Spiced Chocolate, Pumpkin and Pecan Cake

I was paging through my Eric Lanlard, “Chocolat”, recipe book the other day, for some inspiration. This book is not only exquisite, but every glorious recipe is dedicated to chocolate! (Some pages might show a few drool stains… Just kidding ;))

When I find a recipe I’d love to recreate, I know instantly. It practically jumps off the page and says, “Make me!” “Make me!” My heart beats faster, my palms start to sweat, I get this bubbling feeling of excitement welling up from my stomach, my lips form a huge smile and my mind races, scanning through all the possibilities for adaptation as I skim through the recipe.

This is the perfect Winter cake. Imagine the scents of cinnamon, vanilla and chocolate circling through your home, from the kitchen, and enveloping everything in pure, comforting deliciousness.

Put your feet up as you snuggle under a throw with a steaming cup of tea or coffee and savour a moist, decadent, spiced, chocolate slice of heaven.

Spiced chocolate, pumpkin and pecan cake

Serves 8 – 10

Prep time: 20 minutes, plus cooling and resting overnight

Cooking time: 1 hour and 30 minutes

 

Ingredients:

1/2 cup pecan nuts
1 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp olive oil
1 cup dark chocolate, roughly chopped (I use Cocoafair’s 95%)
1/2 cup butter, plus extra for greasing (replace the butter with coconut oil for a dairy free version)
1 cup Xylitol ( I use Sally-Ann’s birch bark Xylitol)
4 medium / 3 large free range eggs (I use Solitaire free range eggs)
3 tsp vanilla extract ( I use NoMU’s vanilla extract)
1 cup water
1.5 cups ground pumpkin seeds
3 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp bicarb
1/2 cup grated raw pumpkin

Directions:

Preheat oven to 170 degrees Celsius
Grease a 23cm springform cake tin and line with baking paper
Coat the pecan nuts with the cayenne and olive oil. Spread out on a lined baking tray and bake for 10 minutes, until roasted. Leave to cool and roughly chop
Melt the chocolate and butter in the microwave for 1 minute or until smooth with no lumps
Beat the eggs and Xylitol until light and fluffy
Beat in the chocolate mixture
Add the vanilla and water and beat again
Mix the ground pumpkin seeds, cinnamon, baking powder and bicarb together and fold into the chocolate mixture
Fold in the pumpkin and chopped pecans
Pour the mixture into the cake tin and bake for 1 hour and 20 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean
Leave to cool in the tin for 10 minutes, then turn out onto the cooling rack to cool completely
Wrap the cake in cling wrap and store in the fridge for 24 hours
Allow to return to room temperature, dust with cocoa, slice and serve

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Carrot Cake made with Almond Flour

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Sometimes in life you stumble upon things that you would never have imagined yourself doing. But, at the same time, you could never imagine yourself ever not doing again. And when you look back at the process and synchronicities that occurred in order to get you to that point, you can’t help but have a good chuckle, because lifeΒ  knows you better than you ever thought you knew yourself.

That’s how I feel about baking. It has become such a pivotal part of my life. I love everything about it: the challenge of using gluten free flours and healthy sweetener alternatives and combing the ingredients in such a way that you have a cake at the end of it that is moist and delicious. But, there is nothing that can compare to the sense of achievement I feel when someone, who has had to give up cake and all other scrumptious goodies for medical reasons, has a bite and you can physically see every emotion and memory running across her face. That, is pure bliss!

