Tag Archives: healthy chocolate cake

Buckwheat chocolate cake (gf) and unfettered ambitions

chocolatebuckwheat

My latest goal in life is to photograph Hugo and Java together, at the same time, in the same place and, if at all possible, sitting still. Never let it be said that I lack ambition. I recently told Hugo — well asked really; Hugo isn’t the sort of dog you order about — to sit while I took a photo of him. Since then, the moment he catches a glimpse of a camera lens he sits and tilts his head just enough to do his profile justice. I think he may be the reincarnation of one of Pavlov’s dogs. Java, on the other hand, not so much. Once she’s outside, under no circumstances does she ‘do’ sitting. Or even standing still. So I have one unnaturally static dog pouting into the camera and flaunting his best side like a runway model who’s just tossed her cookies, and the other who is nothing but a distant white blur. I have a feeling that I set the bar pretty high for myself, because so far all I’ve managed are these: The Pout and The Blur.

hugosit

javablur

This cake, on the other hand, was a great success. Inspired from a David Lobowitz recipe, it really is one of the lightest, most delicious chocolate cakes ever…

Ingredients (10 servings)

170g dark chocolate (minimum 70% cocoa)

115g coconut oil

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 tablespoon rum (optional)

4 eggs, separated

100g cane sugar

100ml plain yoghurt

70g ground almonds (you could substitute ground hazelnuts)

40g buckwheat flour

Pinch of salt

1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda

Preheat the oven to 180ºC and prepare a medium-sized loaf tin. Melt the chocolate and coconut oil until smooth and add the vanilla extract and rum. Whisk the egg yolks, sugar and yogurt until light and smooth and then combine with the melted chocolate/coconut oil. Mix the ground almonds, buckwheat flour, salt and bicarbonate of soda together and then combine well with the egg yolk and chocolate mixture. Whisk the egg whites until they form soft peaks and gently but thoroughly fold into the chocolate mixture. Pour the mixture into the loaf tin and bake for 30 minutes. Remove from the tin and leave to cool. Delicious served alone or with Greek yoghurt or ice cream.

 

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Chocolate pound cake and an imminent trip to China

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Customer service in mobile phone shops in France has done a 180: The motto, ‘the customer is always wrong’ used to be de rigueur, and the only way to get what you wanted was either to flirt outrageously or scream like a harridan (I had both techniques down pat). Now it seems all of a sudden that ‘the customer is always right’, which is oddly disconcerting.

Yesterday I visited not one, but two mobile phone suppliers. Before anyone thinks I’ve totally lost it, let me quickly point out that this was out of absolute necessity and not choice. One of the horses had tested the sturdiness of my phone’s glass screen with its hoof (hoof: one, phone: nil) and as a mobile phone is essential given my inclination to fall into deep ditches in the middle of nowhere, replacing it was a matter of urgency.

The first boutique was unable to help me because, despite having the phone I had painstakingly tracked down, ordered and already paid for online in their possession, they claimed that ‘my order had failed’. They unequivocally agreed that it was outrageous/unbelievable/infuriating/beyond obtuse and criminally time-wasting, which completely took the wind out of my sails. Unfortunately there was nothing they could do because their ‘management are scumbags’.

After a 45 minute wait surrounded by people with banana-shaped upper bodies, it was much the same story in the second shop. It would appear that from a telecom point of view, I have ‘special needs’ far too complex to fulfil, especially in view of the fact that everyone’s bosses are unprincipled reprobates. I’m still not sure how I feel about having my phone requirements sentenced to the ‘special needs’ category.

Despite returning home 20 years older and still phoneless, I was able to muster just enough courage to once again locate what I wanted online. It was delivered the next day and I was so anxious to get it up and running that I inadvertently set the language to Chinese.  It was a long and arduous task – 長和艱鉅任務 – coaxing it back to French, but I definitely felt it was a sign; in future I’m off to Beijing to buy my phones –  it’ll be far less hassle and I’m keen to test my new-found language skills.

This recipe uses raw cocoa powder which means that the cocoa beans have been processed without using the high temperatures detrimental to its nutritional content. Raw cocoa powder contains natural mood stimulants as well as arginine, an essential amino acid that helps to reduce blood pressure. It is also a very rich source of antioxidants and vitamins and minerals, including high levels of magnesium to aid heart health, build strong bones and relax the muscles and the mind.

