Salted Chocolate Olive Oil Cupcakes

Salted Chocolate Olive Oil Cupcakes are the dessert representation of one of my favorite childhood books, Matilda by Roald Dahl

Salted Chocolate Olive Oil CupcakesIn the book (and movie), Matilda, has the ability to move objects with her mind, a power I sorely envied as a child. Honestly, I still envy it, particularly when I’ve just settled down with a warm Blueberry Banana Crumb Bar, only to realize that (*gasp*) I forgot to add ice cream and now must stand up and walk 3 feet to the freezer to retrieve it. Agony! Matilda would be able to float that carton on over without disruption. Forget flying—telekinesis is now at the top of my super-power wish list.

{Side note—while looking up the term “telekenesis,” I stumbled upon this. If anyone succeeds, please let me know. I do loathe moving from the table once I’m already seated with my dessert.}

Matilda’s antagonist is Agatha Trunchbull, Matilda’s cruel and unusual headmaster. Despite her horrific ways, The Trunchbull has one quality worth emulating: excellent taste in chocolate cake.

Salted Chocolate Olive Oil Cupcakes RecipeI can no longer remember the exact words Roald Dahl uses to describe The Trunchbull’s cake, only that since the age of nine when I first read this book, it has been fixed in my mind as the epitome of what the ideal chocolate cake should be: outrageously moist, sinfully chocolaty, and paradoxically light and indulgent at the same time. The Trunchbull’s chocolate cake is the chocolate cake by which all others should be measured.

I baked (and eaten) dozens of chocolate cakes in pursuit of the perfect chocolate I imagine when I think of Matilida, and I have finally found it in today’s Salted Chocolate Olive Oil Cupcakes. Forget the over-dried, sickly sweet-frosted excuses for chocolate cakes that appear at office anniversary parties. Salted Chocolate Olive Oil Cupcakes are decadent, unbelievably moist, and reminiscent of an old-fashioned chocolate cake you would be proud to serve your grandmother.

Salted Chocolate Olive Oil Cupcakes

In Matilda, The Trunchbull’s chocolate cake is enormous. At one point, she forces a boy by the name of Bruce Bogtrotter to eat it in front of the school as punishment for stealing a slice. In the spirit of Bruce Bogtrotter, I wanted everyone to have a cake of their own to devour, so I baked the batter into manageable cupcakes instead. Now, should you choose to eat the entire pan of cupcakes, I support you. Bruce Bogtrotter, who defeated The Trunchbull by victoriously demolishing the entire cake, supports you too.

Salted Chocolate Olive Oil Cupcakes are unquestionably the most intensely moist cupcakes I’ve ever tried. Heaven. My secret: olive oil. In addition to being heart-healthy, olive oil resulted in a far more moist, tender chocolate cake than any other butter-based chocolate cake I’ve baked.

Salted Chocolate Olive Oil Cupcakes. The most moist chocolate cupcakes I've ever had!In keeping with the chocolate oomph I was after with these cupcakes, I choose to frost them with a dark chocolate ganche. For my fellow chocolate devotees, the rich, glossy ganache is the ideal pairing with the moist, spongy cake. If you are looking for something a bit lighter (relatively—we are still talking about chocolate cake here), a whipped ganache or chocolate buttercream would also be fabulous, and I imagine a peanut butter frosting would be excessive in the best possible way.

Salted Chocolate Olive Oil Cupcakes with Chocolate Ganache

A moment for honesty: this chocolate-on-chocolate situation is teetering on the edge of cocoa danger. We might only be able to have one before we slip into a deep, dark chocolate coma. One final ingredient, however, keeps these luscious cupcakes in the blissful “I can totally go back for seconds” zone: fleur de sel. A light sprinkling of this fine sea salt cuts the chocolate’s richness juuuuust enough to make them absolutely suitable for multiple servings.

Salted Chocolate Olive Oil Cupcakes with Chocolate Ganache. The BEST chocolate cupcake recipeSalted Chocolate Olive Oil Cupcakes are chocolate cake as chocolate cake was intended to be. I like to think that Roald Dahl would approve. With this recipe before you, I have but one question to ask:

What would Bruce Bogtrotter do?

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Salted Chocolate Olive Oil Cupcakes

A recipe for the most moist and decadent chocolate cupcakes you will ever bake!

Yield: 12 cupcakes

Prep Time: 25 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Total Time: 12 cupcakes


For the cupcakes

  • 3/4 cup + 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour, plus more for pans

  • 1 cup granulated sugar

  • 1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder

  • 1 teaspoon baking soda

  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder

  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

  • 1/2 cup low-fat buttermilk, shaken

  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

  • 1 large egg, at room temperature

  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

  • 1/2 cup freshly brewed hot coffee

For the Salted Chocolate Ganache

  • 4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped

  • 1/4 cup heavy cream

  • 1/4 teaspoon instant coffee

  • Fleur de sel or fine sea salt, for sprinkling


  1. Place rack in the upper third of oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly coat a a standard 12-cup muffin tins with cooking spray.

