We're starting the New Year right with my Chocolate Cherry Bliss cake. I know what you're thinking—"What about our resolutions to get fit and healthy?" "Chocolate cake" and "healthy" would seem like a dichotomy, but I'm here to assure you that you can
have your cake and eat it too! And since we're still in celebration mode, what better way to continue our celebrations.
These days, chocolate has become the new health food, with many brands adorning the aisles of health food stores. Chocolate comes from the cocoa bean, which is considered one of the superfoods because of its high nutritional value. Cocoa is a rich source of antioxidants and contains neurotransmitters that are said to promote a positive mental state.
Preheat the oven to 350°. Lightly grease 2 round, 8-inch cake tins, and line the bases with parchment paper.
In a large bowl, sift the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt. Add the almond meal and stir to combine.
In a separate bowl or large jug, whisk together the maple syrup, safflower oil, coconut milk, rice milk and orange zest and juice. Add this mixture to the flour mixture and whisk to combine thoroughly, being careful to get rid of any lumps.
Divide the mixture evenly between the two cake tins and bake on the middle shelf of the oven for 35 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the middle of the cakes comes out clean. Remove and allow to cool in the tins for 10 minutes before turning out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
To make the cherry filling:
Remove the stones from the cherries if using fresh and place in a saucepan with the apple juice. Bring to a boil and simmer for 5 to 7 minutes or until soft but not mushy. Dissolve the kudzu or arrowroot in a little cold water or juice and add to the cherry mixture, stirring until thickened.
To make the chocolate frosting:
Melt the chocolate chips in the top of a double boiler or in a bowl set inside a saucepan of simmering water. Place the melted chocolate in a blender, together with the tofu, honey or maple syrup and orange juice and process until smooth and creamy. Chill for 1 hour before spreading on the cake.
Place one of the cake layers on a serving platter. Spread half the chocolate frosting over the cake and cover with the cherry filling. Top with the second cake layer. Spread the remaining chocolate icing on top of this. If you like, decorate the cake with extra cherry halves. Finish with a handful of whole cherries.
- Instead of spelt flour, you can use whole meal flour or unbleached plain (all-purpose) flour. You can use ground hazelnuts or ground cashews instead of almond meal.
- Soy milk or oat milk can be used in place of the rice milk. I like to use the coconut milk to give the cake a rich consistency, but if you prefer you can omit it and use 2 cups of rice milk, soy milk or oat milk in total.
- Other fruits can be used in place of the cherries. Raspberries, blueberries, strawberries or sliced peach or mango all work well.
- For a gluten-free version, you can use rice or amaranth flour or a gluten-free flour mix that you can get at some health food stores.