Thursday, September 26, 2013

Fruity Ricotta Chocolate Cake

I'll let you in on a secret - I hate mixing fruit and "other flavours". To me, I'm totally good with an apple, peach, plum or orange all on its own, mixed berries or chopped pineapple in a bowl and even scooping mango or kiwi out of its skin. But unless it's a piece of my mom's apple pie or squares or a warm slab of banana bread, I generally avoid adding things to it (and don't get me started on fruit salad! That one's a texture thing). Food combining aficionados love me.

Blackberry Ricotta Cocoa CakeThat said, my mom and grandma love mixing fruit with stuff, especially chocolate. My mom's favourite stocking stuffer is a Dark Terry's Chocolate Orange, and my grandma's weakness is chocolate-dipped berries and cocoa-banana smoothies. The stylists I bring treats to every time I go for a haircut like anything chocolate, so I always know where to look for inspiration!

A while back I made a good deal of creamy Richer Ricotta after buying a few cartons of half & half on sale on a whim. Around the same time, I came into a basket of mixed blackberries and raspberries which I originally was going to put in a pie... until Mom started mixing a handful of them and a scoop of ricotta with her yoghurt pudding at night. For some reason, that became a "lightbulb" moment for me, and I immediately zipped over onto Pinterest where I knew I had saved a chocolate and berry cake made with ricotta cheese.

A brief scan of Playful Cooking's recipe and a few tweaks later (namely adding whole grains, using Pure Via Granular Stevia for half the sugar and making my version an eggless one), a decadent mixture of ingredients found their way into the oven. While it was baking away, I whipped up some Chocolate Sweet Potato Frosting and let it chill while the cake cooled.

Decadent Chocolate Ricotta Cake

Even without frosting, I could tell this cake was going to be a big hit - it was tender and moist without being soggy or dense, had a finely textured crumb speckled with berries and a present but not dominant sweetness. I was surprised that it was tempting even me, given that not only was it a fruity "quad-fecta" (banana, applesauce, blackberries and raspberries) but it was a fruit medley with chocolate and "other stuff"). My mom swiped my trimmings as I was frosting and cutting the cake and declared I was playing favourites by giving it to the girls at the salon and not her!

Fruity Ricotta Chocolate Cake
Makes one 10" springform pan, 16 slices
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup spelt flour
3/4 cup cocoa powder (I used dark cocoa powder)
1 tbsp baking powder
½ tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
¾ cup canola oil
½ cup unsweetened applesauce
1 cup sugar
1 cup Pure Via Granular Stevia
2 large bananas, mashed
1 1/2 cup full fat ricotta (ideally homemade)
1/3 cup plain nonfat Greek yoghurt
1/3 cup warm coffee
1 cup fresh or frozen berries (I used local blackberries and raspberries)
  1. Preheat oven to 350F and grease a 10" springform pan.
  2. Whisk the flours, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a bowl and set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, mash the bananas until smooth.
  4. Beat in the oil, applesauce, sugar, PureVia, ricotta and yoghurt until well combined.
  5. Add half the flour, blending well, then all the coffee and the remaining flour.
  6. Fold in the berries.
  7. Bake for about 1 hour, tenting with foil after 30 minutes.
Amount Per Serving
Calories: 353.6
Total Fat: 18.2 g
Cholesterol: 21.7 mg
Sodium: 127.7 mg
Total Carbs: 44.3 g
Dietary Fiber: 2.4 g
Protein: 5.3 g