When I first started playing with paleo baked goods, I used a lot of coconut flour, which requires using a lot of eggs. I don’t have a problem with egging up my baked goods, but when I quadruple (or more) the recipe for a party I’m catering, it gets a little crazy, and expensive, considering I’m extremely particular when it comes to my eggs.
Let’s talk about that for a moment, shall we?
You may have noticed that the vast majority of egg cartons boast the words “vegetarian fed” Sounds good, right? But is it? Are chickens supposed to be vegetarians? Pretend for moment that you are lucky enough to have chickens in your backyard. What are they pecking at back there? Corn and soy? Hmmm… Probably not. The truth is this: Chickens are not vegetarians. Based on what I’ve been told by chicken owners, they’re essentially the pigs of the bird world. They eat everything, and especially love the bugs and grubs that they find in the ground. (also pizza crusts, but we won’t go there) This begs the question: If free range chickens are vegetarians, where (and what) is this range they’re so free on? They aren’t vegetarian by choice, which means they’re kicking it on some pretty impenetrable concrete, outside of tiny cages perhaps, but not much of a step up.
Phew. Now that we’ve covered that, you’re probably wondering which eggs to buy. My first choice is the pastured eggs I get at the farmers market. Pastured eggs such as these are more expensive than the free range organic ones you find at your supermarket but to me, it’s worth it. If you have a farmers market near you, find a farmer who sells eggs and ask them about how the hens spend their days. My second choice are pastured eggs from a larger company, such as Vital Farms. They supplement with corn and soy, which I’m not crazy about, but it’s still a better option than the rest. At least their chickens get some quality outside time and as many bugs and grubs as they can find.
Well, I bet you never saw a big lecture about eggs coming on a post about chocolate cake, did you? I honestly didn’t either. This is what happens when I write first thing in the morning while still drinking coffee. Apologies. Now, on with the cake.
No Joke Dark Chocolate Cake
Feel free to make this as complicated, or as simple as you’d like. This cake would be perfectly lovely plain, no frosting, with some berries. For a birthday or other special occasion, Go all out! Chocolate whipped cream filling and ganache glaze makes this cake one to remember.
This recipe made 2 small spring form pans. If you plan on making a large (10″ or so) cake, double the recipe.
For the Cake:
1 cup almond flour
1/2 cup arrowroot powder
1/4 cup coconut flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1 cup maple syrup
1/4 cup coconut oil (plus more for greasing pans)
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
For the chocolate whipped cream filling:
3/4 cup heavy cream (or equivalent in coconut cream, from the top of an unshaken can of coconut milk
1/4 cup chocolate chips
1 teaspoon vanilla
For the ganache glaze:
4 tablespoons butter or coconut oil
4 ounces unsweetened chocolate
1/4 cup chocolate chips
1 tablespoon honey
Make the cake:
- Preheat your oven to 350 and grease and line 2 small spring form pans (I used 6″, but you could use 8″ or 9″ and make a 2 layer cake instead of 4) Line the bottoms with parchment paper.
- Sift dry ingredients (almond flour through cocoa powder) into a medium sized bowl
- In a small bowl, whisk the eggs and add the melted coconut oil, maple syrup, and vanilla. Stir to combine and add to the dry ingredients.
- Beat until well combined by hand, and pour into the prepared pans.
- Bake for 25-30 minutes, depending on the size of your pans. If using larger ones, check after 20 minutes.
Make the chocolate whipped cream filling:
- Melt the chocolate chips in a double boiler over simmering water.
- Beat your cream until it’s fairly stiff.
If you’re using coconut cream, it may not get as stiff, but that’s okay.
- Add the melted chocolate and give it another quick whip, and scrape down the sides of the bowl so it’s mixed in well.
Make the ganache glaze:
- Melt the butter, unsweetened chocolate, and chocolate chips in a double boiler over simmering water. (you can use the same bowl you melted the chocolate in for the whipped cream, scraped out)
- Once it’s melted, stir in the honey and turn off the heat.
- Here’s where patience and attentiveness comes in: Remove the bowl from the heat and allow it to come to room temperature, stirring every 5 minutes or so. You want the ganache to thicken, but not get so hard that you’ll have to spread it on the cake. You want to be able to pour it. It will probably take about 1/2 hour to get to the right consistency, a good time to do all of the dishes you just made dirty.
Put it all together!
I made a small 4 layer cake out of this recipe, but could have easily kept it simple and made it 2 layers instead.
- If you’re going for 4 layers, cut each cake in half, and arrange the bottom layer on a plate with parchment paper tucked in around the edged to keep the frosting from getting all over the plate.
Plop 1/3 of the chocolate whipped cream in the center and spread it out to the edges.
- Stick the cake in the fridge to allow the filling to harden a bit.
- Once the ganache is at the right consistency, pour it over the top of the cake and push to the edges so it falls over. If the sides of your cake are prettier than mine, leaving it dripping might look nice. My cake was was a bit wacky, so I tried to spread the ganache to cover the sides. It didn’t really work. But like I’ve said before, I’m a chef, not a baker!
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