  2. Sift the flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, and salt into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment or a large mixing bowl. Mix on low speed until combined. In a separate medium bowl or large measuring cup, whisk together the buttermilk, oil, eggs, and vanilla. With the mixer on low speed, slowly pour the wet ingredients into the dry. With the mixer still on low, add the coffee and continue mixing, just until combined. The batter will be very thin.

  3. Divide the batter evenly between the 12 muffin cups and bake 18 – 20 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in to the center of one cupcake comes out clean. Let the cupcakes cool in the pans for 20 minutes, then with a fork, gently lift them out onto a cooling rack to cool completely.

  4. Prepare the ganache: Place the chocolate, heavy cream, and instant coffee in a heat-proof bowl over a pot of simmering water. Do not allow the water to boil or to touch the bottom of the bowl. Heat the chocolate, stirring often, until almost completely melted. Remove bowl from the sauce pan and stir gently with a rubber spatula until the chocolate is completely melted and the ganache is silky smooth.

  5. While the ganache is still warm, spoon it over the top of each cupcake. While the ganache is still wet, sprinkle with fleur de sel. Let cupcakes sit a few moments to set, though ganache will not harden completely. Serve and enjoy.

Store leftover Salted Chocolate Olive Oil Cupcakes at room temperature for up to two days or in the refrigerator for up to five days. Although coffee is included in the batter and ganache, it adds moisture and intensifies the chocolate flavor. The cake, however, does not taste like coffee.

All images and text ©Erin Clarke/Well Plated.

Did you try this recipe? I want to see! Follow Well Plated on Instagram, snap a photo, and tag it #wellplated. I love to know what you are making!

Other yummy olive-oil baked treats:


I am a regular recipe contributor for Pompeian and receive compensation, but all opinions are my own. As always, thanks for supporting the brands I partner with, which enables me to create more quality content for you.

This post contains some affiliate links, which means that I make a small commission off items you purchase at no additional cost to you.

About Erin Clarke

I’m fearlessly dedicated to making healthy food taste incredible. Wearer of plaid, travel enthusiast, and firmly convinced that sweets and veggies both deserve a place at the table. MORE ABOUT ERIN…


  1. I’m dying at this story because it’s all coming back to me. I remember Matilda so well! It was actually my sister’s favorite too. These chocolately chocolate cupcakes look so great. Perfect for cookouts and picnics coming up next weekend.

  2. OMG. Erin. Are we like long lost sisters? Matilda is my FAVORITE book/movie ever. When I was young, I watched that movie like every day and I know every line in that movie. You probably won’t want to watch it with me but if you do, we can recite it together :) I almost gagged watching Bruce eat that entire cake – it looked super moist though, haha…these cupcakes are the perfect Matilda-watching cupcake!!

  3. I love a good olive oil cake!! It’s actually one of my faves!!! love these cupcakes!! and of course, the Pompeian. . have a great weekend and I’ll see you Monday!

  4. I’m with you – I hate getting up again after I sit down to eat!! But for these cookies, I’d make numerous round trips to the kitchen!! YUMM

  5. haha, ‘excessive in the best possible way.’ I love you.

  6. These are just fantastic! I want one for breakfast right now! I am such a sucker for salted desserts!

  7. I love a good old-fashioned super-moist chocolate cupcake and these look like they definitely fit the bill! Love your use of olive oil in the batter and that gahhh! That salted chocolate ganach looks like the bees knees! :)

  8. I love Matilda!!! And I love this recipe – they look so moist and delicious, and nothing beats salt with chocolate!! Hope you have a great weekend!

  9. Let me count the ways I love this post. (1) Matilda is amazing. Love the book and movie! (2) I have, my whole life, wished I could move things like Matilda mostly due to my extreme laziness. When I was a kid I even got a long claw thing so I could sit on my bed and pick things up from around my room without moving. (3) Chocolate (4) Fleur de sel. Magnifique. :) :)

  10. So much deliciousness going on in one cupcake! Love how rich they look!

  11. I love chocolate cake, but I remember when Bruce ate that whole, huge cake in Matilda, I must say I suffered from “chocolate shock syndrome”!!! So I am loving the sizing and sound of these cupcakes, Erin!

  12. These look unbelievable! And no butter!
    Matilda rocks. Such a good story!

  13. Oh one of my favorite books by one of my favorite authors! So magical. Loving these chocolate cupcakes. Can’t wait to try them. Thanks for sharing, Erin!

  14. This is such a fun post! Now I wanna read this book too! I MUST try these cupcakes, everything about them sounds amazing!

