Low-Sugar, Gluten-Free Black and White Cake

As mentioned earlier, I’ve been on a bit of a food journey the past few months. A stint at eating “South Beach” and fully eliminating all processed sugars led me to read up much more on a variety of eating styles, including Paleo/Caveman, low-sugar, low-carb, gluten-free, raw food, and low-glycemic index. I have to say that I’ve learned a lot, and although I can’t say I will live this way 100%, I’ve been exposed to a lot of new ingredients and opinions, and it will have an influence on the way I cook.

All this diet tinkering combined with an exceptionally busy phase at school (although I’m coming to terms with the fact that, as a PhD student, “exceptionally busy” = “daily life”) means I didn’t have too many blog-worthy recipes over the past few months. Beyond eating a lot of simple salads, soups, and proteins, this cake recipe was one of the more interesting things I discovered along the way.

The cake is moist, fudgy, and not sweet — the only sweeteners are the chocolate (very dark chocolate, and the white chocolate chips on top). Don’t expect your “standard” chocolate cake sugar bomb, by any means, but if you are interested in a simple, gluten-free, lower carb or less-sweetened option, it definitely is a delicious treat. (It isn’t Paleo, and could become vegan if you made sure your chocolate chips were vegan) You can easily switch out the white chocolate chips for almonds or dark chocolate for even less of a sugar punch.

The almond flour is high in protein, low in carbohydrates, and has a low glycemic index, while the coconut milk helps the body maintain proper blood sugar levels and adds a great flavor.

This was a cake that came together very quickly, but one where it is necessary to have everything out and pre-measured before you start — a technique known as mise en place, French for “everything in its place.” Think of those TV chefs with the myriand of little bowls of ingredients already set out — that’s what you want. For this, I had my chopped chocolate bars and coconut milk ready in a saucepan before putting it on the heat, two eggs lightly beaten in a small bowl, and a large bowl with the almond flour, sea salt, and baking soda already mixed together.

You begin by making a ganache by melting the dark chocolate into the coconut milk. I used powdered coconut milk, reconstituted into a thicker half cup. Powdered coconut milk is a great option when you may not want to use a whole can of coconut milk, or if you want to quickly add some coconut flavor to a soup, etc. It is also available in low- and no-fat varieties, although to be honest my family stocks up whenever we visit Malaysia so I’m not sure where coconut powder is available stateside. However, the canned milk is generally superior, so that would be my first recommendation! In order to reduce any graininess before melting it with the chocolate, I pushed the semi-dissolved mixture through a fine mesh sieve, which allowed me to have a much smoother milk.

I melted the dark chocolate directly over the stove on medium-low heat (not in a double boiler), so I was very concerned about the mixture burning. What can I say, I like to live dangerously! 😉 Keep a close eye and keep stirring, always making sure to scrape the chocolate melted to the bottom of the pot. The mixture became a ganache without any issues.

After taking it off the heat, begin pouring in the egg. Do this in a steady, slow stream, holding the egg bowl in one hand and mixing quickly and constantly with your spatula in the other hand. This constant mixture is necessary in order to incorporate the egg into the hot chocolate mixture before the egg cooks — the last thing you want is scrambled egg on top of this coconut milk ganache! If you mix this properly, you’ll be rewarded with a smooth, glossy chocolate mixture.

From this point onward it is smooth sailing! Add the chocolate to the almond mixture, pour in to the pan, and top with the white chocolate chips. The cake is not very sweet (almost bitter, with the white chocolate chips adding a welcomed slight sweetness), a bit dense and fudgy, with a delicious slight taste of coconut. It went well with a cup of coffee, or just plain for a snack — between the two guys I gifted it to (one of whom is gluten intolerant), it disappeared very quickly.

Easy Black and White Cake
via Elana’s Pantry — a great resource for gluten-free living

Ingredients

  • 1 cup dark chocolate chips 73% cacao — I used 6 oz of Trader Joe’s 73% chocolate bars
  • ½ cup coconut milk
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 ¼ cups blanched almond flour — I didn’t have blanched
  • ½ teaspoon celtic sea salt — I used normal sea salt
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 cup white chocolate chips

Directions

  • Melt dark chocolate chips and coconut milk in a small saucepan over very low heat
  • When chocolate is completely melted, remove saucepan from heat
  • Stir eggs into saucepan containing chocolate/coconut milk mixture
  • Next, stir in almond flour, salt and baking soda
  • Fold in ½ cup of the white chocolate chips
  • Grease an 8×8 inch baking dish with oil of your choice (I lined mine in parchment paper to make it easier to remove, slice, and gift)
  • Pour batter into baking dish, then sprinkle remaining white chocolate chips over batter
  • Bake at 350° for 20-25 minutes
  • Cool and serve
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