Saturday, January 1, 2011

Healthy With Chocolate Birthday Cake Ideas

Unlike most birthday cake indulgences this one won't make you feel nearly as guilty in the morning. I'm not going to say it's the healthiest thing since sprouted sliced whole grain bread because it does contain sugar-but it contains less than half of what's in most cakes (and not to worry, it's still sweet thanks to the pureed prunes). Truly, it really is WAY healthier than your average birthday cake. For most cakes I can't find more than about 2 healthy "whole food" ingredients (if that!)-this one has triple that!

The Happy Healthy Chocolate Birthday Cake has the following "whole food" ingredients:
Prunes, Whole wheat flour (I use "white" whole wheat flour because it's lighter in texture than regular whole wheat flour but still has all the same nutritional goodness-all the fiber, "germ" with nutrients, etc), Unsweetened cocoa, Organic free-range eggs, Apples, Pecans, Extra virgin coconut oil

I'll admit, sweets (and wine) really are my two biggest vices-but I've found that by spiking my sweets with healthy "whole food" ingredients (such as nuts, fruit, whole grain flours, etc) I can help offset the damage. Plus I always limit myself to just one sweet treat a day (and I'm careful about reading ingredients on foods I buy and not eating hidden sugars all throughout the day). I haven't figured out what to spike my wine with though-maybe I could chase it with some powdered greens.

Anyway, here's our healthy family cake recipe below (if you are serving the cake to kids don't worry about the Bailey's Irish Cream, there isn't enough in 1 serving to make a difference).

3/4 cup water
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon good quality instant espresso
3/4 cup dark chocolate chips (such as Ghirardeli)
30 pitted prunes
3 tablespoons extra virgin coconut oil (such as Barleans) plus more for greasing pans
12 organic, free-range eggs
3 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 1/4 cup white whole wheat flour (such as King Arthur Flour)
1 cup brown sugar
1 tablespoon aluminum-free baking powder
1 cup good quality unsweetened cocoa (such as Ghirardeli)
3 Granny Smith apple, unpeeled, finely chopped
1 cups finely chopped pecans

1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Coat three 9-inch round cake pans with extra virgin coconut oil.
2. Pour the water into a small saucepan and heat over medium-high. Add the instant espresso and chocolate chips stirring to blend all ingredients. When chocolate melts, add the prunes and reduce the heat to low. Gently cook for 1 minute to soften the prunes. Add the oil. Remove saucepan from the heat and set mixture aside to cool.
3. Place the eggs in a blender and process for 1 minute, or until pale yellow and frothy. Add the vanilla extract and chocolate-prune mixture; process for an additional minute, or until prunes are completely pureed.
4. In a medium-sized mixing bowl, mix together the flour, sugar, baking powder and cocoa. Add the egg mixture and stir to combine. Stir in the chopped apples and pecans. Pour the batter into the prepared pans. 5. Bake in the center of the oven for about 25-30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.
6. Remove the torte from the oven, immediately run a knife around the inside rim and set aside to cool. Set cakes on a wire rack and let cool for at least 2 hours before frosting.

Whipped Cream Topping:
1 cup organic grass-fed whipping cream
2 tablespoons white sugar
6 tablespoons Bailey's Irish Cream liqueur

1. Pour the whipping cream into a large mixing bowl. Using an electric mixer, whip the cream until soft peaks begin to form, about 2-3 minutes. Add the sugar and liqueur and beat for several more seconds.

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