Dark Chocolate Cake (without chocolate)

As I mentioned in the introduction to Cous Cous Cake with Fruits, I made that cake in the Icelandic wilderness, far away from civilisation or electricity. On that trip I also made this cake much to the delight of our tourists and helpers. The group of people (all over 50 years old) didn't even know that they were eating a healthy (and vegan) cake, they just scoffed it down, happily and very fast. This cake is egg free, gluten free, lactose free and vegan. It is also the perfect cake if you are sensitive to cocoa but fancy a dark "chocolaty" cake (without the chocolate). The cake would therefore suit breastfeeding mums, pregnant women and children very well (if they are not intolerant to nuts). Note that you can also of course use cocoa powder instead of the carob powder if you prefer. You can buy carob powder in most health food stores.

If you have any leftover of the frosting it makes an excellent smoothie with an extra banana and soy milk.

Although you can assemble the cake in the wilderness you will still need a food processor to blend the nuts and dates beforehand.


The strange and wonderful chocolate free cake

This recipe is:

  • Egg free
  • Gluten free
  • Lactose (dairy) free
  • Vegan

Dark Chocolate Cake (without chocolate)

Makes one cake

Ingredients

The Cake:

  • 85 grams (3¼ oz) pitted dates, soaked in warm water for 20 minutes
  • 80 grams (3 oz) cashew nuts, ground fairly finely
  • 85 grams (3¼ oz) almonds, ground fairly finely
  • 1 large banana, very ripe
  • 1½ heaped tablespoon dark carob powder
  • ¼ teaspoon salt (Himalaya or sea salt)

The Frosting:

  • A couple of tablespoons soaking water from the dates
  • 60 millilitres (2 fluid oz) tahini (sesame paste)
  • 4 tablespoons agave nectar
  • 1½ tablespoon dark carob powder
  • 1 large banana, very ripe
  • A handful coconut flakes for decoration (optional)

Preparation

  1. First prepare the cake.
  2. Soak the 85 grams pitted dates in warm water for 20 minutes and then drain (do not discard the soaking water).
  3. Place the 85 grams almonds and 80 grams cashew nuts in the food processor. Blend for 10-15 seconds. Add the 1½ heaped tablespoon carob powder and ¼ teaspoon salt. Transfer to a large bowl.
  4. Place the dates and the banana in the food processor and mix everything together for 7-10 seconds. You might need to scrape the sides of the bowl. Continue blending for 5 seconds.
  5. Transfer the mixture to a medium bowl, combine everything well together with a large wooden spoon and place in the fridge for one hour.
  6. Meanwhile, prepare the frosting.
  7. In the food processor, place a couple of tablespoons soaking water from the dates, 60 millilitres tahini, 4 tablespoons agave nectar, 1½ tablespoon carob powder and the large banana. Mix everything together for 10 seconds. You might need to scrape the sides of the bowl. Continue blending for 5 seconds. Add more soaking water if necessary, the frosting should not be runny but rather like very thick chocolate sauce. Transfer to a small bowl, place in the fridge and chill for 1 hour (it will stiffen somewhat when chilled).
  8. Now remove the medium bowl from the fridge, pour the ingredients onto a large cake plate/cake stand. Mould the cake into the desired shape (round, square, heart...whatever). The thickness depends on your preference really. I usually make a fairly thin (2 centimetres/0.8 inch) and wide cake although you can make a smaller, thicker one if you prefer.
  9. Once chilled, spread the frosting all over the cake in a thick layer using a spatula.
  10. Decorate with coconut flakes or almond slivers (or fresh fruits).
  11. Serve with whipped soy cream or regular cream.

Tips

  • You can use maple syrup or barley malt syrup (note: contains gluten) instead of the agave nectar.    
  • You can use cocoa powder instead of the carob powder.
  • You can use light (as opposed to dark) carob powder if you prefer.
  • If you have leftovers from the frosting, use it in smoothies or freeze for a delicious non-chocolate milk shake!!