Ingredients

100g spelt flour

75g almond flour

75g raw cocoa powder (can be replaced by regular cocoa powder)

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda

125g butter

125g extra virgin organic coconut oil

200g cane sugar

4 large organic eggs

1 teaspoons almond essence

2 tablespoon rum

Sift the flours, cocoa powder, baking powder and bicarbonate of soda together and set aside. Cut the butter and coconut oil into cubes and leave to soften at room temperature for a few minutes. Beat with an electric mixer for about ten minutes until fluffy and then gradually add the sugar, continuing to beat. Add the eggs one at a time and whisk for another few minutes. Lastly, add the rum and almond essence and gently fold in the flour. Transfer the mixture to a buttered loaf tin and cook in a non-preheated oven at 160°C for about an hour, or until a skewer comes out clean. Leave to cool in the tin.

chocolatepoundcake

 

Chocolate beetroot cake and fast food for young birds

chocolatebeetcake

We appear to have earned ourselves a bit of a reputation as the go-to hangout for young birds. Word of mouth, or tweet of beak as the case may be, is a very powerful thing. We had another winged visitor this morning, who we discovered perched next to the little turtle dove in the kitchen. They looked as if they were sitting in a restaurant waiting for lunch to be served. Had there been miniature knives and forks to hand, I think they’d have been banging them on the table impatiently. Not wanting to disappoint, I whipped up some quinoa; I’ve been slightly concerned that little TD might not be getting a broad enough range of nutrients on her rather obsessive mono-diet of couscous. Having been quite categorical about not cooking separate dishes for month-old birds, my stance has evidently flown out of the window. I’m absolutely intransigent when it comes to baby animals! I’m now racking my brains as to what I can prepare for them for dinner as, having checked on the Turtle Dove Forum, apparently chocolate cake is a no-no.

robin

Beetroot’s nutritional benefits come from its potent combination of vitamins, minerals, amino acids (notably glutamine), fibre and unique anti-oxidants. Beets are high in vitamin C, B-complex vitamins, fibre and essential minerals such as potassium (essential for healthy nerve and muscle function) and manganese (which is good for your bones, liver, kidneys, and pancreas). Studies have shown the beneficial effect of beetroot juice on blood pressure and suggest that nitrate-rich foods such as beetroot may help in heart attack survival. The powerful phytonutrients that give beets their deep crimson colour may even protect from cancer.

Ingredients

100g spelt flour

75g rye flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda

75g unsweetened cocoa powder

80g cane sugar

100g dark chocolate (min. 70% cocoa solids), melted

3 eggs, beaten

250g beetroot, cooked and grated

200ml olive oil

100ml plain yoghurt

Grease a medium-sized cake tin and set aside. Preheat the oven to 150°C. Sift the flours, raising agents and cocoa powder together in a bowl and set aside. Add the sugar, melted chocolate, beaten eggs, grated beetroot, olive oil and yoghurt to a bowl and mix well. Incorporate the dry ingredients with the wet ingredients little by little, mixing well. Bake for 40 minutes or until a fork inserted into the middle comes out clean. Delicious served with vanilla ice cream or Greek yoghurt.

Coconut chocolate mousse cake (gf)

coconutchoccake

Asparagus season is here again and with it, the Great Asparagus Stand-off; my husband likes them best lightly boiled, I am partial to roasted. Léo likes them not at all, so I’m doing a recipe for chocolate cake. 😆

This cake, adapted from the recent cookbook ‘Honestly Healthy‘, is positively ambrosial. I’m sure it would be delicious without my alterations, but I have an almost pathological need to customise recipes. This cake also freezes well; I always freeze cakes in ready-cut slices because they would disappear far too quickly otherwise. Even a card-carrying chocoholic like me refuses to stoop so low as to actually break her teeth on frozen food in order to get a ‘fix’.

