Guess what today is? It’s National Chocolate Cake Day! And as luck would have it, I have a great story – and cake – to compliment this most gluttonous of days.
My friend Claire from Full Circle Wellness hasn’t been very well this week (oh, the nose wrinkling irony if it!). Like me she is an Awkward Eater of the no gluten, no dairy variety. However, at this point she overtakes me at an Olympic sprint. In addition to no pies and milkshakes she also can’t eat meat, and because of a number of reasons, she has recently been told to stay away from alcohol and sugar as well. She’s basically in a food Guantanamo Bay, with no hope of relief or release imminent on the horizon.
Her plaintive text to me over the weekend struck a chord. I know all too well what it means to be denied the food you really want. Often I ignore my body’s red alerts and have a Peregrine pie anyway, and then try to remember the joy I felt in those 30 seconds of inhaling it during the inevitable 3-day punishment that my large intestine gleefully doles out. I am not allergic to any of these foods however, and Claire is. So while breaking the rules makes me grumpy and uncomfortable, it makes her very sick indeed.
I read her text, heard the abject misery and despair with life behind her words, and responded in the only way I knew how. I made her an entirely untested, first time version of a healthy chocolate cake. Those of you who know my baking track record know that this is a risk. But I knew Claire was desperate enough to take it on.
As it turns out, it not only worked perfectly, it tasted really good! My long suffering husband named it one of the best things I’ve made – the standard benchmark for which I aim every time. What’s more, this recipe is actually quite fool proof. In other words, I am confident I can reproduce it multiple times without a rambling tangent into flop territory. And for one final self-congratulating pat on the back, I made this without a food processor as mine broke over December (a whole other blog post in the making, FML). Which means you can make this even if you don’t have this most exulted of healthy cooking tools.
Read on for the recipe, and don’t freak out that it’s made from chickpeas…
Chocolate Cake with Gooey Topping
1 can chickpeas, drained
1 scoop (50ml) macadamia nut flour (almond or other nut flour will work as well)
4 tbsp cacao
1 tsbp heaped natural peanut butter
1 tbsp coconut oil
3-4 tbsp heaped raw honey (add until sweet enough to taste)
½ tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
2 cups dried dates, soaked for at least 6 hours (overnight is better)
2 tbsp cacao
¼ almond milk (or other milk of choice)
Preheat oven to 140 degrees
Crush up chickpeas – at this point I would usually use a food processor. Without it, I used a combination of electric beater, magic stick and frenzied spankings with a wooden spoon (I was getting quite frustrated…better tip: buy a food processor!)
Add the rest of your ingredients one at a time, beating/mixing as you go. Baking powder and soda last.
Once everything is mixed properly, place into greased cake tin and bake for 15 – 20 mins until cake tester comes out clean (don’t overcook!).
Meanwhile, place dates, cacao and almond milk in a blender – I did try this with my beater/magic stick combination but it’s too thick and sticky to mix properly. Mix until smooth (this will involve a lot of stopping and starting as you scrape the sides with a spoon and encourage your overworked blender to wade through the sticky sludge).
Once cake has cooled completely, spread date mixture over it and decorate with choc chips and goji berries, or alternative topping.
Store in the fridge – this cake is best enjoyed cold.