Carrot Cake with Almond Flour

Ingredients:

  • 1.5 cups almond flour (I have ground my own almonds to make the flour too)
  • 1/2 cup pecan nuts, finely chopped
  • 1 cup Xylitol
  • 1.5 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 3 Tbs coconut oil
  • 1/4 cup Greek yoghurt
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 Tbs vanilla extract
  • 1 Tbs warm water
  • 1.5 cups grated carrot (excess water squeezed out)
  • Zest of one lemon

Preparation:

  • Preheat oven to 170 degrees Celsius
  • Grease a cake tin
  • Add dry ingredients to a bowl
  • Whisk oil, yoghurt and eggs together and add to dry ingredients
  • Add vanilla extract and water and mix gently to combine
  • Add grated carrot and lemon zest and mix gently to combine again
  • Transfer batter to cake tin
  • Bake for 45 minutes
  • Turn off oven and leave cake in for a further 15 minutes
  • Take cake out of oven and transfer to a cake rack to cool
  • When cake is cool ice with the below

Icing:

  • Juice of half a lemon
  • 1/8 cup Xylitol
  • 1/2 cup cream cheese
  • 2 Tbs Greek yoghurt
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Preparation:

  • Dissolve Xylitol in the lemon juice
  • Add all the other ingredients and mix well to remove all the lumps
  • Spread over cake
  • Decorate with chopped pecan nuts if desired

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Vanilla Lemon and Coconut Cake (This recipe is not Banting)

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Do you need some sunshine in your life?

There was so much potential from my previous post on the chocolate cake, to create other cakes… My mind went crazy with ideas – what flavours, which beans, what ingredients could I substitute for what? And eventually, I settled on this Vanilla, Lemon and Coconut Cake. A few adjustments and I was A for Away!

Healthy, Flourless, Sugar-Free Vanilla Lemon and Coconut Cake

Makes a 23cm one layer cake

Ingredients:

  • 1 can of unseasoned butter beans
  • 5 large eggs
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 cup Xylitol
  • 6 tablespoons coconut
  • 1 teaspoon aluminum-free baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • Zest of 1 lemon

Preparation:

  • Preheat oven to 160 degrees Celsius.
  • Spray a 23cm cake pan with extra virgin olive oil cooking spray, or just grease it with a thin layer of butter.
  • Drain and rinse beans in a strainer or colander. Shake off excess water.
  • Place beans, 3 of the eggs, vanilla extract and salt into blender. Blend on high until beans are completely liquefied. No lumps!
  • Beat butter with Xylitol until light and fluffy.
  • Add remaining two eggs, beating for a minute after each addition.
  • Pour bean batter into egg mixture and mix.
  • Finally, stir in coconut, vanilla powder, baking soda, baking powder, water and lemon zest, and beat the batter on high for one minute, until smooth. Scrape batter into pan and smooth the top. Grip pan firmly by the edges and rap it on the counter a few times to pop any air bubbles.
  • Bake for 40 minutes and then turn temperature up to 180 degrees, bake for another 15 to 20 minutes until cooked.
  • Cake is done when the top is rounded and firm to the touch.
  • Remove from oven. After 10 minutes, turn out cake from pan, and flip over again onto a cooling rack.
  • Let cool until cake reaches room temperature
  • Ice immediately before serving
  • This cake just tastes better with age – so if you let it rest under a dome or bowl, for about 8 hours it will be even more delicious!

Lemony Cream Cheese Icing

Makes enough to thickly cover one layer, or fill and ice a halved stacked layer

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup low fat cream cheese
  • 2 Tablespoon plain yoghurt
  • 1/8 cup Xylitol powdered (grind in a pestle and mortar)
  • Juice of half a lemon
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • Toasted coconut and lemon zest to garnish

Preparation:

  • Dissolve Xylitol in the lemon juice
  • Add the cream cheese, yoghurt and vanilla and blend well until there are no lumps
  • Spread over cake
  • Toast some coconut in a dry pan for a few minutes, until golden, and sprinkle over cake
  • Add a grating of lemon zest for a burst of sunny colour

Doesn’t that look like the perfect cake to send away the Winter blues? I say, yes! Go on, invite some sunshine into your world πŸ™‚

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Celebrations with a Chocolate Cake (This is not a Banting Recipe)

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Today, I am celebrating!

