Saturday, August 24, 2013

Chocolate & Jam Tea Cake

There isn't much in this world that doesn't pair well with chocolate. I'm a fan of both sweet (Brownies! Cookies! Cakes!) and savoury (Mole! Chili!) applications, and whether they realize it or not, most other people are too. I'm still occasionally bemused when I watch people finding out for the first time that their favourite rich Mexican enchiladas have a sauce laced with melted bittersweet chocolate, or that grandma and mom had always stirred a scoop of cocoa powder into their beef stew or meat sauce. 

Less surprising is the seemingly universal appeal that fruit and chocolate have for each other. Like wine and cheese, the quality and richness of the two flavours, particularly when in a cooked or baked dish, are the basis of how good the final outcome will be. When I found a recipe for a chocolate and jam cake on Simple Bites, I knew that after veganizing and sugar-reducing the batter I would have to re-add some of the decadence with a few pantry staples. Luckily, I had a head start with a bounty of homemade jam sitting on my shelves, which with a touch of mesquite flour and maca powder transformed the loaf into a sweet, spicy and almost exotic masterpiece. I added little pops of bittersweet chocolate chips that semi-melted into the cake too, and finally tossed in a handful of cacao nibs for crunch and a more intensive cocoa flavour. 

By using the less sugary-sweet Vanilla - Peach Jam with Chiles and Spicy Dried Fruit Jam, plus the "spoonable" form of Truvia, the cake wasn't so saccharine that the special ingredients lost their way. Rather, each whiff of the crumb while cutting it, and each little nibble while eating it, had something slightly different from the last - a chameleon if I ever saw one!

Chocolate & Jam Tea Cake

Chocolate & Jam Tea Cake
Serves 10
2 tbsp ground chia seed
½ cup hot water
½ cup non-hydrogenated shortening (or coconut oil), softened
¼ cup brown sugar
1 tbsp Truvia Spoonable
1 tbsp vanilla
1 cup jam (any flavour - I used half Vanilla - Peach Jam with Chiles and half pureed Spicy Dried Fruit Jam)
¾ cup unsweetened almond or coconut milk (the tetra-pak or fresh carton "milk alternative" kind)
1 ½ cups flour
2 tbsp mesquite flour
1 tbsp gelatinized maca powder (don't use raw as it's less digestible - and you want the most benefits for your money!)
2 ½ tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
½ cup cocoa powder
2 tbsp miniature chocolate chips
2 tbsp cacao nibs
    Chocolate & Jam Tea Cake
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F and grease a loaf pan.
  2. Whisk together the chia seed and hot water, set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, cream together shortening, sugar and Truvia.
  4. Beat in chia mixture and vanilla, then stir in jam and almond milk.
  5. Add flours, maca powder, baking powder, salt and cocoa, mixing until just combined.
  6. Fold in the chocolate chips and cacao nibs.
  7. Bake for 55-65 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the centre comes out clean.
  8. Let cool 10-15 minutes in the pan, then turn out onto a rack and cool completely.
Amount Per Serving
Calories: 280.0
Total Fat: 13.4 g
Cholesterol: 0.0 mg
Sodium: 253.2 mg
Total Carbs: 31.9 g
Dietary Fiber: 4.2 g
Protein: 4.4 g