Welcome to chocolate month on Santé Bon Viveur! Dive with me here into a deliciously indulgent chocolate cake. It’s low-carb, gluten-free, nut-free, and vegetarian, with no added sugar and no artificial sweeteners. But all that virtue doesn’t come at the expense of decadence!
I’ve just lost 2½lbs in weight during a week when I ate 4 good-sized portions of this chocolate cake! You see, you can have your cake and eat it! (well, on some levels anyway 😉).
There’s no flour in this cake at all – not even nut flours like almond flour which I often use. So any concerns for those who suffer from gluten-intolerance or nut-allergy are removed.
The main ingredients are simply eggs, butter, and rich dark chocolate. The result is a beautifully punchy chocolate cake that’s moist and a little fudge-like on the inside. Meanwhile its outside is slightly crispy, reminiscent of a brownie.
Please use good-quality chocolate with at least 70% cocoa. For the cake pictured, I used Green and Black’s. I use 85% cocoa chocolate, as I like to maximise chocolate taste while minimising sugar. But it’s up to your individual preference.
So there’s a modest amount of sugar from the high-cocoa chocolate and this chocolate cake doesn’t claim to be sugar-free. But the higher the cocoa content you go for, the less sugar there will be. And what has become my mainstay natural sugar-substitute – erythritol – is used in place of any added sugar in the cake itself.
You could make the cake entirely sugar-free by using sugar-free chocolate such as Lily’s, which is readily available in the US. Here in the UK, good sugar-free chocolate is less easy to find. But good quality high cocoa dark chocolate that includes sugar still keeps a portion of this cake low-sugar and low-carb.
This chocolate cake is absolutely wonderful just on its own. Or serve it with a little whipped or poured-over cream. Either way, it gives me a warm glow of decadent chocolatey satisfaction! It works equally with tea as a little pick me up in the afternoon, or as a dinner-party dessert.
Well-wrapped in foil and in a tin, this chocolate cake keeps for around two days at cool room temperature. And I’ve even stored left-overs successfully for over a week in the fridge. It does lose a little moistness, but it’s still thoroughly enjoyable.
It can also be frozen for up to 3 months. Before doing so, let the cake cool completely, then wrap it well in clingfilm and tin foil to prevent freezer-burn.
Nutrition: Regular Chocolate Cake vs. Flourless Chocolate Cake
I like to provide what I hope are useful nutrition comparisons to assist in you making informed choices. Made my way, with 85% cocoa chocolate plus erythritol, a slice of cake contains far less sugar than shop-bought cake. And it contains only 7g net carbs. And the chances are it will keep you fuller for much longer than the sugary shop-bought cake, and so stop you from eating so much overall.
|Per 1/10 of a whole cake||Regular Supermarket Chocolate Cake (Waitrose 1 Chocolate Cake) *||Flourless Chocolate Cake made with sugar & 70% cocoa chocolate*||Flourless Chocolate Cake made with 70% cocoa chocolate & no added sugar*||Flourless Chocolate Cake made with 85% cocoa chocolate & no added sugar*|
|Net Carbs (minus polyols, & fibre counted separately)||33g||27g||9g||7g|
* Figures calculated using verified nutritional info on MyFitnessPal
Health Impact of the Main Ingredients
This chocolate cake contains far less sugar than regular recipes. If you’re interested in the detail about specific ingredients, you can read what I’ve written before about the health benefits of eggs. I’ve also written a full post about the health benefits of sugar-substitute erythritol, where to find it, and how to cook with it. And this article summarises some of the science on why butter from cows fed with grass is healthier than from cows fed with grains.
And on butter, a scientific review from 2014 by the University of Reading is interesting. It argues that only thinking of full-fat dairy products in terms of saturated fat content is oversimplistic, and overlooks some potential health benefits. A benefit of consuming full-fat dairy, for instance, is greater intake of fat-soluble vitamin A, which naturally occurs in dairy products. Vitamin A underpins skin and eye health, and can give your immune system a much-needed boost for the winter.
There is also some limited evidence emerging that conjugated linoleic acids (CLA) – a type of fatty acids associated with dairy products – may also be protective for heart health.
Products derived from milk are also rich sources of some essential micronutrients such as calcium, potassium and iodine. For a number of reasons these are more bioavailable from dairy products. That is, they are more likely to be absorbed by the body from dairy than from some other foods.
Finally, you must by now be expecting me to talk about the pros and cons healthwise of eating dark chocolate? Well, there is much to say, and I have a full-post weighing up chocolate and health planned for late February 2018! But in a nutshell, scientific reviews like this one are suggesting potential benefits from high-cocoa chocolate on health in many areas of the body. These include skin and oral health, and the cardiovascular, immune, neurological, lymphatic, endocrine, respiratory and reproductive systems.
Recipe for Flourless Chocolate Cake
Prep Time: 15 mins
Cooking Time: 40 mins
- 125g (½ cup) unsalted grass-fed butter (I use Kerrygold), plus a little extra for greasing
- 300g (2 cups) good-quality dark chocolate (Minimum 70% cocoa solids. Either use chocolate chips, or use chocolate bars broken into pieces).
- 6 large eggs, 4 separated
- 75g (6 tbsp) erythritol brown sugar-substitute e.g. Sukrin Gold (if you can’t find brown erythritol, use granulated instead)
- 2 tbsp espresso coffee, cold (fresh espresso, or made with espresso powder)
- 100g (½ cup) granulated erythritol sugar-substitute e.g. Swerve or Sukrin
1. Preheat your oven to 180°C/Fan 160°C/350ºF/Gas 4. Lightly grease and then line a 23cm/9″ springform cake tin with baking parchment.
2. Put 250g (5/6ths) of the chocolate in a Bain Marie (bowl sitting over a pan of gently simmering water) and stir until melted.
3. Cut the butter into cubes, add to the chocolate, remove from the heat, and leave to melt into the chocolate. Then stir, and set aside to cool a little. Meanwhile, if you’re not using chocolate chips, then roughly chop the remaining chocolate now.
4. In a large bowl, beat 2 whole eggs and 4 egg yolks with the brown erythritol (or if you can’t get this, use white granulated erythritol). Then fold the cold coffee and the chocolate mixture into the eggs.
5. In a separate bowl, whisk the 4 reserved egg whites. Once stiff peaks form, whisk in the granulated erythritol a little at a time until all is incorporated and the mixture is stiff and shiny.
6. Take one tablespoon of the egg white mixture and fold it into the chocolate mixture to loosen it. Then fold in the rest of the egg whites, and finally the remaining chopped chocolate/chocolate chips.
7. Pour the mixture into the prepared cake tin. Bake on a middle shelf for 40 mins, or until the cake has risen but the centre no longer wobbles.
8. Once cooked, leave the chocolate cake to cool in its tin. Do not be alarmed when the middle starts to sink and crack a little. This usually happens with flourless cakes and gives it a pleasing rustic look once cold.
9. Once cool, transfer the chocolate cake from the tin to a serving plate. Eat on its own or with whipped or pouring cream.