Squidgy Chocolate Olive Oil Cupcakes

This is a twist on my Chocolate Earl Grey Cake.   It is gluten free and vegan.  It leaves out the earl grey stage and added a topping. Totally delicious. Somehow chocolatey, squidgy and crumbly all at the same time. Great for celebrating the forthcoming weekend on a Friday and great for lifting the spirits on a Monday. Who am I kidding?   These are great anytime – stick a candle on top and they are an instant birthday party!  They are also quick to whip up and very easy to make – particularly if you use the easy “cheat” topping.



This “cheat” topping came about because one evening about 10pm, goddaughter Chloe (www.vetyogi.com) realised she hadn’t made any cakes to take in for her last day at the vet practice she had been locuming in. Both tired, we whipped up a batch of cakes in 10 mins and got them in the oven.  We were about to make an icing when we realised that we had some Sweet Freedom Choc Shot that had been included in our online shop as a promo. We used that, though you could easily use a chocolate hazelnut vegan spread instead, together with some cacao nibs (you could use chocolate buttons or chopped chocolate instead) and chopped nuts to decorate the cooled cakes and were both in our beds by 11pm. Result!

If you make these cupcakes with ground almonds as I have here, then the cakes have a denser, more pudding-like texture with a ready made “dip” for the topping. A thumbprint as it were. If you prefer a domed top, substitute ordinary plain flour instead.  If you want to keep them gluten free use buckwheat flour which, despite its name has no wheat in it at all (it’s a south Asian plant related to rhubarb) and it has a nutty taste. Chocolate cookies made with buckwheat are delicious and I must put on a recipe for those another time. Yep! You’ve guessed it, chocolate is one of my obsessions!

If you’ve ever had a red velvet cake then you’ll know that vinegar can be used in cakes and gives a soft crumb.  It combines with bicarbonate of soda here as a replacement for eggs.  I promise you can’t taste vinegar in the baked product so don’t panic – nobody has ever complained of a pavlova tasting vinegary after all.

If you prefer to make smaller fairy cakes take 5 mins off the cooking time and set out 24 cases

Happy Friday/Monday/Birthday!


Ingredients (makes 12 cupcakes)

  • 50g cocoa powder
  • 125ml boiling water
  • 2tbsp distilled white or cider vinegar
  • 2tsp vanilla extract
  •  150ml light olive oil
  • 200g caster sugar
  • 225g  ground almonds or 175g buckwheat/plain flour
  • 1tsp salt
  • 2tsp bicarbonate of soda

To serve: vegan chocolate hazelnut spread or sweet freedom chocshot, cacao nibs/chopped chocolate pieces or buttons, hazelnuts/almonds finely chopped



  1. Set oven to 175c/160 fan.
  2. Whisk cocoa powder, boiling water, vinegar and vanilla extract together and allow to cool for 5mins.
  3. Put olive oil, sugar and the chocolate mixture into a bowl and beat till mixed.
  4. Add remaining ingredients and stir until just combined
  5. Divide the quite runny mixture between 12 cupcake cases (I use an icecream scoop to ensure even portioning).
  6. Bake for 25 mins till just firm remembering if using ground almonds they will have a “dip” in the middle
  7. Allow to cool before topping with the chocolate spread, cacao nibs and chopped nuts



Yum Scrum!


  1. These just make me happy Rosie! They really look so rich and chocolatey! So lovely that you came through with cupcakes in a pinch!! I’ll be they were a big hit! How’s your summer going?? And yoru garden?! we’re at our daughter’s and had tomatoes from her garden for dinner… hugs hugs from here Rosie!

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