Healthy Chocolate Ginger Cake

Gluten-free, high in fibre, low in granulated sugar and 100% plant based, this healthy yet decadent chocolate ginger cake is made with raw ingredients. If you like ginger, I recommend adding it to your chocolate bakes. It’s such a delightful combo! The grated ginger root with a hint of orange zest cuts through the chocolate and lends a fresh, peppery tingling taste.

Gluten-free flours and sweet potato

To keep it gluten-free (at the request of a friend), I used white teff and whole rice flours. With gluten-free baking, you get better results by using a combination of flours than just one. I also added half a cup of sweet potato flesh to enhance the texture and flavour of the cake. Of course, sweet potato has no gluten. Adding sweet potato is just a matter of putting one potato in the microwave for 5-6 minutes and scooping out the flesh. It’s that easy.

Teff flour is a whole cereal flour that is Native to Ethiopia and the surrounding African region. Teff comes from small grains that look like poppy seeds and are ground into flour. Packed with protein, fibre, calcium, iron, minerals and vitamins, teff flour is very good for you. It can promote healthy blood vessels and reduce the risk of heart disease. It also has a low glycemic index, making it beneficial for people who need to manage their blood sugar levels.

The fine whole brown rice flour and sweet potato flesh also have great nutritional profiles. Both are rich in fibre, minerals, vitamins and contain no unhealthy fats.

Sweet potato is a starchy root vegetable that is particularly high in Vitamins A, C and B6, Manganese and Potassium. It is the main staple in the traditional Okinawan diet—a region in Japan where people age gracefully and live long lives.

Psyllium husk

I also added some psyllium husk powder—the main ingredient in the medication “Metamucil” used to treat constipation. I know what you are thinking, but this stuff works with gluten-free baking!

Gluten-free cakes and breads often lack body and structure and can turn crumbly. Adding psyllium husk acts as a gluten replacer and a binder. It’s also high in fibre, making it a win-win ingredient. I used two teaspoons of extra fine psyllium husk powder that is specific for baking.

Sugar, vegan eggs and the “good” chocolate

Moist, tender and with great texture, the cake is low in granulated sugar (1/2 cup of coconut sugar) and naturally sweetened with pure apple sauce. The apple sauce combined with the psyllium husk not only adds moistness and sweetness, but also replaces two eggs and keeps the recipe plant-based.

As for the chocolate, I used 100% cacao powder. Dark chocolate, including pure cacao powder contain flavonoids, which are the same antioxidant compounds found in fruits, vegetables and whole grains. These compounds can help reduce inflammation and improve blood flow to your brain and heart. They also help lower blood pressure, LDL (bad) cholesterol and blood sugar levels. Dark chocolate and pure cacao powder are rich in fibre and minerals, such as magnesium, potassium, calcium and iron. I recommend using 100% cacao powder.

Cashew butter

Better and healthier than dairy butter, I used cashew butter made with 100% raw cashews. Packed with vitamins, minerals and antioxidant, raw cashews also contain omega-3 fatty acids and other heart-healthy fats. Cashew butter or purée can be found in grocery stores with all the other nut butters, such as peanut butter or almond butter. Choose one that is made with cashews only.

Counting calories (or not)

When you aim to consume healthy foods and make healthy lifestyle choices, there is no need to calculate calories. Counting calories isn’t an exact science but knowing the nutritional value of the foods that you eat is.

Counting calories may be necessary if you have a medical condition that requires strict input and output monitoring. However, if you don’t have a medical condition, then there is no need to constantly crunch the numbers.

Being fixated on the numbers can cause a disconnect between the foods that you eat, your body cues and your hunger. It can also lead to eating disorders and unhappiness. I have never counted calories and you will never see a caloric table in this website. Instead, I exercise regularly and aim to eat balanced and nutritious meals.

Simple to make, the cake can be enjoyed as is or dusted with icing sugar, frosted or served with ice cream of choice. To make it special, I decided to frost it with a stabilized whipped cream and top it off with fresh strawberries. It was delicious!

Enjoy!

Healthy Chocolate Ginger Cake

One loaf pan 27cmX8cm (10″X3″) – stick free, greased or lined with parchment paper.

