Sunday, March 6, 2011

Technically Paleo Chocolate Cake.

Is it a really big plate, or a really small cake?
Last year, Miriam's birthday happened to fall right in the middle of a paleo challenge that we were doing at the gym. She wanted to stay really strict on the diet, so we didn't have a cake. Instead, I made a key lime pie out of paleo ingredients. If I had been a more experienced paleo baker, I could have whipped up some of these little chocolate cakes instead. They have a texture somewhere between a cake and a brownie, and they're awesome on their own or with a small scoop of coconut milk ice cream on top.

Now, before I get started with the recipe, here's the caveat. These are definitely in the "indulgences" category. They make a great treat for you and your sweetie to split after a romantic dinner, and if it's your birthday you can totally have one guilt-free. However, if you're having one of these after dinner every night, you're not going to be happy with the results.  (Well, the long term results, anyway. The immediate result is that you eat chocolate cake, and you'll probably be OK with that.)

Without further adieu:

I like to get everything together first
1 1/2 cups almond meal
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 egg
1/2 cup grapeseed oil (or any neutral oil)
1/3 cup water
1/4 cup maple syrup
1 tsp vanilla extract

Cookie Sheet
Miniature Tart Pans
Large bowl

Preheat your oven to 325.

Add the almond meal, cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt to a large bowl, and whisk to combine.

A large bowl is the baker's best friend.

It won't be totally smooth, but that's OK. You're really just trying to distribute the baking powder evenly.

Now add the egg, oil, water, syrup, and vanilla to the bowl.
The maple syrup is what really pushes this into indulgence land

You really want to get it smooth. Remember, almond meal doesn't form gluten, so go nuts with the mixing. It should look like brownie batter when you're done.

Distribute the batter between four miniature tart pans (I think mine are 5 inch tart pans) on top of a cookie sheet.

It's really important to put the same amount of batter in each one. Otherwise you'll end up with a charcoal brick in some and chocolate pudding in others.

Now, bake the cakes at 325 for about 12-15 minutes. They're done if you can stick a toothpick in them and have it come back out clean.
You can kind of see the toothpick holes in the back two.

Getting these out of the tart pans is a little tricky. Most tart pans have removable bottoms, which helps a lot. I have good luck using a very thin-bladed knife to separate the cakes from the sides of the pans, then turning them upside down and popping the bottom out of the pan. Then the pan-bottom can be separated from the cake with the knife.

  • These taste a lot like brownies. They're pretty dense, and very chocolatey.
  • If you don't have tart pans with removable bottoms, you could try cutting a parchment paper circle to fit the bottom of the pan, so that the bottom of your cake won't stick to the bottom of the pan. I haven't tried it that way, but it might work.
  • I have no idea whether or not you could just pour everything into one larger pan to make one larger cake. It might work OK in one nine inch pan, but I suspect you'd need to bake it for about 20 minutes. Maybe one day I'll give it a try.

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