Spring has finally arrived to the Swiss Alps and to say that it’s beautiful would be a major understatement! That’s why I won’t spend too many words describing it but rather do what I like to do the best and take about million photos and then do a blog post to share with you some of the beauty. I promise to reduce that million to somewhat more suitable number! 🙂
Major problem I’m having with this gorgeous warm weather and you know all those things you normally see on the postcard, the cows and goats with bells, flowers of all colors, green grass, blue lakes and white mountain peaks… makes it really difficult for me to stay home and work! That’s one of the challenges when working from home, you get easily distracted and it’s so easy to find an excuse and postpone work for later. It’s not like there is the boss in the office next door or clients demanding your attention. Been there, done that!
This is not so much of a problem in winter when it’s cold and gloomy outside but now it takes a strong willpower to stay behind the computer and do the work. Well, I open the window and listen to the birds singing while I work so that’s something, right!? And then for a break often I go for a long walk so can’t complain really. Talking about challenges of working from home, do you have that kind of experience and any suggestions how to stay focused? Another problem is that a lot of what I do is related to social media sites and it’s soooo easy to get distracted! You know, somebody posts a funny animals video that you just have to see or a video of someone with mad cake decorating skills (but wait, that’s food so I can put that under “research” category!) or you just go to see something on Pinterest and then realize it’s been half an hour you are there.
I remember in all my previous jobs and I had a few, before discovering what I want to do in life just after my 30th birthday, I always imagined how it would be working from home but never in a million years thought that I’ll actually do that one day. You kind of envy those people, especially on cold winter mornings when you need to go to the office but now I know that working from home besides the positive aspects has also a few big negatives. Number one is a social aspect. When you don’t go to work but stay home, you can easily get quite isolated and after a while you start missing those little chats you used to have with your colleagues or those coffee breaks when somebody says a bad joke or offer you a piece of chocolate. I find that music helps so you don’t start talking to yourself lol! 🙂
I guess like everything else in life, nothing is prefect and you need to focus on the positive. The best thing ever is to do something you love and I am so happy I discovered (even if a little bit later!) what makes me happy.
Now the cake!
The recipe for this Chocolate olive oil cake is from Nigella (you can find the original recipe here) and I made it already few time and love it. It’s a real rich chocolate cake and I promise you don’t feel the olive oil at all (as long as you don’t use extra virgin but regular one!). It’s also made from ground almonds and doesn’t have any flour in it so that makes it gluten free and suitable for all of those who can’t tolerate gluten.
It’s a delicious cake and easy to make. I decorated mine with whipped coconut cream and fresh blueberries but you can use anything you like, even regular whipped cream or mascarpone and other berries or even sprinkles.
- 150 ml regular olive oil
- 50 grams good-quality cocoa powder (sifted, about ½ cup)
- 125 ml boiling water
- 2 teaspoons best vanilla extract (or seeds for 1 vanilla bean)
- 150 grams ground almonds (1 ½ cups)
- ½ teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
- 1 pinch of salt
- 200 grams caster sugar (1 cup, I used raw cane sugar)
- 3 large eggs (or 4 small)
- Preheat your oven to 170°C (325 F). Grease a 22 or 23 cm (9 inch) springform tin with a little oil and line the base with baking paper.
- Measure and sift the cocoa powder into a bowl or jug and whisk in the boiling water until you have a smooth, chocolaty, still runny (but only just) paste. Whisk in the vanilla extract, then set aside to cool a little.
- In another smaller bowl, combine the ground almonds with the bicarbonate of soda and pinch of salt.
- Beat the sugar, olive oil and eggs with a mixer vigorously for about 3 minutes until you have thickened cream.
- Pour in the cocoa mixture, beating as you go, and then add ground almond mixture.
- Pour this batter into the prepared tin and bake for 45-50 minutes or until the sides are set and the very center, on top, still looks slightly damp. A cake tester should come up mainly clean.
- Let it cool for 10 minutes on a wire rack and then remove it from the tin.
- Enjoy it warm or at room temperature (it’s easier to cut the slices if the cake is cooled down).