Thursday, 14 February 2013

Heart-Friendly Valentines Day Cake

It's Valentine's Day! As if you didn't know ; )

So let's talk hearts today. Not chocolate or candy hearts, but real live, beating-in-your-chest kind of hearts.

This may be a huge faux pas.... talking about good nutrition on a baking blog! But in spite of all the cakes, cupcakes and cookies which come out of my oven,  we're actually pretty careful about what we eat in this family. (My husband and I voluntarily, the kids under duress!)

Let me tell you a little bit about the fats we eat:
Our cells needs fats. Our brain is 60% fat. But not all fats are created equal.
    There are good fats (poly and monounsaturated), bad fats (saturated) and ugly ones (trans-fats). The trans-fats are what you really want to be aware of. They are the hydrogenated oils that are found in packaged and processed foods, store bought cakes, cookies, pastries, etc. (Yay for home-made!)

Trans-fats help to extend the shelf-life of foods, but incorporated into your body's cell membranes - they don't help to preserve you! They result in thickened, unhealthy cell membranes - hearts, brains and bodies. Eliminate them from your diet, as far as possible. Eat saturated fats in moderation, and make sure you get in enough of the poly and mono-unsaturated fats.

Okay, have I lost you? You're still there? Well, you've earned a tea's the cake :

It's a heart-friendly (as far as these things can be!)  chocolate cake.

It's contains no flour (diets high in refined carbohydrates result in raised levels of small, dense LDL cholesterol - not good!)
It's packed with anti-oxidants from the dark chocolate and cocoa,  and good monounsaturated fats from the almond flour, with just a little butter.
 Yes, it has eggs in it - but it's a fallacy that eggs give you cholesterol problems. Eggs are high in cholesterol, but they don't actually cause raised cholesterol.
 Sugar of course is an issue, but hey....what would a cake be without sugar? Not really a cake, I guess!

Heart-Friendly Valentines Day Chocolate Cake
recipe by Tea, Cake and Create

300g dark/ bittersweet chocolate, chopped into small pieces
20g butter
1cup brown sugar
6 eggs *
1cup almond meal/ ground almonds
2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tsp Vanilla extract ( I use Vanilla Girl vanilla; 8-10 drops. And that is full of its own health                 benefits. A topic for another day.)

* now might be a good time to mention that I always use free-range eggs.
They make my heart happy : )

No mixer is needed - it's all done by hand. Upper body cardio!

Pre-heat the oven to 160'C. Grease and line 2 x 6-inch cake tins.

Meat the chocolate and butter together in double boiler. Do not let any water come into contact with the chocolate. Stir frequently to make sure the chocolate is completely melted.
Allow it to cool slightly, and whisk smooth.
Add the sugar, stir well.
Add the eggs - whisk in one at a time; then the vanilla.
Sift in the almond meal and cocoa. Whisk.

Pour into the prepared cake tins.

Bake at 160'C for 45-50 minutes, until the centre of the cake is firm.

Cool in the tins, then turn onto a cooling rack.

Sandwich the layers together with blueberry jam (more anti-oxidants!) strawberry jam, whipped cream, ganache, a mix there-of, or any frosting of your choice.
The surface just needs a dusting of icing sugar.

Happy Hearts' Day!


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