Thursday, May 24, 2012

Grain-free chocolate cake with espresso buttercream frosting

This is not a health post...


Although this rich, chocolatey cake is grain-free, gluten-free, refined sugar-free and processed frankenfoods-free - it still probably isn't a dessert you could eat for breakfast and feel fueled and invigorated for the day, like my Grain Free Spiced Pear and Apple Pie. But I am convinced it is THE perfect dessert.

Am I the only one who can find buttercream frosting sickeningly sweet and impossible to eat much of? I get so irritated when I eat it as I always feel like the mounds of icing sugar completely overpower the subtleness of the butter (which is probably the idea when using cheap, factory farmed butter or worse - margarine). I made sure this frosting was different - still satiny and smooth but with a rich and almost caramelly sweetness that compliments the butter, rather than competing with it. I've perfected the base recipe over the years and am always very happy with how this one turns out. It is incredibly rich, chocolately, and satisfying!

I said it wasn't a health post, but I can't resist telling you just a LITTLE about the ingredients we're using in this cake...

Almonds are loaded with calcium, magnesium, and several essential amino acids. They are a great snack for balancing blood sugar and when they have been soaked prior to use, are also incredibly easy to digest. Using them instead of grains is a great choice for anyone with grain or gluten sensitivities, candida, or gut dysbiosis as we discussed in my Paleo Pancakes recipe (which I made this morning topped with pomegranate seeds and grass-fed double cream - divine!)

Raw cacao is another high source of magnesium, which some say is why women crave chocolate during menstruation - magnesium is needed for effective muscle relaxation, and the cramping of the smooth muscles around the uterus can be extremely painful for some women. It is also high in antioxidants and a very warming, invigorating food to include in the diet in small amounts. I often start the day with a bitter spiced chocolate and almond-milk smoothie, which is the perfect kick-start for my sluggish kapha in the morning!

The berries I used for garnish are also a beautiful source of antioxidants and of course, vitamin C. I also used only natural sweeteners for a good mineral profile and a better blood-sugar response in the body. The grass-fed butter I used for the icing is loaded with vitamins A and K. Vitamin A is also called the "Beauty Vitamin" for its crucial role in developing beautiful symetrical features of the fetus in utero, and is essential for good immunity, cellular health, and good vision among many other things. Vitamin K is important for blood clotting and forming strong bones, along with calcium, vitamin D, and boron (among other nutrients - our bodies are anything but simple!).

And the coffee is... well. Delicious. Let it go.

The grain-free chocolate almond cake base is moist, dense, and very rich. The espresso, cinnamon and buttercream frosting is velvety, incredibly flavoursome and doesn't have the overbearing sweetness I often find so off-putting about traditional buttercreams. The tartness of the berries cut through the heaviness of this cake perfectly, and provide a beautiful depth of flavour to the dish. I made this cake for my boyfriend's birthday last year and everyone absolutely adored it! It really is the perfect dessert.

Here's what you need to do to get this into your face...


Chocolate almond cake:

½ cup raw cacao powder, sifted
1/3 – ½ cup hot water
25 grams butter (plus extra for greasing cake tin)
½ teaspoon cinnamon
½ cup almond meal
¼ cup rapadura or sucanet, sifted*
¼ cup coconut sugar, sifted*
2 Tbs maple syrup*
pinch sea salt
3 x large pastured eggs, separated 
*You can use any combination of sweeteners you like, I find this combination gives the cake a rich caramel tone and beautiful texture.

Espresso buttercream frosting:

200 grams butter, room temperature
1 shot espresso (don't use instant coffee. I'll know.)
½ cup sifted coconut sugar
seeds scraped from 2 inches of vanilla bean
1 teaspoon of cinnamon
2 Tbs raw milk


  • Preheat the oven to 180C, and grease a springform cake tin of about 22cm. Custom-cut parchment/baking paper would work even better than greasing!
  • Mix raw cacao powder, water, butter and cinnamon in a large bowl until combined, then add the almond meal, rapadura, coconut sugar, maple syrup, sea salt and three egg yolks and mix well.
  • In a separate bowl, beat the 3 egg whites until light and fluffy, but not quite with stiff peaks – usually about 1 minute.
  • Gently fold the egg white mixture into the cacao and almond mixture, being careful not to let too much of the air out of the egg whites.
  • Pour the mixture into the greased or lined cake tin and place in the preheated oven for about 40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the centre comes out clean.
  • Let the cake cool for at least another 40 minutes before attempting to remove it from the pan, and another 40 minutes (or better yet, overnight) before frosting it.
  • For the frosting, combine all ingredients in a large bowl and beat for 2-3 minutes until mixture is smooth and almost silky.
  • Spread the frosting generously over the cake, and decorate with seasonal berries.

Enjoy, foxes! x

1 comment:

  1. This cake sounds beautiful. I think that boyfriend of yours is a little bit spoilt, a little bit special and one who appreciates the finer things in life.