One of my best friends came around for dinner this week, as a belated birthday get together for her. I wanted to cook something a little special (stay tuned for the main course!) from my beloved copy of Red Velvet & Chocolate Heartache, that she’d bought me as a gift.I love chocolate ‘cake’ but I really do not like chocolate sponge; this cake is a rich dense, torte like confection, almost a cross between chocolate mousse and a chocolate truffle (come on, what a combination!). It is also ridiculously simple to make, this recipe is basically perfection; it is low in fat (for a cake), has vegetables hidden in it, tastes completely decadent and is quick and easy to make.
My absolute favourite chocolate cake in the world is winning hearts and mind cake and this recipe looked to be very similar to that but with aubergine! Now, we all know I love sneaking vegetables into dishes people think they shouldn’t be, so I was eager to give it a try. I also loved how it contained no butter, flour (it uses ground almonds, just a few) or refined sugar (using honey for that hint of sweetness). This is a chocolate cake for grown ups, it is rich and delicious but in reality, far less decadent than it seems. It really is absolutely scrummy with absolutely no hint of the nutrition hidden inside, this is full on naughty and satisfying, except it really isn’t that naughty at all.
- 2 whole aubergines (~400 g)
- 300 g of dark chocolate (the good stuff – minimum 70% cocoa solids)
- 50 g of good quality cocoa powder (such as Green & Blacks)
- 60 g of ground almonds
- 3 medium free range eggs
- 200 g of clear honey
- 2 tsp of baking powder (gluten free if required)
- 0.25 tsp of salt
- 1 tbsp of brandy
- Flowers to decorate (optional)
- Preheat the oven to 180°C and grease and line a 23 cm (loose bottomed) diameter cake tin (I used a 20 cm tin and cooked it just a couple of minutes longer).
- Pierce the aubergines with a fork and then place them in a bowl, covered with clingfilm, in the microwave and cook on full power for 8 minutes.
- Once the aubergines are cooked and you can handle them, run a sharp knife down one side and scoop out the insides into a blender.
- Blitz the aubergine insides in the blender until smooth, then add in the chocolate (broken into chunks). Blend until the chocolate has melted and is smooth.
- Blend the brandy into the mixture.
- In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the all the remaining ingredients until well combined.
- Fold in the chocolate aubergine mixture, be a little rough with it, it’ll get there.
- Pour the mixture into the prepared tin and bake for 30 minutes.
- Remove the cake from the oven and leave it to cool for 15 minutes in the tin, then remove it from the tin and leave it to cool completely on a wire rack, having removed the baking paper.
- Sprinkle with cocoa powder and icing sugar (decorate if desired), then slice and serve!