Serves 6-8 (or more)

Oven: 180°C / 350°F

Dry Ingredients

  • 1 cup (125 gr) white teff flour
  • 1/2 cup (70 gr) fine whole rice flour
  • 1/2 cup coconut sugar
  • 3/4 cup 100% cacao powder
  • 2 teaspoons (tsp) psyllium husk, extra fine powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt

Wet Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup cooked sweet potato flesh, mashed* (see note)
  • 1/2 cup cashew butter, a creamy smooth kind
  • 1 cup nut milk (almond or cashew) no sugars added, and at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup apple sauce, pure and unsweetened
  • 2 full tablespoons (tbsp) ginger root, finely grated
  • 1/2 to1 tbsp orange zest, finely grated
  • 2 tbsps warm water
  • Note:  Wash one medium-size ( 230-250 gr.) sweet potato and pierce a few holes or small slits on each side with a fork or point of a small knife. Cook the potato in the microwave for 5-6 minutes on high until tender (a small knife should slide through without resistance). Slice the cooked potato in two parts and let it cool. With a spoon, scoop out the flesh, discard the peel and measure 1/2 cup sweet potato flesh. Store any leftover flesh in a container in fridge. 

Procedure

Prepare and measure all ingredients.

  1. In a medium bowl hand whisk all of the dry ingredients until combined and set aside. 

2. In a big bowl, add the sweet potato flesh and mash with fork. Add the cashew butter and roughly combine with a fork. Set this aside.

3. Heat up the nut milk in microwave, just enough to warm it up to room temperature, and pour it into the sweet potato & cashew butter mixture. Hand whisk to completely combine. 

4. Add the apple sauce, grated ginger and orange zest and hand whisk again until you get a creamy fluid batter. 

5. Transfer the wet mixture into the dry and beat with electric beaters for a minute until smooth. Add two tablespoons of warm water to increase smoothness and lightly mix that in. Let the batter rest on countertop for at least 10 minutes for the psyllium powder to set in.

6. Pour the batter into a loaf pan (stick-free, greased or lined with parchment) and spread it so that it is even.

7. Bake on middle rack in preheated oven for 30-35 minutes. 

8. Allow to cool on a rack. After 15 minutes of cooling, loosen the edges with a flat knife. When completely cool, reverse cake on a platter.

Stabilized Cream Frosting

This stabilized cream frosting holds well. You can frost your cake and store leftover cake as is with a big bowl turned over it in the refrigerator for several days. The frosting won’t get runny.

If you want to serve the whipping cream separately and add it to individual servings, then there is no need to stabilize it and you can omit adding the cream stabilizer.

Ingredients

  • 250 ml (1 cup) refrigerated whole whipping cream of choice (dairy or full coconut cream)
  • 2-4 tablespoons of white powdered sugar (add more or less according to taste)
  • 1 tsp of vanilla
  • Cream stabilizer (for example: one 4-gr. packet Agar-Agar powder or one 10-gr. packet Dr. Oetker Whip-It powder)

Procedure

Place the bowl and beaters in the refrigerator to chill for 15-30 minutes.

If using coconut cream, make sure it is 100% coconut cream. Also, the container should chill in the refrigerator for 8 hours. If using the type of coconut cream that separates, then scoop out 250 ml or 1 cup of the thick part of the cream that may raise to the top. Do not use the liquid coconut milk.

If using Dr. Oetker powder:

Transfer your chilled cream into the chilled bowl and whip/beat it for a minute on low gradually increasing to medium-high speed. Add the sugar and vanilla. Keep beating. When it starts to thicken and foam, add the Dr. Oetker powder and continue beating/whipping until firm soft peaks form. Don’t over beat to avoid it turning into butter. 

If using Agar-agar powder:

With Agar-agar, you need to proof it first. In a small bowl, mix the 4 gr. packet of Agar-agar powder with 21/2 tablespoons of room temperature water. Mix to dissolve and a gel will form (see below). Set this aside on counter top and proceed to making the cream.

Pour the chilled cream into the chilled bowl and whip/beat it on low gradually increasing to medium-high speed for a minute or so. Add the sugar and vanilla. Keep beating. When it starts to thicken and foam, stop.

Place the Agar-agar gel in the microwave and heat it on low for 8 seconds only, just enough to warm it up. Take out and give it a quick stir. Then take about 3 tablespoons from the whipping cream that you are making are put that into the Agar-agar mixture and mix this well with a fork to cool it down and make it smooth.  

Pour the Agar-agar mixture into the whipping cream bowl and continue to beat /whip the cream until firm soft peaks form. Don’t over beat to avoid it turning into butter. 

Julie Zimmer

Julie has extensive experience in nursing practice and education in a wide range of fields from intensive/coronary care, to medical-surgical to community and public health. Julie has Bachelor Degrees in Psychology and Nursing, and a Master’s Degree in Community Health Nursing Education. She has taught in faculties of nursing and in various communities in Toronto, Canada and in Geneva, Switzerland, and is a consultant to the International Council of Nurses (ICN). Julie also has years of experience teaching English as a foreign language (EFL) in addition to coordinating an English department in a Swiss private school.

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