This blog is a place to share my passion for cooking and inspire people to cook more from scratch. With six people in the family, cooking is something that is always on my mind. I want to share some of my favorite foods and recipes and share more about traditional diets (like the kind of food our great, great, great grandmothers would have made). Right now I am fascinated with fermented vegetables, coconuts, seafood with a cerviche twist and organ meats... although maybe not all in the same meal!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Let Them Eat Cake!

Almost guilt-free Flourless Chocolate Cake!
So let's face it, sometimes it is nice to have dessert.  And every now and then you should just have something wonderful and fully enjoy it!  

But if you can come up with a WIN-WIN, where you can have something wonderful and it can have some redeeming nutritional qualities too.... well that seemed to me worth a blog post!

I kind of stumbled onto that something wonderful yesterday.  We had a special guest for dinner and I wanted to make dessert.  But since it was mid-week I felt like trying to also make it somewhat healthy.  Off to my cookbook library I browsed and I found my inspiration in Eat Fat Lose Fat by Dr. Mary Enig and Sally Fallon.  They had a recipe for Flourless Cocoa-Coconut Cake and I tweaked it a little to make it my own.  

By the way... I suppose I broke a lot of rules by not making this dessert in advance to check it first before serving it to company.  I kind of like the challenge of flying without a net sometimes! And then I had the audacity to change a few parts of the recipe based on my instincts and what I had on hand.  However, I did whip up a tried and true baked apples dish just in case our guest wasn't a chocolate kind of guy... turns out he seemed to like chocolate just fine!

So I tweaked Katherine Czapp's recipe that is in Fallon's book and here's what I came up with:

Cocoa-Coconut Cake

7 tablespoons sifted arrowroot powder
1/3 cup sifted unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
4 egg whites, at room temperature
pinch of sea salt
1/4 cup coconut crystals
4 egg yolks, room temperature
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/4 cup coconut crystals
1 cup dried shredded coconut

Cocoa-Coconut Frosting:
1  7oz can of Taste of Thai coconut milk (even better if you can make your own coconut milk)
1/2 to 3/4 cup Artisana Coconut butter
3 TBS cocoa powder
1-2 TBS coconut crystals  

After preheating the oven to 350 degrees, I put some coconut oil in a pie plate... if you have a springfoam pan, go ahead and use it.

Then sift arrowroot, cocoa and cinnamon and set aside.  In a clean bowl beat egg whites with a pinch of salt until frothy and then add 1/4 cup of the coconut crystals and set aside.

In another bowl, beat egg yolks and vanilla for about 3 minutes and the remaining coconut crystals.  Then with a spatula fold in 1/3 of the whites mixture into the yolks and fold in gently.  Alternate folding in egg whites with adding the dry cocoa mixture.  After all that is mixed in, add the coconut flakes last.

Pour batter into pan and bake in oven for about 30 minutes or until cake pulls away from pan.  Let cool and then add frosting.

The cake looked and acted like chocolate cake but it had no flour and no white sugar.  The eggs contributed protein, the coconut flakes have nutritional value that you can read about here and the coconut crystals have a very low glycemic index and contain 17 amino acids, minerals, vitamin C, broad spectrum B vitamins and a nearly neutral pH. The coconut butter in the frosting has saturated fats which provide structural support to the membranes that protect our cells.  The medium-chain fatty acids in coconut butter provide an almost immediate source of energy to your body and might even help speed up your metabolism.  Can your standard chocolate cake make any of these claims?

Who knows for sure if my guest liked the cake... but he said he did and he did eat it.  And my children gobbled it up and some had seconds.  In fact the reason the photo above is so small is that is all the cake that was left the next day when I took the photo!  So that tells me there was something tasty about that cake or no seconds would have been served.  It was funny to see my kids grimace a bit when I mentioned that there was coconut in the cake as they don't like to know the details of what goes in all my creations... but they only eat the things that taste good to them so I am calling this one a winner!  And really a win/win because they got their taste and I got my nutrition too.  Let the people eat cake!

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