Sunday, May 22, 2011

Chocolate Honey Cake

I've been feeling the pull for the past few weeks of chocolate cake.  There is a gluten-free, vegan chocolate cake which I have made many times (my friends know it well), but for two reasons, I've been dreaming of a new cake.  I've become bored with making the old stand-by and the old stand-by recipe has xanthum gum, which try to stay away from these days.  So, I've been keeping my eye out for something new to try...

I started with Nigella Lawson's recipe for Honey Bee Cake which I converted to gluten-free and veganized.  It is by no means health food - there is a great deal of sugar and fat.  But, it would be a lovely cake for a special occasion.  Its a dense, very rich, almost gooey cake with a beautiful chocolate taste and the floral notes of honey in the background.  I didn't want to change everything about her recipe the first time out, and I'm sure I'll be making this again and plan to try it with less fat and much less sugar, (I found it extremely sweet for my taste - although I'm sure some folks will like it super sweet).  I'd also like to try it with another liquid sweetener, such as maple syrup, which is wonderful with chocolate. 

And, this is an incredible easy cake to put together, especially in the food processor.

Nigella and her kids of use marzipan to make little bees, decorated with the chocolate glaze and sliced almonds - I suppose if one has kids about, this might be fun, I skipped it.

4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, melted
4 tablespoons ground golden flaxmeal
6 tablespoons coconut milk
1 1/3 cups soft light brown sugar
2 sticks earth balance buttery stick (room temperature) 
1/2 cup honey
1/4 cup sweet sorghum flour
1/2 cup brown rice flour (ground superfine is best)
3/4 cup arrowroot flour (or tapioca flour)
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon sea salt 
1 tablespoon cocoa
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup boiling water

Sticky Honey Glaze:
1/4 cup water
1/2 cup honey
6 ounces semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons confectioners' sugar
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees, and oil and line the bottom (with parchment paper) a 9-inch springform pan.  Also, because the batter is quiet liquid, I wrapped the pan with foil very tightly (although my pan did not leak at all).  Also, place the springform pan on a sheet tray (if there is some leakage, you don't want it all over your oven).

Combine ground flax meal and coconut milk and allow to sit for a few minutes (this is the substitute for 2 eggs).

Combine all dry ingredients: (sweet sorghum flour, brown rice flour, arrowroot flour, baking poweder and soda, salt, and cocoa)  and whisk until combined. 

In a food processor, beat together softened earth balance sticks and brown sugar until creamy, then add the honey and process another few seconds.  Add half of the flaxmeal & coconut milk mixture and about 1/2 of the dry ingredients.  Add remaining flaxmeal & coconut milk mixture and remaining dry ingredients.  Add the cocoa pushed through a tea strainer to ensure you have no lumps, and add vanilla and the boiling water. Mix everything well to make a smooth batter and pour into the prepared tin.

(don't have a food processor?  Do the same as above in a large bowl with a hand held mixer)
Cook for up to 1 1/2 hours, though check the cake after 45 minutes and if it is getting too dark, cover the top lightly with aluminium foil and keep checking every 15 minutes.  Let the cake cool completely in the tin on a rack.

To make the glaze, bring the water and honey to a simmer in a saucepan, then turn off the heat and add the finely chopped semi-sweet chocolate, swirling it around to melt in the hot liquid. Leave it for a few minutes, then whisk together. Add the powdered sugar through a sieve and whisk again until smooth.

Choose your plate or stand, and cut out 4 strips of parchment paper and form a square outline on the plate. This is so that when you sit the cake on and ice it, the icing will not run out all over the plate. Unclip the springform pan and set the thoroughly cooled cake on the prepared plate. Pour the glaze over the cold cake; be sure a good deal of the glaze dribbles down the sides. The glaze takes awhile to harden, so give it least an hour before you plan on serving it.


- this cake rose beautifully in the oven, but then fell a bit in the middle (this is common occurrence with gluten-free baked things) - it didn't bother me at all.

- this recipe would make a beautiful cupcakes and there would not be the issue of the middle falling.

- I found the addition of the glaze over the top for me.  Next time, I will try the cake (or cupcakes) with just a dusting of powdered sugar.  And, because the cake is so deeply chocolaty, I'd like to try it with raspberries or raspberry jam - now that's something I could get excited about.

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