  • I’m celebrating starting a new blog and having a fresh start. (To me, there’s something exciting about a white page, eager to be filled with words that are formed from my own thoughts.)
  • I’m celebrating my journey back to health and back to myself.
  • I’m celebrating having my creativity back.
  • I’m celebrating each moment that life hands me.
  • I’m celebrating food!
  • And I’m celebrating the fact that I don’t need a reason to celebrate. I am celebrating for celebration’s sake πŸ™‚ *throws confetti on self*

What better way to celebrate than with cake? Chocolate cake! Gooey, moussey, gluten-free, sugar-free, delicious, too-good to be true, phone-in-the-morning-to-book-your-slice-of-cake cake!

I found this recipe by chance and when I first read it, I thought to myself – never, ever in my life will I make a cake that contains beans as one of the key ingredients! I mean how bizarre is that? But, you know what? I’m so glad I ignored myself and tried the recipe anyway! And the customers of Doubleshot Coffee Shop in Plettenberg Bay are also really happy that I did too, because they actually phone in the morning to book a slice of cake – so scared are they to miss out on their daily fix haha. How cool is that?

Next time you find yourself in Plett, make sure you visit this little gem (in the Checkers Centre) – Doubleshot is famous for their coffee (they use Espresso Lab Micro Roasters), which they have perfected like a fine art and you might even get to taste my cake πŸ˜› Follow them on twitter.

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Healthy, Flourless, Sugar-Free Chocolate Cake

Makes a 23cm one layer cake

Ingredients:

  • 1 can of unseasoned kidney beans
  • 5 large eggs
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 1/4 Cup Xylitol
  • 6 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon aluminum-free baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 tablespoon water

Mint Chocolate variation:
2 teaspoons mint extract (in place of 2 teaspoons vanilla)

Preparation:

  • Preheat oven to 160 degrees Celsius.
  • Spray a 23cm cake pan with extra virgin olive oil cooking spray, or just grease it with a thin layer of butter. Dust cocoa all over the inside of the pan, tapping to evenly distribute.
  • Drain and rinse beans in a strainer or colander. Shake off excess water.
  • Place beans, 3 of the eggs, vanilla and salt into blender. Blend on high until beans are completely liquefied. No lumps!
  • Whisk together cocoa powder, baking soda, and baking powder.
  • Beat butter with Xylitol until light and fluffy.
  • Add remaining two eggs, beating for a minute after each addition.
  • Pour bean batter into egg mixture and mix.
  • Finally, stir in cocoa powder and water, and beat the batter on high for one minute, until smooth. Scrape batter into pan and smooth the top. Grip pan firmly by the edges and rap it on the counter a few times to pop any air bubbles.
  • Bake for 40-45 minutes and then turn temperature up to 180 degrees, bake for another 15 to 20 minutes until cooked.
  • Cake is done when the top is rounded and firm to the touch.
  • Remove from oven. After 10 minutes, turn out cake from pan, and flip over again onto a cooling rack.
  • Let cool until cake reaches room temperature
  • Frost immediately before serving
  • This cake just tastes better with age – so if you let it rest for about 8 hours it will be even more delicious!

Healthy Chocolate Buttercream Icing

Makes enough to thickly cover one layer, or fill and ice a halved stacked layer

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/4 cup Xylitol powdered (grind in a pestle and mortar)
  • 5-6 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 4 tablespoons plain yoghurt
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • Pinch of sea salt

Preparation:

  • Cream the butter in a small bowl until fluffy.
  • Powder Xylitol in a coffee grinder, Magic Bullet or pestle and mortar, until extremely fine in texture (reminiscent of powdered sugar). Let sweetener settle in grinder before opening the top.
  • Stir powdered sweetener into butter with a spatula, then beat until smooth.
  • Slowly blend in the cocoa powder (this can be a rather messy job), vanilla, and sea salt.
  • Mix in the yoghurt.
  • Spread over cake.

And ENJOY! Devour, lick all the yumminess from your fingers and then go back for seconds… because I know you won’t be able to resist! πŸ˜€

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