Ingredients (serves 10)

100g coconut flour

50g organic cocoa powder, sifted

500ml almond milk

60g coconut oil (melted)

60g salted butter (melted)

130g agave syrup

2 tablespoons yacon syrup*

4 eggs, beaten

Preheat the oven to 150°C and lightly grease a cake tin (I used a 24cm diameter tin). Combine the coconut flour and cocoa in a bowl. In another bowl combine the ‘wet’ ingredients (milk, oil, syrups, butter and eggs) and then fold the two lots of ingredients together. Transfer the mixture to the cake tin and bake for about 40 minutes (or until a skewer inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean). Leave the cake to cool before transferring to a plate and dust with cocoa powder before serving.

* Yacon syrup is extracted from the roots of the yacon plant, indigenous to the Andes mountains. It has low glycemic index (it’s suitable for diabetics) containing up to 50% FOS (fructooligosacharides).

Chocolate ginger cake (and canine neurosis)

With the hunting season in full-swing,  I’m having to deal with a labrador hovering on the brink of nervous breakdown; he doesn’t like the sound of guns (despite the fact that, technically at least, he’s a ‘gun dog’). It’s a touch and go situation and I’m still sticking to my vegetarian resolution in solidarity, so this cake contains no meat whatsoever 😉 Just a word of warning: it does contain grated courgettes so if, like me, you live with men and children with entrenched prejudices about how and when vegetables should – or, more to the point, should not  – be consumed, my advice is to keep the recipe under wraps. It’s delicious and that’s all they need to know. As cakes go, this one is also exceptionally healthy: buckwheat flour is gluten-free and full of fibre, amino acids, vitamins and minerals, courgettes speak for themselves and organic cocoa powder is rich in iron.

Ingredients (roughly 10 slices)

1 cup buckwheat flour ½ cup cocoa powder

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 pinch of bicarbonate of soda

¼ teaspoon sea salt (fine grain)

1 cup organic cane sugar ½ cup cocoa nibs (optional)

¼ cup organic coconut oil

1 egg, beaten

1 cup of almond or oat milk (or regular milk if you prefer)

3 cups’ grated courgettes

1 teaspoon of fresh, grated ginger

Preheat the oven to 160°C. Combine the dry ingredients (flour, cocoa powder, sugar, cocoa nibs, salt , bicarbonate of soda and baking powder) in a bowl and mix well. In another bowl, combine the ‘wet’ ingredients (eggs, milk, grated courgettes, ginger and melted coconut oil) and mix well. Combine both sets of ingredients, folding the mixture to obtain a smooth batter. Pour the batter into a loaf tin (preferably pyrex) roughly 25cm long by 6cm deep. Cook for about 40 minutes, or until a fork comes out clean.

Almond chocolate cake

You may have noticed that I never use normal flour in my recipes. This isn’t only because eating refined wheat flour is about as nutritious as snacking on yesterday’s newspaper, but because I’m wheat-intolerant. It’s not something I harp on about a) because it’s boring and b) because I’ve noticed that not ‘tolerating’ is something that brings out the devil in a lot of people. I’ve lost count of the number of times people have offered me something that is quite patently going to have me doubled up in agony within the next twelve hours and refused to take no for an answer when I decline: ‘Oh go on, I’ve just made it, a little bit won’t hurt, surely…’ It’s as if I’m saying no to be awkward, or to be interesting or different. Err no, if I wanted to be awkward I’d ask you to serve it to me sprinkled with powdered rhino horn, and if I wanted to be interesting or different I’d dye my hair indigo and take up mud pit belly flopping.

This cake, regardless of your ‘wheat status’, is divine. It will leave you wondering why you ever made chocolate cakes with wheat flour. The fact that it uses powdered almonds means that, for a chocolate cake, its GI is quite low and that it contains valuable nutrients. It also has a fairly low sugar content.

Ingredients

5 eggs

130g cane sugar

140g powdered almonds

60g butter

60g coconut oil

125g dark chocolate (preferably 90% coco)

pinch of bicarbonate of soda

1 tsp baking powder

Preheat the oven to 150°C. Melt the chocolate with the butter and coconut oil. Once melted, add to the sugar, egg yolks, almonds, bicarbonate of soda and baking powder. Whisk the egg whites until stiff. Fold the egg whites into the chocolate mixture and pour into a 20cm cake tin. Bake for 45 minutes.