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Here it is, after many requests: a perfectly nutritious, luscious chocolate cake. This cake is free from refined sugar, refined carbohydrates, wheat, gluten and dairy. It is not vegan because of the inclusion of honey and eggs, but I will post an updated option when I try it out with maple syrup and chia eggs. It is light and fudge and sticky and yummy and just the way I like a chocolate cake.

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I made this cake for many reasons. In the last year I have changed my lifestyle and part of this has involved food with maximum nutritional content. More on my thoughts on health and diet later. I have also been working on my art and my online shop, PaperPineTree. When I started this blog I never intended it to be purely about food and this year I will be including more about everything else.

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Healthy Chocolate Almond Cake – adapted from Izy Hossack‘s Healthy, Sticky Chocolate Fudge Cake and Laura Wright‘s raw chocolate recipes

For the cake:

125g ground almonds

110g raw cacao powder (if you don’t have this, cocoa powder will also work – the darker the better – but cocoa powder does count as a processed food)

2 teaspoons baking powder (use gluten free if required)

generous pinch of salt – I use Himalayan pink salt, my favourite

1 teaspoon vanilla extract or seeds scraped from a pod

290g honey (I used clear, runny raw honey from our own bees)

2 eggs

400g butternut squash puree – I made my own by steaming cubes of this and then using a food processor, but when cooked until soft mashing and squishing through a sieve also works fine

4 tablespoons coconut oil (I have made this without the coconut oil when it had run out, and it worked out fine, but I think the texture is slightly better when it is included)

For the raw chocolate icing:

25g raw cacao butter

25g coconut oil (do not substitute another flavourless oil here, as coconut oil alone solidifies at about room temperature)

125g raw cacao powder

125g maple syrup

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

salt

Method:

Oven to 180 degrees C

Mix together the dry ingredients – almonds, cacao powder, baking powder and salt.

In a separate bowl, mix together the wet ingredients – eggs, honey, butternut squash puree, vanilla and coconut oil. Make sure the squash puree is cold if you have made your own! Add this mix to the almond mix and stir together.

Pour into a lined cake tin and bake until a skewer comes out clean and the edges are starting to come away from the tin. The top will appear slightly cracked. Remove from the tin and allow to cool before pouring over the raw chocolate.

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To make the raw chocolate, melt all the ingredients together gently. This is best done in a bowl over simmering water, or, as I do, in a bowl on top of an Aga or Raeburn stove. Do not overheat. When everything is melted and combined, remove the bowl and pour the chocolate over the cold cake. Allow it to dribble down the sides. The raw chocolate may not completely solidify at room temperature unless it is cool – I kept this cake out of the fridge and it was fine for as long as it lasted.

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I made this for my birthday, and decorated it with the raw vegan peanut butter and white chocolate bonbons from Laura Wright. Dusting with raw cacao powder also works and is yummy with a side of berries and coconut yogurt…

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