  15. i have always wanted to do chocolate + olive oil combo..these look amazing. I am pinning it to try.

  16. I loved Matilda as a kid, and these cupcakes definitely remind me of that cake!

  17. Yes, I definitely think you captured a cupcake worthy of Matilda lol! These look so delicious Erin, when can I enjoy one with you?

  18. I am a huge sucker for anything salted caramel and these look incredible!!

  19. Salted chocolate I should say…heck, salted anything! :)

  20. Roald Dahl is THE BEST. I remember fantasizing about that chocolate cake as a second grader during story time…and I didn’t even like chocolate cake back then *gasp*! These cupcakes look amazing and while i loooove me some butter, the level of moisture that olive oil brings to the cake game is unreal!

  21. What great memories I have of this great book, lovely cupcakes Erin!

  22. Those cupcakes look super chocolaty and delicious!I love the addition of chocolate salted ganache :)

  23. The way you describe these is EXACTLY the way I love my chocolate cake, so I have to experiment with olive oil in my next baking project!

  24. I am very curious to try the olive oil path. These cupcakes look like a GREAT place to start. You are right—moistness would not be an issue. Very dark chocolate looking too. I like that.

  25. Lovvved Matilda as a child! And these chocolate cupcakes are what dreams are made of…..Sigh.

  26. All the amazingness in one little cupcake! And Matilda is awesome, thanks for the trip down memory lane. :)

  27. I like that you added the coffee, it really brings out the chocolate. Not to mention the Salted Chocolate Ganache

  28. That cake… I’ve been DREAMING of that cake since I was little. Now I need to make these. They look delicious!

  29. something magical happens when chocolate and salt meet.. they are definitely a perfect pairing. craving a bite of one of these cupcakes right now. they look so chocolatey and delicious erin!

  30. I felt so relieved, Erin, when you explained how you’ve made these cupcakes suitable for eating more than one. Phew!
    I absolutely love the story of Matilda. There’s a musical of it now, you know – I’d love to see it! When I was a teacher in London a fair few years ago, some of my students used to call me Miss Honey because they said I reminded them of her. A compliment indeed!

  31. Oh My God Erin! I simply adoooooored this post! It involved lots of my favorite things, such as the Matilda book (chilhood fave!), olive oil and chocolate cake! I don’t think this could have been any more perfect ;)
    These cupcakes look absolutely darling and delighful! Awesome job, dear!

  32. Made these salted chocolate olive oil cupcakes last night and they were amazing! Love the salty/sweet combo! They kinda fell apart trying to get them out of the muffin tin but I just put them in some cupcake liners after the fact and nobody seemed to mind!

    • Nicole, I am so excited to hear that you liked these cupcakes!! I’m sorry that they fell apart on you, but I am glad that the taste made up for it :-) Did you let them cool before removing them? Thank you so much for trying the recipe and for letting me know how it turned out!

  33. Girl you know I’m all over this! Love the use of olive oil and sea salt. And that ganache is making me want to lick my laptop’s screen.

  34. Absolutely beautiful cupcakes, and they sound sooo delicious. Olive oil and sea salt?! Heaven!!

  35. Oh my! What delicious looking chocolate cupcakes. They look super moist and decadent. I just want to take a big bite out of one right now!

  36. I honestly think I could take that cake on in Matilda. At least with these cupcakes they are pre-portioned for me and I won’t end up looking like Bruce!!

  37. Loved Matilda and this chocolate cake definitely captures the chocolate cake perfectly :) They look incredible – love the olive oil and salted chocolate!

  38. I always think of the chocolate cake scene in the movie and how fudgy and intense that cake looked! Love these little chocolatey cupcakes.

  39. Ohhhhh man these looks incredible. I’m drooling over here… and it’s only 9am!!! That’s a perfectly acceptable time for a cupcake, right?!

  40. Thanks for bringing this story forward in my memory. I think I was about the same age when I read Matilda for the first time as well. It’s funny how memories and food always seem to go hand in hand. Also, in the name of salt…yes please!

  41. I adore Matilda (actually all Roald Dahl books) and I adore both chocolate and olive oil. This is the perfect combination!! Such gorgeous photos too Erin, love everything in this post! Cannot wait to get back into my kitchen and make these! Xx

  42. I love your blog! This post spoke to me because it combined two of my favorites: Matilda and Chocolate Cake. I recently visited New York and was fortunate enough to catch Matilda on Broadway while I was there, amazing! Can’t wait to bake up these cupcakes!

    • Hi Tamara! Great to hear from you, and it sounds like we have similar tastes :) I’ve never seen Matilda as a play, but I can imagine it would be so fun with fabulous effects. Thanks so much for saying hi, and I hope you love these cupcakes!

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