Saturday, April 17, 2010

Black Forest Cake

Years ago, I thought fat was the root of all evil. Well, the root of all my excess weight, anyway. Back then, everything I ate had to be low-fat or fat-free, regardless of the actual nutrition content. Now I know better and eat a much more nutrient-dense diet, but I still have my copy of Fat Free Baking by Sandra Woodruff. There's a yummy Black Forest cake recipe in there I used to bake, only it calls for flour (which I can't have now because of the gluten), quite a bit of sugar, and chocolate syrup. Since I recently received a request for Black Forest cake, I decided to try tweaking this recipe so it's more compliant with my dietary standards.

I replaced the cup of unbleached flour with a 15 oz can of salt-free black beans, rinsed and drained. I also made my own chocolate syrup since the stuff on the supermarket shelves is full of ingredients I'd rather not consume, and I substituted maple syrup (the good stuff) for the sugar in the cake. I still used sugar in the meringue topping because egg whites likes things a certain way and can be a bit temperamental.

This nifty piece of bakeware is a tiara pan. The center of the pan bottom is raised so that when the cake is inverted, there's a handy crater to fill with yummy stuff, which is ideal for making a cake like this.

Homemade chocolate syrup:
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1/2 cup sugar (yes, it does have sugar in it)
1/2 cup coffee
1/2 tsp vanilla

Mix together until smooth. This recipe makes about a cup, and the syrup will be pretty thin.

15 oz can salt-free black beans, rinsed and drained
1/2 cup oat flour
3/4 cup maple syrup
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/4 cup chocolate syrup (see recipe above)
1 1/2 tsp white vinegar

Preheat oven to 350, and spray flan or tiara pan with nonstick cooking spray.

In a blender/food processor, puree the black beans with the maple syrup, vanilla, chocolate syrup, vinegar, and water.

Mix together the oat flour, cocoa powder, and baking soda until combined, then add it to the wet ingredients. Mix well and pour into prepared pan. Bake about 25 minutes, until the center is set.

Allow the cake to cool completely before filling the top.

20 oz cherry pie filling.

I have tried numerous times to make decent cherry pie filling, and the results ranged from mediocre to appalling. So, I let somebody else make that for me. I found this at Whole Foods:

It tastes pretty good and doesn't have any artificial colors or flavors, but there was more sauce than fruit. I'm very picky.

The cherries do a fine job filling up the crater in the middle.

Meringue Topping:
2 egg whites (about 1/3 cup), room temperature
1/8 tsp cream of tartar
4 TBSP sugar
1 tsp pure vanilla/almond extract

Make sure mixing bowl, whisk, and all other utensils are completely grease free!

Beat egg whites and cream of tartar until soft peaks form. While still beating, slowly add the sugar and extract of choice. Continue beating until stiff peaks form.

Pipe or spoon the meringue in a ring around the outer edge of the cherry filling. Place the cake in a 400 degree oven for 3-5 minutes, or until the meringue is lightly browned.

Cool and serve. Keep any leftovers refrigerated.

Now, texture-wise, this cake will be denser due to the black beans replacing the flour. Plus, if you dump it out of the pan too early (like I did) the middle may sink, then the added weight of the cherries could cause it to settle even more. If this happens, just say that's how it's supposed to be. As far as taste goes, honestly, the cake was a little bland. I was really wanting to taste the chocolate more. This one may require further experimentation.

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