Gluten-free but, more importantly, insanely delicious…chocolate cake.
(Wo)Man cannot live on green smoothies alone. Actually we don’t know that for sure but we don’t advise it and we certainly don’t have any intention of putting it to the test. Our blog is about a healthy lifestyle… not short bursts of impeccable behaviour which are unrealistic on a long term basis. Cooking, eating and sharing food with those you love is honestly one of the purest pleasures of life. However, there are some things which are so good that maybe they should not be shared at all. We’re not advocating selfishness… but this recipe is delicious enough that you may want to re-think how many slices of it you are prepared to give away… sorry… we mean “share with those you love.”
When Priya was little, she used to say very seriously, “I want to marry a Baker.” (She hasn’t found him yet but is imagining a Cinderella-esque moment involving a perfect piece of gateau rather than an impractical glass slipper.) Alicia is German and has been raised with a “Kaffee und Kuchen” (Coffee and Cake) state of mind. “Kaffee und Kuchen” is a very real part of German day to day life and, because of this, the cakes in Germany are truly delicious. Priya thanks her lucky stars that she managed to end up with German relatives, because family love aside, this means she can visit them once or twice a year for a cake binge. Basically, what we are trying to say is… we know good cake.
This picture is of one of Priya’s cakes — actually it is a bit richer than a cake so let’s be precise and call it a “torte.” It is a recipe we use quite regularly because it looks impressive, tastes divine and is really moist. Also, as far as cakes go, this is not entirely naughty. From a healthy eating perspective, this really is a healthier recipe (“whoop whoop!” we hear you cry!) Although it does contain naughty sugar and butter, it also uses good quality, dark chocolate (antioxidant alert!) and has no flour in it (wheat/gluten free alert!) and has some good/better fats from the ground almonds.
At this point, it is also worth reminding everyone that Nuts are not “The Enemy” (unless you are allergic to them, in which case, then yes they absolutely are.) Nuts are a great source of good fat — so please see the Geek-A-Licious section of the site for more information on this. However, good fat or bad, nuts and cake are calorific… so eat with caution… or don’t. It’s entirely up to you. You can eat a dainty piece of this and then hit the gym later (or do it the other way round.) Or you can, do what most of us do… yield to the yumminess, put on something with an elasticated waist-band, enjoy every mouthful and surrender to the bliss. (You can always whip up a green smoothie or two tomorrow.)
What you need:
- 5 medium eggs, preferably free range and organic.
- 200 grams/ 7 oz of butter (again, try for organic)
- 200 grams/ 7 oz of sugar (if you are using a sweet chocolate, then you can drop the sugar level down slightly.)
- 200 grams/ 7 oz of really good quality, plain chocolate — go for around 80% if you can for a really intense chocolate flavour
- 200 grams/ 7 oz of ground almonds.
How to make it:
Honestly, this is so easy that it is ridiculous. Lightly grease a spring-form cake tin (around 22cms would work well) and then melt the chocolate and butter together. You can do this in a variety of ways — either very gently in a pan on a low heat, or in a bowl set over a pan of simmering water (so that the chocolate/butter are not getting direct/immediate heat) or in the microwave using short bursts of around 10 seconds at a time until you get a beautiful, smooth, liquid mixture of yumminess. Whichever method you use, be careful… chocolate is an ingredient with Diva status… it can over-react to anything it doesn’t like… and it doesn’t really like extreme heat! Instead of getting a molten, puddle of deliciousness, you might end up with a blob of grainy, clumpy, stubborn chocolate surrounded by melted butter and it all looks a bit gross and becomes hard to make into a smooth, uniform mixture. So, you have been warned! No room for impatience when Divas are in town. To the melted mixture, add in the ground almonds and stir with love. All baking needs to be done with love. Let the mixture cool slightly and then crack one of the eggs and stir it in — this will help loosen the mixture off slightly.
Next you need to separate the remaining 4 eggs into whites and yolks. You can actually put the 4 yolks straight into the chocolate/almond mixture and then also add the sugar to it all and stir until it is smoothly incorporated. The 4 remaining egg whites need to be whisked separately until they are stiff either with an electric whisk or with a regular one… if you are a daredevil, once you have done that, feel free to hold the bowl of whipped whites upside down over your head to show any kitchen audience just how well you have whisked them. Chances are you will end up in a mess though, so our advice is to leave that kind of showmanship to the television trained professionals. Regardless of that, once your egg whites are stiff, start folding them into the chocolate/almond mixture gently and carefully. You have just whipped air into the egg whites, so don’t knock it all out of them again by stirring it in too roughly… a gentle, kind touch is what is needed here.
Pour the lot into your baking tin and bake at around 175-180 for around 45 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean from the centre. Let the cake cool in the tin for a while. You can then decide whether to eat it warm… it will be incredible… or, if you have the patience of a saint, wait for it to cool and then decorate it with fruit to make it look as pretty as you possibly can. Then work out who you love the most and share it with them… they will fall under your chocolate spell instantly. Enjoy every bite you have but remember this is a treat which means it is occasional and not something for having all the time. Everything in moderation — even when it is super scrummy.
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