Bittersweet life – Intense flourless chocolate cake

As I have mentioned, when writing about my inspirations, I’ve recently quit sugar – that is to say, especially fructose (table sugar is 50:50 fructose and glucose). I used to be a real sugar addict, ‘needing’ either dark chocolate or lots of fruit after dinner, having horrible cravings and eventually binge-eating attacks. This is not supposed to be any kind of advertisement for a specific diet program, but I can truly recommend to everyone to cut back on sugar and refined carbs for I think science is clearly indicating its damaging effects. You can start reading about it here and here. Or listen to Dr. Robert Lustig’s talk on why not all calories are equal.

To me it was really shocking how much sugar we are consuming ‘accidentally’ each day. Not just by eating candy or gulping down soft drinks, but via low-fat dairy products, condiments such as chili sauce and balsamic vinegar or by supposedly healthy juices and dried fruit. And then on top come fruit and ‘treats’. Not good.

So I really had a hard time deciding, whether I wanted to post any more sweet recipes. I adjusted previous recipes, using stevia or rice malt syrup instead of sugar and honey. And this beautiful cake is also one that I made before I started the 8-week ‘I quit sugar’ programme. Eventually I decided to post it, while advising everyone to eat as little sugar as possible each and every single day in order to enjoy a piece of cake on a special occasion, such as a birthday. This was such a special occasion, hence the beautiful, beautiful peonies!

Peony

So much about the bitter truth, now to the sweet bit. This recipe is originally to be found in Harry Eastwood’s Red Velvet Chocolate Heartache. Which I highly recommend to everyone, who is baking often, especially spongy layer cakes and cupcakes. All recipes include vegetables – how cool is that!? There is not just another take on carrot cake, but parsnip, courgette, squash, swede, sweet potato everywhere! She has tested the recipes a dozen times and the results are fantastic. Not some ‘healthy’, yet weird cakes, but cakes that are superior in taste and texture. I have to admit that when I bake I rather have a go on a tart or a cheesecake, which – naturally – are not to be found in the book. But this one is a real stunner and very much to my liking. Incredibly intense in its flavour, slightly moist without being too dense and really quite delicate. I only slightly adjusted the recipe.

Intense flourless chocolate cake

Peony

Intense flourless chocolate cake

2 small aubergines (about 400g)

300g high-quality dark chocolate (75-80%), roughly chopped

50g good-quality cacao powder, plus extra for dusting

60g ground almonds

3 medium organic eggs

180g rice malt syrup (since rice malt syrup isn’t as sweet as honey, you might want to add a little more depending on the cacao percentage of the chocolate you chose)

2 tsp baking powder

pinch of sea salt

Start by peeling the and dicing the aubergine. Place in a pot with a tiny dash of water and cook until they’re soft and mushy. Be very careful not to either burn or drown them in water. Discard any leftover water. Purée aubergine in a food processor or with a hand-held blender. Add the chopped chocolate and make sure it is melting completely (if it’s not, place the mixture again on low heat).

Preheat the oven to 180 °C. Line the base of a 23 cm loose-bottomed cake tin with parchment paper and brush the sides with a little coconut oil. In a large bowl whisk together all remaining ingredients until the batter becomes slightly bubbly. With a spatula fold in the aubergine-chocolate mixture. Pour the batter into the baking tin and place in the bottom of the oven for 30 minutes.

Remove the cake from the oven, but let it cool in its tin for 15 minutes – it’s hard to wait, I know. Then remove from the tin and sift a little cocoa powder over the top. The cake is delicious when served still warm. Serve with some goat’s or sheep’s yoghurt and/or some berries to cut through the rich chocolate flavour.

Peony

 

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