This is a recipe that everyone should have tucked into their back pocket, their notebook, or bookmarks folder. A basic, solid chocolate cake recipe. A ‘no-fail’ recipe. Something that works, that can be built upon; dressed up or dressed down depending on the occasion. It’s not flashy or fancy. It’s not highly sweet. It’s the sort of cake that loves being slathered in sauces and yoghurts and ice-creams. It likes a few blackberries tucked in beside it, or a drizzle of maple syrup over the top.
Things have finally begun to slow down around here: classes have finished, and tutoring is done for the year; our German lessons have finished and the exam is done. A big, long, sigh of relief. We’re both settling back into our own research, and I’m finally starting to think about Christmas, and am having some lovely and exciting ideas. On the food front, I’ve been trying to be kinder to myself. When I’m stressed or anxious, the first thing I do is become incredibly rigid and restrictive with what I’m eating, which really, is the last thing my body or mind needs at that point. That being said, I’ve been avoiding most sugar after reading this book, and this cake is the product of the desire to make a cake without the syrups or substitutes I would normally use. (A little aside: I highly recommend David Gillespie’s Big Fat Lies: an excellent collection of the latest research surrounding sugar, health, and the debate over saturated vs polyunsaturated fats. Eye-opening stuff, peeps.)
Sweetened (only slightly) with some organic apple sauce, the cake itself is moist and fudgy, with a robust, solid crumb. A basic chocolate cake recipe, and especially a basically unsweetened one like this, gives you the opportunity to go crazy with the accompaniments. Here I went for a simple, delicious raspberry sauce (that is equally as good over some coconut yoghurt, or cashew cream – you get the idea, right?). But really, the possibilities are endless and only restricted by what you have in the cupboard. A date and tahini sauce. Blackberries and vanilla cashew cream. Macerated strawberries. Roasted strawberries. Blueberry compote.
So, go forth and eat cake! (And make this cake your own.) X
P.S. molly, ily is now on Facebook. Aside from blog posts, I’m also sharing links to articles, photos and other things I find interesting (and you might too!).
basic chocolate cake
makes one 8 inch cake
adapted from 101 cookbooks
- This is not a sweet cake – if you would like it sweeter, try adding 1/4 cup of your preferred sweetener. If you are using a liquid sweetener, decrease the amount of applesauce by the amount of liquid sweetener you add.
- If raspberry sauce isn’t your thing, check out the body of this post for lots more serving suggestions.
- To make one flax egg, combine 1 tbsp flaxseed (linseed) meal with 2 tbsp boiling water. Whisk with a fork and set aside for 10-15 minutes before using.
- 2 cups (310 g) wholemeal spelt flour
- 1/2 cup (65 g) light spelt flour
- 3/4 cup (50 g) cocoa powder
- 1 tbsp baking powder
- 2 flax eggs
- 1 cup (250 ml) light coconut milk
- 1/2 cup (125 ml) coconut oil, melted
- 1 cup (250 ml) unsweetened applesauce
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 175 C (350 F) – no fan. Line the bottom of an 8 inch (20 cm) springform tin with baking paper, and lightly oil the sides. Prepare flax eggs.
In a large bowl, sift together the flours, cocoa, baking powder. In a medium bowl, whisk together flax eggs, coconut milk, coconut oil, vanilla and applesauce. Add the wet mixture to the dry mixture, and stir until just combined. Spoon batter into prepared tin and bake for 40 minutes, until a cake tester comes out just clean.
Remove from oven and allow to cool for 10 minutes in the tin, before removing the tin and cooling completely. Serve at room temperature, smothered in raspberry sauce. The cake will keep in an airtight container in the fridge for 3-4 days.
simple raspberry sauce
makes about 1.5 cups
- This sauce is delicious over almost anything (yoghurt, icecream, granola, porridge).
- 150 g (1.5 cups) frozen raspberries
- 70 g (5 large) medjool dates, pitted
- juice of half a lemon
Using a large knife, roughly mince the dates. In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine dates, lemon juice and 1/2 cup of water. Using a wooden spoon, stir the mixture vigorously while it heats – the dates will breakdown and form a thick, caramel coloured sauce. Add the raspberries and another cup or so of water. Bring to the boil and simmer for 5 minutes.
Once the berries are starting to break down, remove the pan from the heat and using an immersion blender or normal blender, blend the sauce to until smooth. It should be thick but still pourable. Add more water until your desired thickness is reached. Store in glass jar in the fridge for 4-5 days.