A Dairy Free Flourless Chocolate Cake

It’s been a while since I last posted a recipe here. Currently, it’s quite a mess. I have recipes scribbled on papers, stored in my notepad, emails, bookmarked in my computer and there are those which are still sitting in my handphone messages. I have them all over the place! I realised that this is about the most organized space I have for my recipes!

Anyway I surprised my boys with a flourless chocolate cake for Valentine’s Day. My husband loves it and I think it was the healthiest chocolate cake I’ve baked so far.

I stole the recipe from my sister. It was actually a recipe taken from Jamie Oliver’s site but she had cleverly tweaked it so that my nephew who is allergic to dairy products could eat it. She substituted the butter with coconut oil and the cake turned out to be not just flourless but dairy free.

And oh, don’t we love coconut oil these days, the once demonized oil which contains saturated fat. I tried to use coconut oil in my cooking but never got used to the roasted or nutty smell. These days, I am happy to use it in my baking. I used it for our homemade granola and we love it.

To serve this cake, a dusting of chocolate powder and some berries would suffice but because it was for a fancy occasion, I did a little more to decorate the cake.

I had wanted to frost the cake with chocolate ganache but thought that the heavy cream or butter used would ruin this healthy cake. I used greek yogurt instead.

200g of dark chocolate was melted and a few scoops of yogurt were added. The final consistency wasn’t quite right because I think yogurt doesn’t have enough fat to make it smooth and glossy. I had a little problem coating the cake but I thought I could live with an imperfect looking cake.

I tried to cover up the imperfection with some of my boys’ favourite. Godiva chocolates, crackers, more berries and a sprinkle of crushed nuts. Basically, you can decorate it with whatever you want!

Here’s the recipe

Recipe for Dairy Free Flourless Chocolate Cake

Ingredient
150 g organic unrefined coconut oil
200 g organic dark chocolate (70%)
1 tablespoon strong coffee
6 large eggs
150 g organic brown sugar
70 g organic cocoa powder, plus extra for dusting (optional)

Method
1. Preheat the oven to 160ÂșC. Grease a 20cm round cake tin and line the bottom with parchment paper.
2. Rest a medium heatproof bowl over a pan of simmering water on a medium-low heat. Break in the chocolate
3. Add the coconut oil then allow to melt, stirring occasionally until smooth and glossy.
4. Carefully remove the bowl from the heat, stir in the coffee and set aside to cool slightly.
5. Separate the egg yolks and whites between two large bowls. Whisk the egg whites for 1 to 2 minutes, or until soft peaks form.
6. Add the sugar to the yolks and beat until pale. Sift in the cocoa powder and 1 pinch of sea salt, then gently fold through to combine.
7. Stir in the melted chocolate mixture, then gently fold through the egg whites until smooth.
8. Transfer to the prepared tin and place in the hot oven for around 1 hour, or until an inserted skewer comes out clean.
9. Allow to cool completely on a wire cooling rack, decorate with your favourites then serve.

Have fun!

 
 

Growing The Roots Of Tradition And Custom

It’s the 7th day of Chinese New Year (CNY). The Chinese called it Renri and it is said to be everyone’s birthday. It is the day for Yusheng (Prosperity Toss) and Tang Yuan (Dumplings).

I used to chide at my mom for kicking up a big fuss over Chinese New Year, only to find myself just as anal as her when it comes to preparing for this occasion. Why? So that it feels like Chinese New Year.

There probably isn’t any logical or scientific explanation for the many things we do during CNY such as the incessant cleaning and obsession of having new things. New clothes, new shoes, new bedsheets etc.

Reading through my old CNY posts reminded me that I struggled with some sort of identity crisis every year during this time. Yes, I believe that a troubled and confused mind is the reason behind these posts, much like troubled times create poets.

By now, I should have written everything I wanted to say about Chinese New Year.

Or maybe not.

This year, I relearned some of these old lessons, which reminded me that I should just make it a point to read through some of these posts every year!

It struck me again that there isn’t such thing as advance spring cleaning. An earlier start just leads to a longer torment. Things start to get dusty again after 1 week. There is always more things to clean! The grout in your kitchen tiles and the metal parts around the house that were screaming out for Brasso!

Each year, apart from all the incessant cleaning, I couldn’t resist making something.

It wasn’t due to a lack of choice when it comes to pineapple tarts or Kueh Lapis, unlike when we were living overseas. I learned that rational and logical thinking can’t win the deep roots of customs and traditions our mothers, grandmothers and great grandmothers growed.

I am lucky to have 2 great chefs in my life, my mother and my mother-in-law. Both of them have very different styles of cooking. I shall call them the Agaration Chef and the Precision Chef.

