It’s chocolate cake time, although this one counts as semi-healthy owing to the fact that it is a vegan chocolate cake and it contains prunes – so a slice of this definitely counts as one of your five a day in my view. Given my addiction and adoration of chocolate in any form I was amazed to learn (prompted by Dom’s Random Recipes challenge) that there are only two books dedicated entirely to chocolate on my bookshelf. I was so surprised by this, that I felt the need to pop into my local book store to peruse the chocolate section to see exactly how many chocolate books I’m missing out on. There were, as you can imagine, many wonderful chocolate books that I could very easily have immediately added to my collection. Melt: A book of Chocolate by Louise Nason and and Chika Watanabe stood out, as did Eric Lanlard’s Chocolat. Of the two I found at home, the first – ‘Zlota Ksiega Czekolady’ was written entirely in Polish and the second was a fairly recent addition; Rococo Mastering the Art of Chocolate by Chantal Coady of Rococo Chocolates.
Out of the two books, my son picked Rococo as the book to cook from. He also happened to bring home a chocolate book from the school library this week, so we explored the process of making chocolate through both books. In another coincidence, we also caught Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory on television on Sunday. So all in all, it’s been quite a chocolate-filled week.
Having selected the Rococo book, the page we opened (174) depicted a chocolate cake adorned with rose petals (perfect for Valentine’s Day, too) and referred to as being so here on The Telegraph’s website. The cake is called Affinities Cake – possibly due to the affinity between the ingredients – balsamic, vanilla, salt, soda, olive oil and prune juice?
I had to flip back a page to find the recipe and found that I had most of the ingredients to hand, apart from the prune juice. I did have a large bag of dried prunes in the cupboard though, so I whizzed them up with some water to make 400ml of prune liquid. I also used Ndali vanilla powder and a gluten free flour blend, so in fact, my version of this cake ended up being gluten free and vegan. Double brownie points…
Chocolate is a deeply emotional subject. I am obsessed, and I am fortunate enough to be surrounded by several tons of the best chocolate in the world – Chantal Coady
On a more serious note, the introduction to the recipe saddened me a little. The first time Chantal Coady came across this cake was in Grenada, when it had been made for Mott Green, co-founder of the Grenada Chocolate Company. I remember vividly the day that my friend Vanessa Kimbell wrote of Mott’s untimely death – in a tragic accident. Vanessa had spent the week with Mott in Grenada and he profoundly influenced her; so much so, that Vanessa’s personal blog is now dedicated to Mott Green’s memory. By all accounts, he was a truly great man and is missed by all who knew him and worked for him in the business of producing chocolate.
So this post is, like dark chocolate, bitter sweet. It is a deeply seductive cake, though the headnote in the book is now tinged with loss. I hope that Mott’s legacy lives on in Grenada and around the world.
…his greatest legacy will be the super-ethical model of organic chocolate production where the growers and producers are equally paid and where the normal terms of trade are reversed ensuring that it is possible to add all the value at source and bring maximum benefit to the local economy, in this case to the people of Grenada who Mott loved – Chantal Coady
Changes I made –
- I made my own prune juice by whizzing up 100g of prunes with 400ml water
- I used soft light brown sugar
- I used a gluten free flour blend instead of plain flour
- I topped my cake with melted organic dark chocolate and some caramel – the caramel I used is non-vegan but you could leave it out or use a vegan version!!
You can find more chocolate recipes by searching under the category of chocolate on my recipe index.
This post is being linked to Dom’s Random Recipes event, which this month challenged us to select any chocolate-themed recipe book and to make a randomly selected recipe from that book. This month, Dom at Belleau Kitchen has also joined forces with Chocolette, who runs the equally glorious We Should Cocoa event over on her Chocolate Log Blog.
Have you come across any ‘virtuous’ chocolate cake recipes on your travels?