This is everything you want in a chocolate cake. Rich, bouncy and well rounded, with a chewy brownie outside, cloud-light chocolate icing and a dreamy chocolate glaze to top everything off. But wait, there is a secret here. This cake is not only really tasty but really good for you too: no butter, refined sugar or white flour, but still OTT and delicious. I let people take a couple of big chocolatey bites and then tell them just how good for them it actually is. It’s not that I don’t have a good old-fashioned slice of cake every now and again, but I love that it’s possible to have a slice of cake that is as nourishing as it is delicious. One of the things I love about cooking, and particularly baking, is that there is always an opportunity to take something classic and make it in a way that suits how you like to eat. And I have to say that the first time I tried a slice of this I was very proud.
I use light spelt flour here, as I prefer its more flavourful character and it is much easier on your body than white flour – however, if you can’t get your hands on it plain flour would work. Likewise, if you can’t get coconut oil, you can use melted butter. Half-fat coconut milk doesn’t work here, though.
Makes one big double layered cake.
For the cake
125g coconut oil
150ml maple syrup
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
100g white spelt flour
150g ground almonds
100g good unsweetened
2 teaspoons baking powder
a good pinch of salt
1 ripe banana
200ml milk (I use almond milk or ready-to-drink coconut milk)
For the icing
1 × 400ml tin of full-fat coconut milk
3 tablespoons set honey
3 tablespoons cocoa powder
1 tablespoon vanilla essence
For the chocolate glaze
60ml milk (I use almond milk or ready-to-drink coconut milk)
100g good-quality dark chocolate, chopped into small pieces
a couple of handfuls of berries (I use blueberries and blackberries, but raspberries, strawberries and red or white currants look good too)
Preheat your oven to 180°C/fan 160°C/gas 5. Grease a 23cm springform cake tin and line the base with baking paper. Put your tin of coconut milk into the fridge to chill.
Put the coconut oil into a small pan and let it melt over a low heat. Add the maple syrup and vanilla extract and mix well.
Put the flour, ground almonds, cocoa, baking powder and salt into a bowl and mix well. Mash the banana and and it to the milk. Make a well in the centre of the dry ingredients and slowly pour in the melted coconut oil mixture and the banana and milk. Mix well.
Pour the mixture into the lined tin and level the top using the back of a spoon. Bake in the oven for 35–40 minutes, until it feels firm to the touch and a skewer comes out clean. Don’t worry if the cake has cracked on the top, as this will all get covered by the chocolate glaze.
Remove the cake from the oven and leave to cool in its tin for 10 minutes. Then carefully transfer to a cooling rack and leave to cool completely. Once it has had an hour in the fridge, open the tin of coconut milk and scoop the thick, creamy white top layer into a bowl, leaving behind the watery stuff (you can keep this to use in smoothies). Add the honey, cocoa
powder and vanilla essence, then use an electric hand whisk or a normal whisk and a bit of elbow grease to quickly whisk together, breaking down the coconut cream and whisking it into a smooth fluff. Put it straight into the fridge and leave to chill.
For the chocolate glaze, pour the milk into a small pan, bring to a simmer, then remove from the heat. Put the chopped chocolate into a medium bowl and pour over the hot milk, stirring until melted and glossy.Once the cake has cooled, use a bread knife to slice it horizontally into two layers. Remove the top layer and place to one side. Spread the chocolate coconut icing over the bottom layer and put the top on. Now put the cake back on the cooling rack and place a plate underneath.
Pour the glaze all over the top of the cake, letting it drip down the sides (the plate underneath should catch all the drips). Pile the fruit on top and pop into the fridge to chill for 10 minutes, allowing the chocolate on top to set.
Recipe and images from A Modern Way to Eat by Anna Jones, published by HarperCollins, $49.99.
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