The Agaration Chef will steam her yam cake every year but can’t tell you exactly how much of each ingredient she used. The Precision Chef knows the exact amount, right down to how many grams of Bee Hoon she needs to feed each person. She keeps an old industrial size weighing machine in her kitchen and she weighs everything.

After many years of nagging, the Agaration Chef finally sees the light, that precise measurement has its place when it comes to cooking certain food. And through the years, the Precision Chef has lost some of her ability to remember precise measurement due to an aging brain.

This year, I made something that were Chinese New Year Signature food from each chef. They were signature because these are the food that make us think of them.

I made Agaration Chef’s Yam Cake and Precision Chef’s Ah Zhar through a mix of agaration, precise measurement and some trial and errors. My boys thought they were the best yam cake and Ah Zhar.

The fact is, every household will probably have their best yam cake, Ah Zhar, pineapple tarts or Kueh Lapis. It is like my boys may think that I am the BEST cook but my nephews may cringe at the food I cooked.

The truth is, I am far from being the best. My boys are biased. They grew up eating what I cooked and have grown accustomed to my cooking. Any other ways of preparing the same food can only come second best.

So even if I can’t make the best Kueh Lapis, it’s ok. My boys will probably grow up thinking that Kueh Lapis should taste a little charred and a little chewy just like Mom’s. That is to them, the Best Kueh Lapis, the kind that they will miss because in the midst of feeding them these food, I have grown the roots, of tradition and custom, things that they will remember and hopefully carry on even long after I am gone.

 
 

Ways To Eat Kale

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By now, you should have heard about the many health benefits of kale. It is high in fiber, iron, minerals, antioxidants, Vitamin A,C, and K. It helps to lower cholesterol, reduce the risk of heart disease, detoxify the body and contain numerous cancer-fighting substances. It’s being called the ‘queen of greens’, ‘a nutritional powerhouse’!

It was not too long ago that I got to know about its existence. It’s not your usual leafy greens that you can order from a Chinese restaurant or find in a Chinese home where stir fry dominates most of the cooking style. Kale originated from Europe and is a member of the cabbage family which includes broccoli, cauliflower and brussels sprouts.

I started using it for my smoothie. Despite being a superfood, I have to admit that I don’t like how it tastes. It almost tastes too green or too raw, if there is even such a thing. I usually have to blend it with some sweeter fruits such as red apples, bananas or pineapples in order to mask the ‘rawness’. And it gives my smoothie an unappetizing colour.

As an adult, I can accept that food that is good for your body doesn’t have to look/taste good. I would diligently drink up a glass of my healthy smoothie every morning, but unfortunately not my kids nor my husband and it almost makes me feel guilty that I am the only one eating all the good stuff!

I read about using it for all sorts of salad. But that doesn’t work for my Chinese boys who eat their spaghetti using chopsticks!

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So a few months ago, I went on a quest to make my boys eat kale. I tried different ways to cook it. Some ideas were from the internet but mostly through trial and error. So far the results have been promising. Apart from using it for making smoothie and salad (which doesn’t work for my boys), here are some other ways I cook it so that my boys will eat!

1. Kale Chips

This was the first thing I tried and it was really simple. All you need to do is, wash the leaves, pat dry, drizzle some olive oil, sprinkle some salt and pepper, bake at 140 degC for about 20 minutes or until the leaves turn crisp. I usually make this for snacks and it is definitely healthier than eating potato chips. We could finish a whole bunch in one go if I cook it this way.

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2. Stir Fry with Garlic and Anchovies

I stir fry it with garlic and anchovies, just like how I usually stir fry my Chinese leafy greens. It still has a bitter after taste but it actually tastes good with enough salt and anchovies! Served with an egg or omelette and brown rice, this makes a healthy after school lunch for the boys.

3. Kale Quiche

It just so happened that I ran out of capsicum for my quiche one day, so I tried substituting it with kale. I chopped up a few leaves and lay them at the bottom of the quiche. The first reaction I got from my boys when they heard that I made kale quiche was YUCKS! But I insisted they try it and they love it and ate up everything!

4. Kale Fried Rice

Their favourite is probably kale fried rice and they have been asking for it these few days. This is really easy to make. Just cook your normal fried rice and add kale at the end of it. Mix it around for a couple of minutes and the fried rice is ready to serve. I like how the kale helps to add some crunch to my fried rice!

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It almost feels unreal that the boys actually eat everything I cook with kale! Surprisingly, there are so many different ways of cooking it that makes it the most versatile vegetable in our fridge.

It is now our family favourite and a regular item in our grocery list. As the boys have been fussy eaters since young, I am so mighty proud that they are eating such a power punch vegetable today!