Teacher: If you had 10 chocolate cakes, and someone asked for 3.75 cakes, how many would you have left?
Student: 10 cakes
Teacher: Okay then, imagine if someone forcibly removed 3.75 chocolate cakes from you, then how many would you have?
Student: 10 cakes and a dead body.
It’s said that nine out of ten people like chocolate, and the tenth person lies.
I’ve always wanted to try one of the chocolate barfis from the big silver-tray tiered windows in the Indian shops, but Mum always says “Chocolate barfis are terrible!” (I think she just had a bad experience with them at some point…) and it got me thinking about how many different ways there are that we consume chocolate – in a drink, in ice-cream, fruit smothered in it, the topping for bars and slices and the easiest and probably ‘favouritest’ block or bar.
Chocolate cakes were probably the first thing I learned to make (with help from my friends Betty Crocker, Greens and White Wings) and it is said that everyone should have a good chocolate cake recipe in their repertoire.
But now, like with phones and computers, there are so many different new modern types!
I’ve heard of chocolate mayonnaise cake (apparently this gives a rich and dark texture and not a taste of mayonnaise), chocolate cake with beetroot (how healthy is that?!), chocolate cake with oatmeal, chocolate chilli cakes, and even weird extremes like vegan chocolate avocado cake (not sure about that last one…).
Here are some recipes that our family loves.
Chocolate Mug Cake is a ‘lazy’ dessert – easy, simple and quick to make, fun to eat on a cold night as you sit around in your PJs watching TV. (The recipe provided here serves one person only: you’ll find, as I did, when you make this more frequently, that everybody will want their own mug, so beware).
The Chocolate Beetroot Cake has little flour and butter (the Chickpea Cake none at all), so you can convince yourself that it is a healthy alternative! This cake comes out fudgy and a looking bit under-cooked, but the taste is light and moorish.
Chocolate Mug Cake
- 4 tbsp flour
- 2 tbsp sugar
- 2 tbsp cocoa
- 1 small egg
- About 3 tbsp milk
- 3 tbsp butter or margarine melted, or vegetable oil.
- ½ tsp vanilla extract
- 1 tbsp choc chips
- 1 large mug
Mix the dry ingredients together in a mug
Crack an egg and add it to the mug. Be sure to mix it well to avoid pockets of flour in the corners. Pour in the milk, melted butter/oil and vanilla extract and mix well.
Pop your mug into the microwave for about 2-3 minutes on maximum power, depending on your type of microwave. You’ll know when it’s done when the cake stops rising and sets in the mug.
Run a knife around the sides of the mug, and tip the warm cake out of the mug and onto a saucer.
Chocolate Chickpea Cake
- 2 tbsp cocoa powder
- 2/3 cup chopped dark cooking chocolate
- 1 x 375g can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
- 4 large eggs
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp salt
Preheat oven to 180 degrees. Grease and line cake pan
Melt the chocolate, either in the microwave (remember to stir between intervals) or over the stove.
Puree chickpeas, eggs and vanilla until smooth. Add sugar, baking powder and salt and blend to combine.
Add melted chocolate and blend to combine, scraping down sides of bowl well as necessary. The batter will be thick. Transfer into prepared pan and bake until knife inserted in centre comes out clean, about 1 hour depending on the strength of your oven.
Allow cake to cool for 15 minutes on wire cooling rack. Dust with icing sugar just before serving.
Chocolate Beetroot Cake
This cake comes out really rich and moist and you’d never guess it was low fat, but there is no butter and almost no flour. Definitely use the best quality chocolate you can buy.
- 250g good-quality dark chocolate
- 250g raw beetroot, peeled and finely grated
- 250g light brown sugar
- 40g self-raising flour
- 40g plain flour
- 3 eggs
- 2 tbsp maple syrup
- 2 tbsp honey
- ¼ tsp bicarbonate of soda
- ¼ tsp salt
- 1 tsp vanilla essence
- 25g cocoa powder
- 50g ground almonds
- 100ml strong black coffee
- 30ml vegetable oil
- 150g good-quality dark chocolate
- 3 tbsp strong black coffee
- 1 tsp vanilla essence
- 3 tbsp clear honey
Preheat oven to 180 degrees.
Melt the chocolate over a pan of simmering water, then let cool.
In a large mixing bowl, beat the eggs with the sugar, vanilla, maple syrup and honey for three minutes with an electric hand till fluffy.
Add in the flours, bicarbonate of soda, salt, cocoa and ground almonds.
Remove moisture from the grated beetroot with some kitchen paper. Add in the beetroot, cooled chocolate, coffee and oil and mix together.
Pour the mixture into a greased round cake tin and cook in the middle of the oven for 1 hour 30 minutes. After this time, cover the cake with foil and bake for another 30 minutes.
To make the topping, melt the chocolate in a bowl over a pan of simmering water, then remove from the heat and add the coffee and the vanilla essence.
Set aside to cool for 15 minutes before icing the cake. Cut the cake through the middle and ice it in the centre and on all sides.
For an extra punch, add pomegranate or raspberries for the topping.