Who says that you can’t make a delicious cake without using any butter? Here in Italy, it’s pretty common to bake sweets with olive oil, and this chocolate coffee cake recipe is the perfect demonstration that a cake can be mouth-watering and heavenly satisfying even without containing a lot of saturated fats.

Among all sweet recipes I know how to make, this one has a special place in my heart. When I was a child in fact, this was my grandmother’s “go to” cake. She used to prepare it at least once a week, and I can still remember as if it was yesterday, myself staring in front of the door of the oven with my little brother, waiting for it to be ready to eat.

Most of the time, she would bake just this plain version of the chocolate coffee cake, whilst some others she used to add some seasonal fruits as a filling, such as pears or strawberries. In fact, as this preparation is quite basic and simple, it has a lot of room for customization.

Following this recipe, you will get a rustic yet healthy and delicious cake, perfect for a birthday party or to end a lovely family meal. Where I come from, it is also pretty common to eat this kind of dessert even for breakfast!

Other than being soft and tasty, it is also extremely easy to make: in the end, all you have to do is to mix all the ingredients together and throw the cake into the oven for 40-50 minutes.

I’m sure you will love the rich depth of the cocoa combined with the sweetness of the dough and the slight sourness of the yogurt. Even more, according to my nonna, a bit of ground coffee enhances the cocoa taste, giving the cake an even nicer and more complex layer of flavor.

Some of our other favorite baking recipes using extra virgin olive oil:

Orange Sesame Cookies Baked with Olive Oil (Crete)

Traditional Greek Baklava

Cinnamon Walnut Apple Cake Baked with Olive Oil


Here is an article on how to substitute olive oil for butter in your recipes:

How to Bake with Olive Oil if Butter’s Scarce.

Italian Chocolate Coffee Cake

Italian Chocolate Coffee Cake

Giorgia Fontana
4.25 from 8 votes
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes
Servings 8
Calories 495 kcal



  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups white sugar
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp ground coffee
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder


  • 2 cups yoghurt (not Greek yogurt, but regular full fat yogurt)
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 pinch salt


  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  • Sift dry ingredients into a bowl. Mix well with a whisk.
  • In a large bowl, add yoghurt, olive oil and eggs. Beat for a minute with a whisk.
  • Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients. Whisk everything together until you reach a smooth and silky consistency.
  • Brush a 10 inch round cake pan with some olive oil and dust it with flour.
  • Pour the mixture into the pan and cook for 40-50 minutes. To make sure the cake is ready, insert a toothpick in it and check if it comes out clean.
  • Serve with some more yoghurt on the side.


Calories: 495kcalCarbohydrates: 80gProtein: 8gFat: 18gSaturated Fat: 4gPolyunsaturated Fat: 2gMonounsaturated Fat: 11gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 54mgSodium: 212mgPotassium: 229mgFiber: 3gSugar: 53gVitamin A: 128IUVitamin C: 1mgCalcium: 181mgIron: 3mg
Have you tried this recipe? Tell us about it!Click here to rate this recipe in the comments section below.
About the Author: Giorgia Fontana
Giorgia was born in a small town on the Italian Riviera, half the way between Genova and the Cinque Terre, just a few miles away from where pesto was invented. She has a background in psychology and neuroscience and is now completing her training to become a licensed psychologist while working as a web writer. As most of the time happens in Italy, it was her lovely grandmother that taught her how to cook and enjoy every bite of simple and genuine food. Giorgia loves preparing meals for family and friends and her specialty are authentic Sicilian and Ligurian dishes. Other than cooking, her greatest passions are traveling and trekking. Her biggest dream is to be able to see (and taste!) as much of the word as possible.


  1. Lynn November 4, 2021 at 6:06 pm - Reply

    How can this be anti-inflammatory with all the sugar and flour?

    • Bill Bradley, R.D. November 5, 2021 at 11:06 am - Reply

      Hi Lynn, Thanks for the comment. Not everything we have on the site is purely anti-inflammatory (although mostly they are). We do have a section under recipes where you can see all the specifically anti-inflammatory recipes. Hope that helps! – Bill

  2. Teresa Wadsworth April 3, 2021 at 12:17 pm - Reply

    Wonderful sounding recipe, but too much sugar! Is it possible to make if with less? Is the trade-off no butter, more sugar?

    • Bill Bradley, R.D. October 1, 2021 at 1:42 pm - Reply

      Hi Teresa,
      You can always cut back on sugar. I usually use honey or maple syrup instead of sugar and cut back even those.

  3. Mike July 4, 2020 at 8:05 am - Reply

    When you say ground coffee, do you mean instant coffee granules that will dissolve in liquid or coffee grounds that you use to brew coffee? Not sure I’d like biting into a coffee ground in the cake from time to time if it’s the latter.

    • Bill Bradley, R.D. July 5, 2020 at 12:45 pm - Reply

      Not coffee grounds, but coffee ground from beans (pre brewing).

      • Gwen July 6, 2020 at 2:18 pm

        Like Folgers coffee before it’s brewed?

      • Bill Bradley, R.D. July 15, 2020 at 12:02 pm

        yes, any kind of ground coffee before it is brewed.

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