With more and more research showing a significant link between sugar consumption and disease (such as heart disease and diabetes, to name only a few), I am encouraged to find new ways of creating healthy treats that are free from refined sugars and low in natural sweeteners. I often use small amounts of maple syrup or honey in place of sugar. Fruit can also add sweetness, while helping to maintain moisture in the finished product.
This cake recipe uses only two TBLS of pure maple syrup along with the natural sweetness of pears to help create a cake that is wholesome and delicious. The cream cheese icing is also sweetened with a hint of maple syrup and completes the cake beautifully. You can use honey in place of the maple syrup.
For diabetics, or people who need to avoid high GI sweeteners, birch xylitol (rather than xylitol made from corn) is a great substitute for the maple syrup in both the cake and the icing. I actually use xylitol in the majority of my baking and sweet treats, but find most people aren’t familiar enough with it (or at all) to use it as a main ingredient in my recipes. But please feel free to ask any questions if you are curious! It tastes like sugar, and I have never had anyone able to taste the difference.
Bittersweet Chocolate Hazelnut Cake (Grain Free)
250g whole hazelnuts (about 2 cups)
3 TBLS coconut flour
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp sea salt
1/2 cup good quality cocoa
3 large free-range eggs – lightly beaten
100g butter – melted
75g tinned pear (in juice, not syrup)
1/2 cup reserved pear juice
1 tsp vanilla
2 TBLS pure maple syrup (or honey)
preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsius & grease and line a 22cm cake tin
- Place hazelnuts into a food processor and pulse until a fine meal. Add coconut flour, baking soda, sea salt and cocoa and pulse to combine.
- Add eggs, melted butter, tinned pear, pear juice, vanilla and maple syrup and pulse to combine. Scrape down the sides and continue to process for another 30-45 seconds.
- Pour cake batter into the prepared cake tin and place on the rack in the middle of the preheated oven.
- Bake for 30-35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean.
- Cool for 10 minutes before removing from the tin. Wait until the cake has cooled completely before icing (recipe below).
Cream Cheese Icing
100gms cream cheese
1-2 TBLS pure maple syrup (or honey) – to taste
1 tsp vanilla
- Place all ingredients in a bowl and whisk by hand until smooth (or using a mixer). Leave the cream cheese out to come to room temp to make mixing easier. But I like to do things the hard way. And I am impatient.
- Using a spatula (or the blunt edge of a knife) gently spread the icing evenly over the cake.
- EAT THE CAKE.