Listen to your chocolate cravings; Everyone’s favorite flavor is actually good for you!
Chocolate is one of our most popular treats, and in small amounts (about an ounce and a half of dark chocolate) it may offer health benefits as well. Dark chocolate with a high cocoa content could positively affect blood circulation and blood pressure. Chemicals naturally found in dark chocolate may even keep cholesterol from gathering in blood vessels, reducing the risk of blood clots and clogged arteries. Also, dark chocolate contains antioxidants. Remember that excess consumption of large quantities of any calorie-rich food such as chocolate can cause weight gain and other health problems: Raw chocolate is high in cocoa butter, and manufacturers may add other fats, sugars, and milk as well, all of which increase its caloric content.
For Luca’s first birthday, I wanted to make a crave-worthy cake while keeping it relatively healthy. Chocolate was the obvious choice. Here’s the recipe, for chocolate cake lovers everywhere. For a smaller cake, simple use half of all ingredients.
Enjoy and share!
Ingredients (for large 12-inch cake):
- 3 ounces margarine for greasing cake pan (or baking paper)
- 9 medium-size eggs (room temperature)
- 9 tablespoons all-purpose flour, rounded (or 1 per egg)
- 5 tablespoons light brown sugar or honey
- 1/2 to 1 tablespoon quality unsweetened cocoa powder plus 1 tablespoon extra for dusting cake pan
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 3 ounces dark (70-80% cocoa) chocolate (for cake frosting)
- 1 tablespoon olive oil (for cake frosting)
- 1 to 2 sticks unsalted butter, as desired
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 1 teaspoon cocoa powder
- 1 packet dry chocolate pudding mix
- 1 cup whole milk (instead of the 2 cups of milk or water, according to package instructions)
- 8 oz fresh fruit (mandarins, strawberries, bananas) pealed and sliced (or canned)
- 3 tablespoons strawberry or other fruit marmalade or preserves
- Preheat oven to 350 F. Use margarine to grease two 12-inch round cake pans (or whatever shape you like), use baking paper for the bottom if possible, dust generously with cocoa powder and remove excess.
In a medium-sized bowl, mix well together flour, cocoa and baking powder; set aside.
- In a large bowl, use an electric mixer on speed 6-8 to whip eggs and sugar until light and fluffy (so that the batter sticks to a spoon).*
- Lower the mixer speed to minimum or mix by hand, and add dry mixture one spoonful at a time; mix slowly until very smooth without any lumps.
- Pour the batter into one or two cake pans and smooth the tops. Bake until a toothpick inserted into center comes out clean, approx. 40 to 45 minutes. Cool in pans 15 minutes; run a knife around edge of each pan, and invert cakes onto a wire rack or wooden board with way paper to cool completely. Let cool for few hours or overnight. If you made one cake-cut it horizontally into two halves.
- Make chocolate pudding filling (see instructions below). Sprinkle fruit juice from canned fruit and spread layer of strawberry marmalade on the surface of cake halves to be attached. Spread layer of filling on bottom cake, place fruit on top of filling and add another layer of filling. Place top cake (marmalade side down) gently on top and push lightly to attach both parts. Place in refrigerator for about an hour.
- Melt dark chocolate and olive oil till warm and liquefied, you can add a tablespoon of honey; pour over the top and sides of cooled cake, smooth with knife or spatula and refrigerate till it hardens. Add any decorations on top (if anyone’s wondering, the decorations are marzipan, you can buy it already made or make your own; here’s a simple marzipan recipe from pastrywiz.com ).
*Since the cake filling is a bit heavy, you can make the upper piece a bit lighter: first whip 4 eggs and mix in 4 rounded tablespoons of dry mixture. Pour the batter into the first cake pan. Then whip 5 eggs and mix in remaining dry mixture to make the bottom piece more solid. Pour the batter into the second cake pan. You can also use other recipes for the bottom portion, such as our favorite muffin cake.
- Melt butter and whip until soft and creamy, add honey and cocoa powder and mix well together.
- In medium size pan, combine milk, honey and pudding mix (according to package instructions) and bring to boil while stirring. Remove from heat, keep stirring until cool to prevent lumps.
- Add pudding into butter mix and mix well together, allow to cool for 10 minutes before applying to cake.
- Set canned fruit and marmalade aside for use when ready to add filling.
Enjoy this healthy yumminess!