Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Chocolate Cake with Love

I was in the middle writing a post about Omega 3 fatty acids and realized I can write a book on this. Nutrition can seem so complicated but I treat it like a puzzle. It's facinating. Better save it for another day. Today we're talking about chocolate cake.

Yesterday I woke up inspired to make a raw cake. I had visions in my head simliar to what I've seen Chef Meagan create at Living Light. Every time I blinked I saw cake. I wasn't going to let anything get in my way. I packed up my tools and some ingredients and I spent the afternoon at Chef Dara's house, founder of Live, Love, Raw.

I planned on follwing a recipe then decorating it with a piping bag. Once I got to Dara's, I realized I forgot a few things so essentially had to come up with this on my own, but with a few guidelines found in recipe books. Oh, I also forgot my 9" springform pan...doh!

The cake started off with almond flour and data paste. WOW...who doesn't love date paste, seriously?! Date paste is easy to make, just throw in a bunch of unpitted dates into the food processer and add water until your desired consistancy. Kelli and I used to put it on Mana Bread with almond butter...yum!

Ok, back to the recipe (which I didn't write down). So, I mixed the date paste with the almond flour by massaging it with my hands. I added some cinnamon and cacao powder. I divided the dough in two.

I was envisioning a two layer cake. Like date paste, who doesn't love cashew cream?!!! Dara had attempted cashew cheese but I think the little bacteria guys fell asleep the night before because the cheese was not fermented. Nonetheless, I was able to utilize the "cheese" and convert it to a cream. I did this by adding vanilla bean powder, agave nectar, coconut oil and a pinch of salt.

My next layer was thinly sliced strawberries. WOWZA.

I covered the strawberries with a layer of cake and frosted it with a chocolate frosting which was made from cacao, agave and coconut oil and voila! Done!

All and all, I believe I used about 7C of almonds, which was eventually processed into flour, ummmmm...20 dates to create date paste?....1/2 pint of straberries? I should have written this down as I went. Bad Chef!

There was a moment, or two, in which I had no idea what I was doing. Food has a habit of talking to me. Ask a Chef. Dara had a lovely heart shaped fluted pan that I was able to utilize in place of my springform. I layered 1/2 of the cake dough into the bottom of the pan. At this point, Dara had left to pick up her daughter from school. The next hour was spent in serenity. I spread a layer of cashew cream on top. I put the whole thing in the freezer to have the cream set (coconut oil has a melting temperature of 76degrees F). Now, I should had let it sit longer but I had to finish up or I was never going to beat traffic on the way home. I took it out of the freezer only after 20 minutes or so. Actually, I don't even think it was that long. Ok, so try to picture a heart shaped pan half full of dough and cream. How was I layer another dough mixture on top without disturbing the cream and making a mess?...alas, I knew engineering school would pay off eventually lol. I laid the dough out and made a circle, sort of. I placed the heart shaped pan on top of my circle and just removed the edges. I peeled the dough off the bottom of the pan and came out with a beautiful, heart shaped layer of dough. Before placing it on top of the cream, I thinly sliced strawberries created 1 layer on top of the cream. I took the heart shaped layer, placed it on top and filled in the gaps. It was coming to fruition. I removed the sides of the heart shaped pan by pushing up from the bottom. Next came the frosting. Looooots of love frosting the heart cake. I gently frosted the cake on all sides and when I was done I put it back in the freezer. Again, should have let it sit for 2 hours but traffic was already building up on the 405.

Dara came home with a special guest, Richard, about 2 minutes after I put the cake in the freezer. There was a huge mess in her kitchen so I felt the need to display the cake. They both fell in love with the look. The question did it taste?! Well, Richard had two pieces, Dara and I each had one. My mind was just processing so fast while I was eating this. It was like the Matrix where you just see 0's and 1's flashing on the screen. I was just not happy with it. Then again, I'm rarely happy with any dish I make. Why is that? Perhaps I should stop being too critical. I know my taste buds are drastically different than the average american.

I took the remaining cake home and FINALLY got to freeze it for over an hour. Kelli ate a piece, then ate another and another. I didn't get why she loved it so much and I hadn't so I decided to try a piece after it had set in the freezer. WOWZA it was goooooood! tonight I had another 3 pieces lol.

My sequencing is a little off here but let's revert back to Richard eating the cake. He asked me how much saturated fat and cholesterol was in that piece he was eating. Again, 0's and 1's flashing through my mind. The answer has yet to be determined but I can approximate it. Cholesterol = 0! Cholesterol is only formed in animals. It is not found in plant based foods. Saturated Fat = about 6g.

How did I come up with that? Well, 1C of raw almonds contains about 5g sat fat. I used about 7C worth. The cake can easily be divided into about 16-20 pieces. Therefore, 7*5=35g and 35/16 = 2.2g. I only used 1/4C of coconut oil. That contains about 47g sat fat. That sounds like a lot but I'll explain the whole Fat issue in a later post. given that logic, add in another 3g sat fat per slice. Maybe 1g for the cashew cream, so all in all, we're talking about 6g sat fat per slice. I believe the recommended daily allowance is about 20g. Each slice also contained about 14g protein. There was a ton of sugar in each slice too!...the dates alone contribute about 20g per slice, then factor in the perhaps 25g sugar per slice.

Here are some pics! Enjoy!

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