Today I’m headed off to a committee meeting with a group of awesome women who run and steer the Nimbin Preschool. This term our meeting happens to fall right in the middle of the Leo birthday bonanza.. 6 of our 8 committee members are currently Leos, so of course we need cake!
This is a recipe I’ve hacked from Annabel Langbein’s Ultimate Chocolate Brownie recipe. It’s still a bit of a work in progress, (I almost never bake anything quite the same twice), but I think this might be the best version yet.
- 2 cups dates, roughly chopped
- 1 cup hot water
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 150g butter (use coconut oil or lard to make it paleo, or ghee for lower lactose and casein), melted with
- 50g cocoa butter (if you don’t have cocoa butter, replace with other fat as above)
- 4 eggs
- 2-3 Tbs honey
- 1 cup cocoa or cacao powder
- 1/2 cup coconut flour
- 3/4 tsp baking soda (bicarb)
- 1/4 tsp salt (the salt is optional if you’re using salted butter, essential if you’re not. Unless you are on a restricted salt diet of course.. it won’t ruin the cake to leave it out, but all sweet things taste better with a little bit of salt)
- 1/4 cup liquid (milk – almond/coconut/dairy, or water works fine too)
- Chopped nuts
- Vanilla essence
- orange or peppermint oil
- Dried fruit
- Fresh or frozen berries
- Shredded coconut
- Chocolate chips
In a blender, add your dates, boiled water and tsp baking soda. Give the dates a pulse or two to chop them up slightly, then let sit for 20 mins.
While you wait, preheat the oven to 160c. Grease and flour your pan, I used a 7″ springform pan, but you could use a larger slice pan to make this into brownies rather than a cake.
Once the dates have softened, add the melted fats and blend until smooth. Add in your eggs, milk or water, and vanilla essence, spices or essential oils if using, and blend until smooth. Stop the blender and add your cocoa, coconut flour, salt and bicarb, blend again. You will probably need to use the tamper on your blender, or stop it periodically and scrape down the sides with a spatula. Mix in any solid additions by hand so they stay chunky. Pour into your pan and bake until it pulls away from the edges and is springy in the centre, about 40 minutes.
The texture and flavour of this cake improve with a day or two sitting in the fridge. I have frosted it in the past with whipped butter and honey with a little cocoa, but it’s kind of overkill. It’s great served with some cultured cream and fresh fruit or berries. As for the additions… it’s very dense, so I find it’s improved with some kind of texture added. Chopped nuts are fantastic, though shredded coconut does the job as well. Frozen berries are nice, chopped candied ginger or dried berries, and a few drops of orange oil work beautifully. Enjoy!