I know you’re probably thoroughly confused by now and wonder what the ever-loving fuck possessed me, Baby June, the queen of carbs, to make a LIGHTENED-UP cake. But you’ve got to listen. There is a brief and non-painful story behind this. Hear me out.
See, my aunt—who has enjoyed one of my special cakes in the past—is a bit of a “health” nut (health being a subjective term here) and seems to be lurching a little further down the path of extremism each time we see her. Note that her family has now moved in-state and we have increasingly few excuses to not have food-related gatherings. Or gatherings in general.
|Health nuts may not like baking, but they do love getting baked. source|
And then there is, of course, the fact that her main source of information on anything is Mercola.com.
|That's scientific rigor for you. source|
So naturally I was thrilled when it was decided we would head over to her family’s brand new McMansion for Thanksgiving.
But the mere fact of visiting them wasn’t what trouble me. I wondered—what dessert can I make for a family that doesn’t eat sugar, gluten, dairy, or most other ingredients I normally work with? Not to mention, another relative with diabetes would likely appreciate a low-sugar dessert as well.
I’m still not quite sure, but in the end I decided it would be helpful to buy some sugar-free sugar. See, it’s fairly tricky to make desserts that are naturally low in sugar—you usually end up with a disappointing and far-too-fruity concoction that tastes more like self-hatred than indulgence (people please that’s just my opinion don’t hate me). That is why trekked over to the Whole Foods across the street (again) and bought a little bag of a granulated sugar alcohol otherwise known as erythritol using eight dollars of my own hard-earned (LOL) money.
(You can see I’m addicted to parentheticals.)
While I’m not the most experienced dealing with sugar substitutes, I’ve heard some good things about erythritol. One blogger, Foodie Fiasco, often uses it in her cookies, cakes, and other desserts with much success; surely I would be able to create the same healthifying effect without sacrificing the sweet, sweet flavor of a traditional dessert.
And my god. I got lucky.
|IGNORE THE LITTLE BLOB OF SHIT. PLEASE.|
As a way of testing out the sugar, I whipped up a miniscule batch of my favorite chocolate cake and sliced it up a la one of The Pancake Princess’ brilliant creations, viewable here.
Three times, actually. First time included white whole wheat flour, applesauce, and erythritol, which made for a not-so-tasty cake but one that still blew my mind with the sheer fact that THIS WAS SUGAR-FREE. But how? My taste buds didn’t know what to think.
So I made it again with olive oil instead of applesauce. Still not-so-great. The third time, which you see pictured here, was perfect. I swear. Using all-purpose flour instead of white whole wheat and flavor-neutral pumpkin puree instead of applesauce made all the difference in the world. Sure, it’s not the same as the buttery, rich cake I’m used to, but it was still worthy of a late-night snack or a decadent breakfast no matter what diet you’re on.
Especially with that coconut yogurt (or other nondairy milk-based yogurt) frosting. Slightly tart, creamy, mousse-like. Definitely necessary.
Call me an erythritol convert. Here’s the recipe.
Lightened-up vegan chocolate layer cake for one
Inspired by The Pancake Princess
Cake batter (adapted from my favorite chocolate cake)
48 grams • all-purpose flour • ¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons
50 grams • granulated erythritol • ¼ cup
3 grams • Dutch-processed cocoa powder • 2 teaspoons
1 gram • baking soda • ¼ scant teaspoon
15 grams • pumpkin puree • 1 ½ tablespoons
3 grams • apple cider vinegar • ½ teaspoon
2 grams • vanilla extract • ½ teaspoon
60 grams • cold water • ¼ cup
20 grams • chocolate chips • 2 tablespoons
60 grams • nondairy yogurt • ¼ cup
24 grams • granulated erythritol • 2 tablespoons
5 grams • cocoa powder • 1 tablespoon
Preheat oven (I used a toaster oven) to 350 degrees F. Grease an 8-inch round cake pan and line with parchment (or if you have one, try a 6-inch pan).
In a small bowl, whisk together flour, stevia, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt. Add applesauce, apple cider vinegar, vanilla extract, and water; stir gently to combine, making sure no lumps are remaining.
Pour batter into prepared pan and sprinkle chocolate chips on top of batter. Bake for about 12 to 14 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Let cool in pan for about 10 minutes before transferring to a wire rack.
To make frosting, simply whisk together all ingredients until smooth. Set aside while you prepare cake.
Place cooled cake on a cutting board and slice into six equal pieces. Stack on top of each other, slathering some frosting in between, and frost the top. Sprinkle with powdered sugar. Munch.
|I bumped the table while taking pictures. #whatever|
I know the pictures here aren’t that great, not nearly as perfect as The Pancake Princess’, but you’ve got to trust me on this one: sugar-free cake can actually be great. Even if it falls over and the frosting looks kinda disturbing all piled up on top like so and maybe the cake won’t stand up straight the way you want it to. Not everything worth eating is photogenic, that much I’ve learned.