Valentine’s Day is coming up which could mean a celebration of love with you wanting to cook a delicious treat for your loved one. And if your loved one or you yourself are a gluten free vegetarian, then right on-the-money and earning you muchos brownie points (pardon the pun) will be baking them a delicious aubergine chocolate cake. I’ve tried it (several times) and can assure you they will likely love you with all of their stomach and taste buds as well as all of their heart!
And if the arrival of Valentine’s Day means it reminds you of heartache and makes you want to eat a whole cake by yourself, you can take reassurance from the fact this amazing cake has no added fat (just from the chocolate as the aubergine gives it the silkiness), no additional refined sugar (beyond the chocolate) and helps you towards your 5 a day of fruit and veg! Love yourself and choose to only make yourself healthy versions of cake.
I do believe that this cake is even paleo diet friendly in the more balanced educated versions of paleo such as The Perfect Health Diet if you ensure that the dark chocolate and cocoa powder you buy don’t have refined sugar in them. I’m not sure how raw honey would work but that would make it healthier again.
Healthy cakes have a drawback in that they can be costly to make so please see my post ‘Gluten free cake recipes on a budget’ for advice on how to overcome that.
My favourite aubergine chocolate cake recipe is Heartache Chocolate Cake from Harry Eastwood in her fabulous cookbook ‘Red Velvet & Chocolate Heartache’. I have shared it with you below. The book features tons of yummy vegetable cakes that might sound strange at first but they are superb and much healthier for you than standard cake fodder. Even so, if she does use sugar in a recipe we personally find that we can cut it by another third and it’s plenty sweet enough.
The recipe says it serves 14 equating to about 216 kcal and 10g saturated fat per serving. Well my reaction to that is 14 people who don’t particularly like cake or like small portions I’d say. I would say it serves 8 people who like cake or 3 girls at a pyjama party eating it while concentrated on watching a ‘Bridget Jones’ DVD.
Aubergine chocolate cake ingredients:
- “2 small whole aubergines (weighing roughly 400g)
- 300g best dark chocolate you can find (minimum 70% cocoa solids essential), broken into squares
- 50g good-quality cocoa powder, plus extra for dusting [ME – ensure it is pure cocao powder and not hot chocolate drinking powder which will no doubt have copious amounts of refined sugar]
- 60g ground almonds
- 3 medium free-range eggs [ME – as ‘free range’ doesn’t actually mean as much freedom of movement for every bird as one might imagine, my advice would be to only buy eggs from trusted sources where it is stated on the packaging that the hens romp around woodland or farmland. And steer clear of corn fed / grain fed for the most natural option]
- 200g clear honey [ME – personally I’d buy a good quality one to avoid a high water content]
- 2 tsp baking powder [ME – gluten free of course]
- ¼ teaspoon salt (or some tears, if you have any in the kitchen) [ME – sorry, this is the stuff Harry writes into her recipes. Anyway in our house this would be Pink Himalayan salt from the health food store for extra minerals and not just sodium]
- 1 tablespoon brandy (for moral support) [ME – optional]
Equipment you will need:
- a 23cm-diameter x 7cm-deep loose-bottomed tin [ME – 9” x 2 ¾” and loose bottoms are the very reason if we have cake, it must be healthy!]
- a skewer
- a microwave (see Trust Me Tips, below)
- a blender”
Aubergine chocolate cake method:
- “Preheat the oven to 180°C. Line the tin with baking parchment and lightly brush the base and sides with a little oil.
- Cook the aubergines by puncturing the skins erratically here and there with a skewer, then placing them in a bowl covered with cling film. Microwave on high for 8 minutes until the vegetables are cooked and limp. Discard any water at the bottom. Leave the aubergines to stand in the bowl until they are cool enough to handle.
- Next, skin (I find that the tip of a knife does the job) and purée the aubergines in a blender. Once the warm aubergine is puréed and smooth, add the chocolate, which will mingle and melt slowly. Set aside, covered once again in cling film, until all the chocolate has melted.
- In a large bowl, whisk up all the other ingredients for a minute until well introduced to each other and slightly tipsy (bubbly). Fold the melted chocolate and aubergine mixture into the bowl with all the other ingredients. Don’t be afraid of being a little brutal with the spatula – they will get on and fuse.
- Pour the mixture into the prepared tin and place it in the bottom of the oven for 30 minutes, by which time your kitchen will sing with the smell of hot chocolate.
- Remove the mixture from the oven and let it cool in its tin for 15 minutes before turning on to a wire rack and peeling off the parchment. Quickly turn the right way up again and sit it on a plate to avoid any scars from the rack.
- Sieve a little cocoa powder over the top of the cake before cutting yourself a slice and letting the medicine work its magic.
Trust Me Tips from Harry
If you don’t have a microwave, peel and cube the aubergines and cook them with a tiny splash of water on top of the hob until they are soft and squidgy, taking great care neither to burn them nor to drown them with too much water. Discard the water before blitzing.
Make sure that the aubergine has definitely melted the chocolate – this is not an instance where chunks of chocolate are wanted, I’m afraid. If the aubergine is too cool, simply blitz in the microwave for another 2 minutes before adding the chocolate chunks.
Be very careful to unmould the cake when it is cool rather than warm – it is terribly delicate (just as you are) and could smash easily. A little time to cool down helps make it more robust.
On particularly sad days, this cake will crack on the surface when it’s cooking. Don’t be upset by this – it’s just the heart of the cake breaking too and trying to make you feel less alone.”
A lot of people reviewing Harry’s book on Amazon noted they struggled when peeling the aubergines, but we didn’t have a problem with this at all. Be brave as this cake is so worth it.
Enjoy! I know you will … unless you forgot an ingredient!