The starting point for this low-carb, densely intense, chocolatey celebration cake or, when still warm from the oven and oozing molten chocolate, the perfect after-dinner pudding cake, was a Waitrose recipe for chocolate ‘cloud’ cake that I recently espied in their free ‘Weekend’ newspaper.
Since my 26th wedding anniversary was imminent, it seemed like the perfect opportunity to show my appreciation for twenty-eight years of togetherness with my beloved John by baking him a cake. He needed cheering-up. Last bank holiday weekend, whilst washing up (dangerous man’s work!) a 10” heavy chopping knife fell off the draining board onto his bare foot and cut his big toe right down to the bone. A visit to A&E was pretty much pointless. By the time we’d got John back home he was bleeding just as profusely as when we’d first arrived at hospital. Nearly three weeks later, his toe is still giving him flak and he can’t walk far or wear shoes. At times like these, a spoonful of sugar - or at least sweet-tasting food - can help.
For the keto-adapted, it’s not so much the craving for sweetness per se that persuades us to indulge but rather that someone lovingly baking a cake in your honour can become the ultimate in spirit-lifting, comfort food. My job is to ensure that the sweet treats that we enjoy from time to time are made from ingredients that do the least harm.
Ideally on a keto diet you’d knock all sweeteners, including sugar-free, zero calorie ‘pretenders’ on the head. However, “when life gives you lemons…” or you simply want to go with the flow and celebrate life with decadent desserts and cake like ‘normal’ people do, dissing the grains and choosing a sweetener that mimics the taste of sugar - erythritol is one of the better ones - is the way to sustain you on your low-carb journey. Honestly, does Chocolate Mousse Cake look like diet food to you?
Everyone agrees, it’s depressing to go without food you love. So, without wishing to pander to an unbridled enthusiasm for cake, pastries, ice cream and biscuits, I think it’s a good idea to feed your desire as long as it doesn’t mean eating high-carb treats made with grains and sugar that make you pack on the pounds. Admittedly, it is socially inconvenient to reject the herd mentality that relies on factory-made, ultra processed junk food but in my view, cooking healthy treats for yourself is the most workable way of getting to your perfect weight and then staying there. Just imagine yourself healthy, happy and full of energy every day and steadily losing weight without having to count calories or deny yourself. Primal Plate recipes will make that possible.
Right on cue for Father’s Day, Chocolate Mousse Cake With Raspberries & Cream is a special treat that will remind Dad just how much you appreciate all that he does. There’s no better way to show you care for yourself and others than to take the time to cook and bake edible gifts. Besides, Dad has too many ties already!
Chocolate Mousse Cake With Raspberries & Cream (serves 10)
125g organic unsalted butter, plus extra for greasing
25ml organic, freshly brewed ‘espresso’ coffee or alternatively, 1 tbsp organic, instant coffee
1 tsp organic coffee extract
1 tsp organic vanilla extract
3 tbsp organic raw cacao powder, sifted
6 organic medium eggs
200g non-GMO erythritol, powdered
For the cake topping
170ml organic double cream
1tsp organic vanilla extract
1 tbsp non-GMO erythritol, powdered and sifted
175g organic fresh raspberries (if you can get them, organic raspberries are less expensive from Tesco or Sainsburys)
Preheat the oven to 180℃ (160℃ fan oven) / 350℉ / Gas mark 4
Lightly grease then line the base and sides of a 25cm (8 inch) round cake tin - preferably springform or loose bottomed - with non-stick baking parchment.
Make a ‘shot’ of strong espresso coffee - N.B. ignore this step if you’re using instant coffee.
Place the chocolate, butter, espresso coffee (or 1 tbsp instant coffee granules) vanilla and coffee extracts into a glass heatproof bowl and set it over a pan of gently steaming water. Keep the heat under the pan low and do not let the base of the bowl come into contact with the water. Stir the mixture from time to time until melted then take off the heat and set aside.
Meanwhile, separate the eggs into two large mixing bowls. Whisk the whites into soft peaks.
Leave the whisked whites on one side whilst you whisk together the yolks and erythritol until thick, pale and fluffy - you don’t need to wash the whisk in-between.
Using a metal spoon, stir the melted chocolate in with the egg yolks until evenly combined. Now stir in the cacao powder.
Using a flat-edged spatula or large metal spoon, gently fold half the egg whites into the chocolate mix to loosen, then carefully fold in the other half making sure they’re fully incorporated without knocking the air out of them.
Tip the mixture into the prepared tin and bake for 30 minutes until set but still wobbly in the centre. If you want it firmer in the centre, cook for another 5 minutes.
Cool in the tin for 15 minutes, then remove the sides of the tin and leave to cool completely to room temperature.
When ready to serve, carefully remove the paper and base of the tin and set the cake on a serving plate. Whisk the cream, powdered erythritol and vanilla extract together into soft peaks. Pile into the middle of the cake and top with the raspberries.
To make the cake easier to slice, it is best made a day in advance and then left overnight to firm-up and set in the centre.
If you’re not going to eat all of the cake straightaway, it will keep better if you don’t top the whole cake with raspberries and cream. Just cut it into as many portions as you need before attractively arranging a generous spoonful of cream and small pile of raspberries on top of each individual slice of cake. Alternatively, this wonderful, rich cake still makes the grade when served simply with a dusting of powdered erythritol and a dollop of lightly whipped cream still cold from the fridge.
Erythritol doesn’t impact blood sugar or insulin, as our bodies actually cannot digest it. It’s about 70% as sweet as table sugar. I buy it in granulated form online and turn it into icing sugar using my Vitamix or a hand-held stick blender. You can also buy it as ready-made icing sugar.
In powdered form, it easily blends into the flourless cake mixture and whipped cream topping to ensure that there’s no grittiness from un-dissolved crystals in the finished cake.
Fat 33g Protein 6g Carbohydrate 9g - per serving with raspberries & cream
Fat 33g Protein 5g Carbohydrate 7g - per serving with cream but no raspberries
Fat 23g Protein 5g Carbohydrate 7g - per serving of cake (without topping)