A paleo sweet for your sweet, just in time for Valentine’s Day! Why not make the one(s) you love (or yourself) a sinfully rich, paleo chocolate cake?
Of course, it doesn’t have to be just for Valentine’s Day – it can be easily made as a celebration cake. I’ve shared this recipe with family and friends, who’ve primarily made it as a birthday cake. I first experimented with it this past Christmas, changing and tweaking it from an existing recipe I found. It was a hit with my family, children included; so much so that Pat requested it for his 36th birthday last week. Where it was a hit again.
The best part about this dessert is that the sponge contains a melted bar of chocolate, lending to its deep brown colour and intense flavour. Both Pat and I believe that if you’re going to make a chocolate cake, there should be a melted, fine quality, chocolate bar in it! In the two times I made the cake, I used 90% cocoa Lindt chocolate for the sponge, which is why the sponge is so dark in colour. Any chocolate cake containing melted chocolate in the sponge will always be a darker cake than one made with just cocoa powder.
This cake is paleo, primal, gluten-free, and sugar-free (and dairy-free if you use coconut oil). But it’s definitely not free from taste! Remember: like my Paleo Sticky Toffee Pudding recipe, just because it is compliant with the above-mentioned dietary protocols, doesn’t mean it’s ‘healthy’ and therefore one is able to consume as much as they would like. While this dessert won’t make your body react the way it would to real sugar, real dairy and ‘wheat,’ it isn’t nutritionally dense, and shouldn’t be a regular staple in one’s diet. A cake is still a cake, no matter the ingredients, and should be eaten for special occasions only.
The recipe below is in both US cups and grams for the European readers.
Paleo Chocolate Ganache Cake
Prep time: 30 minutes
Bake time: 40 minutes
3 cups/300g +1 tbsp ground almonds
¼ cup/50g coconut flour
¼ cup/ 50g cocoa powder
½ cup/100g xylitol
1 ½ tsp baking soda
1 ½ tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 ½ cups/125g 85-90% dark chocolate (1 bar = 100g)
½ cup/120mL full fat coconut milk
½ cup/75g coconut oil OR butter
1 ½ tsp apple cider vinegar
3 tsp vanilla extract
3 eggs, room temperature
2/3 cup/50g dark chocolate (70% or higher)
7 tbsp coconut milk, full fat
- Pre-heat the oven to 350°F/170°C. Grease a springform pan with coconut oil or butter, then line the bottom with parchment paper.
- In a large bowl, mix together the dry ingredients and set aside.
- In a saucepan on the hob (stove top), melt the chocolate and coconut oil or butter together. This can be done using a double boiler OR at very low heat and supervised. Once the chocolate is completely melted, mix well and remove from the heat. Let cool.
- Combine the melted chocolate mixture, coconut milk, eggs, apple cider vinegar, and vanilla extract until smooth. This can be with a food processor or by hand.
- Mix the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients. This will create quite a dry batter; don’t worry, it’ll still turn out.
- Spread batter evenly into the prepared cake pan and bake for 40 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean.
- For the chocolate ganache, melt the chocolate and coconut milk together in double boiler, or supervised at low heat. Stir until fully combined and smooth, then allow to cool before topping the cake.
- Once the cake has cooled completely, top with the chocolate ganache.
Enjoy with whipped coconut cream, ‘Nice’ cream, poured full-fat coconut milk, Coyo, or a dairy topping of your choice. It’s always best served with a cup of tea or coffee.
Because Pat and I don’t eat anything containing added sugar, we find foods that aren’t so sweet, pretty sweet. The xylitol quantities in the recipe suit our palate, but for those more akin to a conventional ‘healthy’ diet, they might not find the cake so sweet. You could try increasing the sweetener, or changing it for a paleo-friendly honey or maple syrup. You will have to experiment yourself with quantities for those ingredients. Please comment below if you do!
The sponge will be slightly crumbly: this isn’t due to baking the cake for too long, but rather because it contains ground almonds and coconut flour. These result in a more delicate, slightly crumbly, but still moist texture.
For the ganache, the sweetness will vary depending on the percentage of cocoa in the chocolate you use. The first time I made this recipe, I used 74% cocoa chocolate and it was sweet. The second time I made this recipe, I used 90% cocoa and it wasn’t sweet. If you use a higher percentage of cocoa chocolate, but want a sweet-tasting ganache, then try adding you preferred paleo or primal sweetener to it.
Happy Valentine’s Day and cheers to the weekend 🙂