This little girl


has grown into an eighteen years old young lady,






She is a first year student in Archaeology at University of Volos.

Being away from home for first time gives her a new feeling of independence.

She is excited,

though you can say she is a little nervous too.


The night before she left her parents house

she made a chocolate cake.

Marilena, my niece.

 Marilena’s cake






200 gr extra virgin olive oil

1  2/3 cup sugar

6 eggs, separated

2 cups self rising flour

300 gr best quality dark chocolate (70% or more), melted

1  tsp orange zest, grated

1 1/2 tsp best quality vanilla powder

1 tsp black pepper, ground fresh

pinch salt

  Preheat the oven to 180C. Grease and line the base and sides of a  cake tin with greaseproof paper.
Using an electric mixer beat  sugar and olive oil. Gradually beat in flour and cooled, melted chocolate.
Stir in the yolks and mix very well. Beat egg whites / salt, until foamy. Gently fold them into the mixture. Add the grated orange zest, vanilla and pepper. Fold them into the batter using a spoon. Pour the mixture into the cake tin and bake in the middle of the oven for 55-60 minutes.

Serve cake – slices warm with vanilla ice cream.


  1. Congratulations, Marilena! Your post makes me think of my niece Mia, still only 13 years old but how quickly time passes. Then, perhaps I’ll be writing a post about her leaving home for college, too . . .

    The cake looks delicious and I’ve never put black pepper in it before – I’ll definitely have to try that!

  2. Υes Tangled Noodle, the time passes so quickly!

    Combining chocolate with hot spices is not new, actually is very old. Aztecks and Mayans added chiles into the cacao beverage, didn’t they?

  3. I love the idea of adding black pepper to chocolate; however it is the olive oil I am having a hard time with! I tried brownies with olive oil once and the oil definitely overpowered the rest (maybe it was the Lebanese olive oil, which is really strong)

  4. When making desserts, I use extra virgin olive oil. The truth is that my family produces a very delicate olive oil which works perfectly with biscotti, cookies, cakes, even ice cream and chocolate. And I use 3/4 as much olive oil as butter called for in the recipe (if the recipe calls for 1 cup of butter, I use 3/4 extra virgin olive oil instead).

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