Preheat oven to 325F. Swipe some olive oil around a 9-inch cake tin or springform pan using a paper towel and then line it with parchment paper. Place the coconut milk or cream as well as a metal mixing bowl, separately, into the fridge to chill until you’re ready to make the whipped cream. (A cold bowl and cold coconut milk will help ensure it firms up to stiff peaks.)
Sift cocoa powder into a small mixing bowl and whisk in the boiling water until the mixture is runny and smooth. Mix in the vanilla paste or extract, set aside.
In another small mixing bowl, combine flour (or almond flour) with baking soda and salt. In a larger mixing bowl, add the sugar, olive oil, and eggs and whisk briskly until the mixture is aerated, creamy, and thickened, about 4-5 minutes. (You can also use an electric mixer with the paddle attachment or an electric whisk.)
Mix the cocoa mixture into the sugar and oil, whisking vigorously until it’s all well combined. Add the flour mixture followed by the chocolate chips, and stir with a spatula or large spoon until just combined.
Pour the batter into the prepared cake tin and bake for 45-50 minutes or until the sides are set and the center is mostly set (use a cake tester to be sure it’s done). Let it rest on a cooling rack for 15 minutes or until it’s cool enough to handle. Remove from the baking dish, running a knife around the edge to help release it, then move it to a serving plate or cake stand.
Make the coconut whipped cream: In the cold, metal bowl whisk the coconut milk or cream, vanilla, and sugar using an electric whisk or by hand until it reaches stiff peaks. Set in the fridge until the cake is cool enough to top. Dollop the whipped cream into the center of the cake and then sift a bit of excess cocoa powder on top, if you’d like, for garnish.
A note on vanilla paste vs extract. The paste has a slightly stronger vanilla flavor but more than that, it has those lovely little black flecks. Extract is fantastic, too, and I use them interchangeably.
If you don’t have chocolate chips, you can also roughly chop a dark baking chocolate bar into chunks and use those in the cake batter. Delish.