As I have mentioned in a previous post, I have been recently introduced to the world of butterless cake-making, via some photocopies from a borrowed copy of Harry Eastwood's much-blogged Red Velvet Chocolate Heartache. Being a butter and flour hardcore traditionalist (and not much of a vegetable fan), I have been slowly converted to the dark side of vegetable cakemaking, finding that not only you can not taste the veggies contained within, but also being charmed by that most obvious law of physics that Eastwood explains in her book, and which could be summarised thus: Butter when cold=solid. Butter melts while cake is baking, cake cools down, butter becomes solid again. Hence rock cake after a couple of days.
Now these cakes, apart from being pretty yummy, actually stay moist (I could say for a week, but none of the ones I've tried have lasted that long!) for much longer than your usual kind of cake. After my initial success with the Lemon and lavender drizzle cake, the next one I ventured into was the famous titular Chocolate heartache cake. While I've made flourless chocolate creations before, one of my favourites being Allegra McEvedy's Flourless chocolate brownies, I had never made anything flourless AND butterless in my life. Although this cake was nice, it turned out a bit too bitter for my taste, and I'm guessing this was either due to me not weighing my aubergines carefully, or maybe the bitterness levels of the specific aubergines I used were uncommonly high. To play it on the safe side, I would suggest to err on the side of caution, and use rather less than more aubergine if you're in doubt. The cake was moist and chocolatey, but for me couldn't be eaten without being warmed up, and accompanied with some nice vanilla ice-cream. My boyfriend and his sister, however, devoured it in all ways, hot, cold, with or without ice-cream, and couldn't have praised it more. So one not so much for those with a huge sweet tooth, but nevertheless one for chocaholics.
Heartache Chocolate Cake
Source: Red Velvet Chocolate Heartache
- 2 small whole aubergines (weighing roughly 400g)
- 300g 70% dark chocolate, broken into squares
- 50g good-quality cocoa powder
- 60g ground almonds
- 3 medium eggs
- 200g clear honey
- 2 tsp baking powder
- ¼ tsp salt
- 1 tbsp brandy
Preheat the oven to 180°C. Line a 23cm-diameter x 7cm-deep tin with baking parchment and lightly brush the base and sides with a little oil.
Cook the aubergines by puncturing their skins here and there with a skewer, then placing them in a bowl covered with cling film. Microwave on high for 8 minutes until the vegetables are cooked and limp. Discard any water at the bottom. Leave the aubergines to stand in the bowl until they are cool enough to handle.
Next, skin the aubergines with the tip of a knife and purée them in a blender. Once the warm aubergine is puréed and smooth, add the chocolate, which will mingle and melt slowly. Set aside, covered once again in cling film, until all the chocolate has melted.
In a large bowl, whisk up all the other ingredients for a minute until well introduced to each other and slightly bubbly. Fold the melted chocolate and aubergine mixture into the bowl with all the other ingredients.
Pour the mixture into the prepared tin and place it in the bottom of the oven for 30 minutes. Remove the cake from the oven and let it cool in its tin for 15 minutes before turning it out to to a wire rack and peeling off the parchment. Quickly turn it the right way up again and put it on a plate. Decorate with cocoa powder.