Wednesday, September 15, 2010
Once upon a time ... in a seaside land known as the Sunshine Coast, there was a little fairy princess called Nelle ... and it was her birthday ... and she got a special cake.
Her mummy wanted to make a yummy but somewhat-healthy cake that would not turn the princess into a sugar-crazed monster. And ended up searching the internet at the last minute for a cake recipe that didn't use eggs ... because there were none at all in the fridge. I mean, the castle.
Anyway, this is what I found. A chocolate cake that used cocoa powder instead of chocolate (thrifty!), didn't use eggs, and seemed highly adaptable. Perfect!
Raw cocoa powder, extra virgin olive oil, beetroot, raw honey and strawberries were some of the little ways I enhanced this cake. And look how it turned out! Happy Birthday to my darling princess.
Somewhat Healthy Birthday Cake
Takes about 20 min to prepare and 1 hr to bake. Much less time required to eat it.
Cake batter loosely adapted from an online recipe
2 2/3 c self-raising unbleached flour*
1/3 c raw cocoa powder
1 c raw honey
1/2 c extra virgin olive oil
1 2/3 c buttermilk or slightly sour milk or regular milk + 1/2 tsp vinegar
1 med beetroot, peeled and shredded
The naturally-pink icing
a couple slices of raw beetroot
300mL creme fraiche
3/4 c caster sugar - try to get the golden variety (less processed)
For the top
a handful of sliced organic strawberries
2-3 squares of dark or milk chocolate, grated
*You can do this with plain unbleached flour, too - just add 1 1/2 tsp bicarb soda + 1/4 tsp salt.
**As always, try to use organic ingredients when you can. Particularly the strawberries, which are a crop known for high chemical use.
NOTE: I've just read back through this and boy, was I wordy. Please don't be put off by the length of the instructions ... it's just me gabbing on. Really this cake was super easy!
1. Preheat the oven to 180C (360 F). Line or grease a 25cm (10") round cake tin and set aside.
2. In a large bowl, sift together all the dry ingredients. Now, normally I'm too lazy for sifting, but I find that my cocoa powder clumps up sometimes, so it's easy just to get out a sieve and shake the 2 dry ingredients through it.
3. In a separate glass bowl or jug, mix together the remaining cake ingredients. I recommend glass because if the honey is too cool it might not mix very easily. So, you can put the glass dish with all its ingredients into the microwave for a few seconds to help you out.
4. Pour the wet mix into the dry mix and stir thoroughly. But try not to overmix! Then pour the batter into your prepared cake tin, put it in the oven, and bake for about 1 hr - until the top is firm and a skewer inserted in the middle of the cake comes out clean.
5. While the cake's in the oven, start on the icing. I used creme fraiche because I happened to have some on-hand. But honestly, I hardly ever do! So, you might use sour cream instead. Or maybe even marscapone? Whichever it is, pour it into a bowl and mix in the caster sugar. Then add your slices of beetroot - this'll make your icing pink (without the use of artificial stuff). Keep the icing in the fridge, and now and then take it out and stir the beetroot around in the creme fraiche, to distribute the colour.
6. When the cake is done, take it out of the oven and set the whole tin on a rack for about 5-10 minutes. Then carefully remove the cake from the tin and cool it completely on the rack. When it's completely cool, carefully use a serrated knife to cut the cake in half.
7. Put the bottom half of the cake onto a platter or plate. Remove the beetroot slices from the icing and stir it around a bit. Then spread a thin layer of icing over the bottom half of the cake ... gently, gently. Then put the top half of the cake on and press down lightly (so the icing squishes out a little bit). Now you can dollop, spread, smooth the icing over the top of the cake. If you have perfectionist tendencies, feel free to make the top absolutely smooth and even. I didn't. I'm more of a practicalist. With word-inventing tendencies.
8. Decorate with sliced strawberries (these really make the cake taste amazing!) and shaved or grated chocolate (I recommend Green & Blacks) and store your cake in the fridge until it's time for candles and wishes and Happy Birthdays ...
And so the little fairy princess and her mum and dad lived happily ever after ...