I used Dutch process)
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/8 teaspoon baking powder
  • pinch of salt
  • For the Ganache:
  • 1/3 cup full fat canned coconut milk
  • 6 ounces semi-sweet chocolate
  • 1 tablespoon amaretto liquor (optional)
  • Toppings:
  • Chocolate sprinkles
  • Honey roasted almonds


    For the Cake:
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees fahrenheit.
  2. Grease and flour 2 half-pint sized mason jars (I used Bake Easy non-stick spray) and place them on a baking sheet for easier handling.
  3. In a small bowl, combine the non-dairy milk and vinegar. Set aside for a couple of minutes to curdle.
  4. Add the vanilla extract, sugar and olive oil and whisk until frothy.
  5. Add the all purpose flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.
  6. Whisk until combined.
  7. Divide the batter between the mason jars and bake for 20-23 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into center of the cake comes out clean.
  8. Cool on wire racks for about 15 minutes.
  9. Run a knife around the sides of the cakes and turn them out of the mason jars to cool completely.
  10. For the Ganache:
  11. In a small sauce pan, heat the coconut milk over medium heat until it just beings to boil.
  12. Remove the pan from the heat and whisk in the chocolate and liquor until the mixture is smooth.
  13. Let the mixture come to room temperature.
  14. To Assemble the Cakes:
  15. Place the frosting in a piping bag fitted with a star tip
  16. If your cake has domed up on the top, slice it off to make the cake flat (the dome is perfect for taste testing).
  17. Slice the cake horizontally into 2 even layers.
  18. Place one layer of the cake in the bottom of the jar.
  19. Pipe a layer of frosting over the cake.
  20. Add an additional layer of cake and pipe an additional layer of frosting.
  21. Top with sprinkles and/or honey roasted almonds.


  1. You are a saint to drive that far!! Growing up in a town outside of San Francisco, we’d take a road trip down to San Diego about once a year to visit my grandparents, but Texas all the way to Oregon… That takes true dedication and patience! So happy you both survived the hail storm, and your decadent cakes must have saved the day! I’ve only been to Portland and Eugene twice, and since both times were for a running relay race (we ran from Portland to Eugene with 12 people in under 24 hours — so much!), I barely got to explore either city. I’m definitely taking notes from all of your stops for sweet treats for the next time I’m able to visit!
    Amy recently posted…Strawberry & Chocolate Brownie BlintzesMy Profile

    1. I’ve heard about that relay! It sounds really tough, but I bet the scenery along the way was beautiful.

  2. Portable cake? Sheer brilliance! They look fabulous!
    Jess @ Sweet Menu recently posted…Baked Donuts Glazed Three WaysMy Profile

    1. Thank you, Jess!

  3. they look yummy!
    dina recently posted…Weekend Whets 6/13My Profile

  4. Cakes in jars definitely come in handy! Yikes on the windshield situation – but the cakes totally saved the day : ) And these sound delicious – I’ve had olive oil on the brain after your last post – I need to make one of these!
    Ashley recently posted…Roasted Sweet Potato and Brown Butter FlatbreadsMy Profile

    1. Thanks, Ashley! I’ve had olive oil on the brain, too. I want to put it in all of my desserts!

  5. Wowow gorgeous pics!!!!! I absolutely could not pull off taking my DSLR around with me to take pics, but yours are beautiful. Actually, on second thought I can’t even tell if some of those market pics are iphone or DSLR! You are clearly an iphone picture goddess if so.

    Thanks so much for the link love! I’m SO glad you got to try Salt & Straw–I totally feel like Oregon is my food soul mate too. But now I’m sad I didn’t get to try the raw pies!!! But thank you for turning me onto a sweet that doesn’t involve baking! After I got back from Paris, I was all eager to try pate a choux and financiers and madeleines but hello, it is SO HOT. Raw pies are just the thing for this summer–and I love how mini they are!!! (PS. I want to road trip with you. Best snack bringer ever!!! These sound amazing!!!!!!)
    Erika recently posted…Portland!My Profile

    1. Thanks, Erika! They’re actually iPhone pics, but I edited them with VSCO. I loved everything I had a Salt and Straw, but now I’m in total ice cream withdrawal since we have nothing even close to that in Dallas. All I can think about are raw pies and ice cream! And yes, we should totally road trip together, or at least meet in Austin sometime and eat the hell outta some Gordoughs!

  6. OMG! I think I work at the gas station you stopped at in the hailstorm!

    Wish you’d brought me cake…

    1. That’s funny! I would have totally brought you cake!

  7. […] in Portland for only a couple of hours on a Friday night (you can read about the road trip debacle here). After some research, I was able to locate a key lime pie at a Whole Foods, and have been […]

  8. You’re such a good friend for braving the allergy-inducing wildlife in Colorado for your friend! Holy crap, the windshield story is freaky. That’s some crazy ass hail you guys encountered! At least you were able to eat some delicious food while you were waiting for it to be fixed. Natasha, these cakes are beautiful! And I’m obsessed now with the coconut milk ganache. That’s such an amazingly brilliant idea!
    Nancy @ gottagetbaked recently posted…Earl Grey Rum Cake and the Dying Art of ConversationMy Profile

    1. Thanks, Nancy! Coconut milk ganache is my new favorite thing. I hope you try it!

  9. Looks so lovely!

    Was wondering if you can bake it as one whole cake rather than in separate jars and if so, what size tin and do baking times change?
    Thanks in advance. x

  10. Just wanted to tell you I am so swooning over that ganache frosting!!
    Monica recently posted…Raspberry buttermilk cakeMy Profile

  11. […] Portable Chocolate Olive Oil Cakes by The Cake Merchant would be fun to take on a picnic! Just be careful not to drop the glass at the […]

  12. Wow, this looks fun! I’m making desserts for my wedding. We want 3 different options, and they’ll all be in mason jars. Naturally at least one of the desserts needs to be chocolate. The other recipes I’ve trialed just aren’t quite what we’re looking for, but your recipe sounds amazing!! Only thing is, I need about 40 chocolate cakes… Can this recipe be increased for larger batches? Would the proportions stay the same?

    1. When I make larger batches, I use this recipe: http://www.chow.com/recipes/10794-basic-vegan-chocolate-cupcake (you can replace the canola oil with olive oil if you want the flavor). You can get about 12 jars out of it and it’s easy to double.

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