No guilt chocolate cake

Posted on November 25, 2014 by Viji

Apples, oranges, cranberries, raw chocolate (raw cocoa nibs), coffee seeds, almonds, thyme, coconut oil, maple syrup, spelt flour, baking powder, baking soda and a pinch of salt – not bad for a cake that tastes ‘amazing’, right? Isn’t it wonderful that we can bake, serve, and eat a cake without feeling guilty… that too a chocolate cake? Vegan too!!!

You baked the stand and I baked you a cake. Happy b’day, Sonia! You are such an inspiration… I admire you so dearly.


more on Sonia and her work:

I have been wanting to make a chocolate cake with raw cocoa nibs and wanted to combine cranberries with it too. I have always been so fascinated by both. In fact, whenever cranberries are in season, I boil them with just enough water and thyme (Why thyme? Two reasons – one, that is the only herb I see green in our backyard when cranberries arrive and two, I just love thyme), add maple syrup, simmer it for about 15 minutes and this becomes our syrup on almost everything (pancakes, waffles, and more). And, I had a packet of raw cocoa nibs waiting to be used in a chocolate cake. To add to these, I wanted the cake to be vegan. I had almost decided to adapt the recipe from the beautiful “Sunday Suppers”, my favorite cookbook; then to my biggest surprise, I came across the recipe “Thyme chocolate cake with blackberry salt“. You can only imagine… the word ‘thyme’ in the name was enough for me. I was totally thrilled to see apple juice and spelt flour among the ingredients. “Joy of baking,” where I learned my alphabets of baking, uses lemon juice with cocoa powder; I decided to use the freshly squeezed juice from a couple of clementines, in place of lemon juice. Wow, this definitely is a team effort and I thank each and every one. The cake may not look as dark as a chocolate cake but sure tastes like one, only better… especially after a day or two in the refrigerator!

Here’s a very interesting link I came across as I was writing this post.  The great chocolate myth: Why the stuff you’re eating is just wrong

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Chocolate cake with ‘raw cocoa nibs’

  • 2 Tablespoons raw cocoa nibs (more for a darker cake)
  • 2 teaspoons coffee seeds (optional)
  • 1 1/2 cups spelt flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 pinch of salt
  • 1 apple, washed and sliced thin
  • 2 clementines
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • 2 Tablespoons coconut oil (room temperature)

Heat the oven to 350ºF. Lightly grease the inside of a spring form cake pan with coconut oil.

Grind the cocoa nibs and coffee seeds to a fine powder (If you like biting into the tiny pieces of cocoa and coffee after baking; leave it a bit coarse). In a bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.

Grind the apple slices to a smooth puree. In a medium bowl, using a wooden spoon, mix the apple puree, freshly squeezed juice from the clementines (seeds removed), maple syrup, and the oil, until smooth. Add the flour mixture, mix very gently and just enough. Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Bake for 35-40 minutes, or until a tester (tooth pick) inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Place the pan on a wire rack and let cool.

Cranberry thyme syrup

  • a handful of fresh cranberries, washed
  • a couple of twigs of thyme
  • a few tablespoons of maple syrup

While the cake is getting baked, combine cranberries, water just enough to cover the berries and thyme in a saucepan over medium heat. Add a few of spoons of maple syrup (adjust to taste), mix gently and let simmer for 15-20 minutes.

 Chocolate ganache

  • 4 tablespoons of raw cocoa nibs
  • 2 tablespoons of raw cashews
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup

Grind the raw cocoa nibs and to a very fine powder. Add the cashews and grind it to a very fine paste by adding water enough to make a thick milk consistency. Add maple syrup (adjust the syrup and cashews, for the right bitterness and sweetness), heat this mixture on low-medium heat, stirring very often, until it reaches a consistency good for spreading. Let it cool. As you can see this ganache was enough for a thin layer all around the cake.

Getting it all together…

Remove the cake from the pan onto a wire rack. Flip it to get the flat surface on the top (optional), Spread or pour the cranberry syrup on the cake (according to taste). Allow it to soak into the cake. Spread the chocolate ganache and decorate to your liking. Move it to a cake stand.

I sprinkled some almonds over the ganache and placed a rose that was still on the plant… the last rose for the season!


What Others Are Saying

  1. Shibi@FlavzCorner February 3, 2015 at 12:27 pm

    Simply amazing!! This is the picture that brought me here

    • Viji February 4, 2015 at 9:53 am

      Thank you.

  2. ekta February 27, 2015 at 3:12 pm

    Ok this is the best cake I’ve ever had in my life. Rustic,comforting, guilt free & less of words to describe it more…
    Must try it. All the ingredients are easily available and the whole process takes very little time. I just changed it a bit by not doing the cranberry sauce step, I added cocao powder instead of nibs& mandarin rind too with the juice.
    My mom is a vegan & I can’t wait to make this for her as a surprise …

    • handfulofrecipes March 1, 2015 at 9:52 am

      I’m so happy you made it! Such an encouraging comment… thank you!

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