I absolutely LOVE chocolate. Ever since I can remember, the deliciously rich, melt-in-your-mouth sweet treat has been my number one favourite and I will always choose the chocolate option for dessert at a restaurant. In fact, I love the stuff so much that when my uncle set up my very first email account when I was about 10 years old, I (sensibly) chose the domain name ‘ilovechocolate’… Despite my love for the cocoa-goodness however, I never ate it too often, as I was aware of its high sugar and fat content. Instead I would eat it as an occasional treat, savouring every mouthful. Over the last few years, my tastes have developed to prefer dark chocolate and I have begun to search for refined-sugar free, raw cocoa options, having had to cut sugar from my diet to improve my digestive health. This chocolate cake recipe, using coconut sugar to sweeten the sponge and good quality, dark chocolate ganache on the top, is my way to keep up the chocolate love in my life without sacrificing my health. It’s gooey and dark and rich and delicious.
If Carlsberg did chocolate cake…
For the sponge:
- 115g white spelt flour
- 125g coconut sugar or brown sugar
- 1 egg, beaten
- 45g cocoa powder
- 125ml almond milk or cow’s milk
- ¾ tsp baking powder
- ¾ tsp bicarbonate of soda
- 60ml olive oil, avocado oil or (melted) coconut oil
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 125ml boiling water
- Pinch of salt
For the coconut chocolate ganache:
- 150ml coconut cream or milk* (you can also use regular double cream)
- 150g good quality dark chocolate, broken into small pieces
- 1 tbsp honey, agave or maple syrup
- ½ tsp vanilla extract
*Some supermarkets don’t sell tubs of coconut cream, in which case buy a tin of coconut milk and leave in the fridge overnight. The cream will rise to the top while the milk will sink to the bottom.
- 50g good quality dark chocolate, broken into pieces
- A handful of pistachios, crushed
- Fresh raspberries
- Preheat the oven to 180°. Grease and line one 8-inch cake tin.
- Place the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda and salt into a large box. Stir until combined.
- Add the egg, milk and oil to the dry ingredients. Using an electric whisk, mix until smooth. Alternatively you can place all the ingredients into a food processor and blitz.
- Keeping the whisk or blender at a slow speed, gradually add the boiling water until fully combined. The cake batter will be very runny at this stage, but don’t panic, it’s all good!
- Pour the mixture into the cake tin and cook for 25-30 minutes or until the top is springy and a knife inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean.
- Remove the cake from the oven and allow to cool completely. You can place it on a cooling rack or simply leave to cool in the tin.
- While the cake is cooling, make the ganache. Carefully remove the coconut cream from the top of the tub and place into a small saucepan, making sure you leave all the liquid at the bottom.* If using coconut milk, remove the can from the fridge without shaking and copy the above process. There will be more liquid in the can of coconut milk so be careful when removing the cream from the top.
- Add the vanilla extract and honey and heat gently on a low heat until the cream is hot, but not boiling. Meanwhile, place the chocolate pieces into a mixing bowl.
- Once the coconut cream is hot, pour it into the bowl of chocolate and begin to stir. The heat from the coconut cream will gradually melt the chocolate. Continue to stir slowly until the mixture is smooth and shiny. Leave to cool and thicken.
*Coconut water can be used in all kinds of recipes including curries, smoothies and soups, so be sure to save it and use in another dish.
- Once the cake is completely cool, dollop the ganache onto the top of the sponge. The ganache should be thick, not runny, and easy to spread. If it’s a little stiff, carefully heat it in the microwave on a low heat for 10-20 seconds. Use a spatula or palette knife to spread the icing all over the cake, including the sides.
- Place the chocolate in a small mixing bowl. Heat a little water in a small saucepan and place the bowl of chocolate on top, using the hot steam to gently melt the chocolate. Once melted, remove from the heat.
- In the meantime, blitz a handful of pistachios in a food processor for a couple of seconds until roughly chopped. Alternatively, use a knife to chop them by hand.
- Sprinkle the pistachios around the edge of the cake, creating a horseshoe shape. Place a few raspberries around the outside of the horseshoe, using a little of the melted chocolate to stick them in place. Finally, drizzle the melted chocolate all over the cake in whatever way you choose – the more fun you have with this, the better it will look!
- Serve with a few extra raspberries and a cup of peppermint tea.
This will keep in an airtight container for 3-4 days, or in the fridge.