Pineapple chocolate cake – Moist Dense Chocolatey

dark moist dense and chocolatey cake

Every health conscious, whole foods loving individual needs a go-to cake that can be whipped up in a short amount of time, is moist and dense and chocolatey and won’t send you into a spiral of guilt and shame for using less then nutritious ingredients. Basically, a cake you can stuff your face and the faces of your family with, in pure joy and delight, knowing all too well, this is also one heck of a nourishing cake. This my friends, is the pineapple chocolate cake.

Now I know, you may be frowning a little at the thought of combining pineapple and chocolate but I’m asking for a little bit of your trust here.

I promise you, this cake is worth your time and effort.

And it’s a good thing it won’t take too much of your time or effort to make, because you may end up baking it quite often. Like I do.

Like I said, it’s one of those go-to cakes.

The great thing about this cake, other then the good-for-you ingredients, is the fact that it is very versatile. My husband is not a fan of very chocolatey cakes so I serve the cake as is, plain, with a few chocolate chips on top like in this picture. But this cake dresses up so nicely with a thick layer of cloudy mocha frosting (my personal favourite) or with some coconut yogurt on the side (my mom’s favourite way of eating the cake). As for my son, well he’ll eat this cake no matter how it’s presented.

On to the goods… the magic of pineapples

I used crushed pineapples in this recipe to give it that moistness without having to use so much oil.

You’ll often see apple sauce or mashed bananas added to cakes or muffins as a way to reduce the overall quantity of oil. Although those are tasty substitutions, which I use in many of my baked goods, I find these fruit purees tend to make the cakes and muffins a tad more dense and chewy. Most times, I don’t mind the change in texture and will gladly take that over a cake or muffin loaded with oil. But I wanted something different for this chocolate cake.

In searching for the right ingredient substitution, I remembered my mom’s carrot cake recipe in which she uses crushed pineapples to cut the oil content of the cake by half. It made for a moist and delicious cake that is still an all-time family favourite to this day.

I figured I’d experiment with crushed pineapple for this cake and see how it turns out.

Magic!

I kid you not, that’s what happened, magic! The cake turned out moist yet still dense, without taking anything away from  the chocolatey flavour. You actually can’t really tell there’s pineapple in there.

And here’s why I’m even more excited about pineapple being a star ingredient in this cake: pineapple is such a healthy fruit and has been eaten for centuries for it’s health benefits.

According to the folks at Organic Facts, the health and medicinal benefits of pineapple include boosting the immune system, improves respiratory and oral health, speeds up wound healing, regulates blood pressure, aids in digestion, strengthen bones, reduces inflammation and helps in treating arthritis, cures coughs and colds, prevents cancer and aids in weight loss. Pineapples are a storehouse of several health benefits due to its wealth of nutrients, vitamins, and minerals, including potassium, copper, manganese, calcium, magnesium, vitamin C, beta-carotene, thiamin, vitamin B6, and folate, and bromelain, as well as soluble and insoluble fiber.

That’s some pretty powerful benefits for such a pretty and spiky tropical fruit.

Like I mentioned previously, you can’t taste the pineapple in this cake at all. The brand of crushed pineapple I used is the house brand form my local grocery store called Selection. The pineapple pieces are tiny tiny and can’t be detected. If you feel your crushed pineapples pieces are too big, give it a pulse or two in the food processor or with a hand blender. That way the pieces will disappear with the rest of the ingredients.

 

chocolatey and moist cake with pineapple as the secret ingredient

Baking chocolate powder: cacao powder or dutch processed

Another star ingredient in this recipe, is the cocoa powder. I chose to use cocoa powder mainly because I find it has a more intense flavour and gives the cake a nice chocolatey flavour. There is however, much debate regarding the health benefits of cacao powder used for cooking. Is cocoa powder better or is Dutch process better.

Here’s some basics:

Beautifully summarized by Sally over at Sally’s Baking Addiction, cacao powder comes from cocoa beans. The beans are fermented, dried, roasted and cracked into nibs. The nibs are then pressed to remove 75% of their cocoa butter. This leaves us with chocolate liquor. The pasty liquor is dried and then ground into unsweetened cocoa powder.

Dutch process chocolate (named after the Dutch bakers that developed the process) is made from the same cacao beans but they’ve have been washed with a potassium solution to neutralize their acidity to a pH of 7. This means that Dutch process cocoa powder is only slightly acidic because of that Dutching process. Dutch processed chocolate is also called alkalinized chocolate powder.

After reading quite a few articles on the subject I’ve come to the basic conclusion that regular cacao powder retains more of it’s antioxidant benefits then it’s Dutch processes counterpart.

But I’ll be honest with you. I use both for different recipes. Dutch processed chocolate gives desserts a nice dark colour and a milder flavour. There’s room for both in my kitchen.

An now, onto the recipe.

Dont’ forget to leave me a comment to let me know if you’ve dressed it up or served it as is.

xx

Pineapple chocolate cake
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 8-10 portions
This cake is moist and rich and chocolatey. It’ll soon become a family favourite.
Ingredients
  • 1 Cup whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1/2 Cup white spelt flour
  • 2/3 Cup coconut sugar
  • 1/3 Cup cocoa powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 Cup almond milk
  • 2 Tbs apple cider vinegar
  • 1/3 Cup crushed pineapple
  • 1/4 Cup coconut oil, melted
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 2 oz unsweetened baking chocolate
  • Chocolat chips for srinkling on tops
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Grease an 8″ springform pan.
  3. Combine the almond milk and the apple cider vinegar together and let stand for 5 minutes.
  4. Thinly chop the baking chocolate.
  5. In the meantime, mix all the dry ingredients and baking chocolate together in a bowl and whisk together.
  6. In a separate bowl, combine the pineapples, melted coconut oil, vanilla and almond milk and vinegar mixture when ready. Stir with a wooden spoon to combine.
  7. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and combine with a wooden spoon.
  8. Pour the batter in the pan and sprinkle with chocolate chips.
  9. Bake in the oven for 30 minutes (mine was done after 28 minutes).
  10. Allow to cool for a few minutes and enjoy.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chocolate espresso nice cream

 

Hello beautiful people,

It’s Friday. Finally Friday! The day most of us look forward to all week… In all honesty, as much as I love Fridays, Sunday is my favourite day of the week. Maybe because growing up, Sunday meant time spent in the kitchen with my mom and often times my grand-mother (which meant a lot of fresh bread, cookies and cakes being made!). It also meant family dinners and football. Although I don’t cook with my mom nearly as much as I would want to anymore, I still spend a fair amount of time in the kitchen, with football games playing on tv in the background and most often, my son, husband and dog, close by, to taste test. So in a way, Sundays have kept that same childhood family feeling.

But we are Friday today and for many people, that usually means the beginning of a lot of decadent, rich food and unstructured meals for the next couple of days. Myself included, I find it harder to eat healthy and on time on weekends. I don’t want to have to rush to make and eat breakfast. I usually have a much bigger breakfast, since it’s my favourite meal of the day, and so lunch becomes more about grabbing whatever is available in the fridge and can be eaten as I go about my busy day of chores. And when my hectic day is finally over, I do feel like I deserve to reward myself with a nice dinner that consists of a little more then roasted vegetables, lentils and brown rice…

I know how you feel. I feel the same. Every Friday. Every weekend. But here’s the thing: I have goals! Health and fitness goals. And as much as I love food and as crazy as my days get and as much as I feel good about treating myself to an entire weekend of fried gnocchis, pizza, burgers, fries, coconut ice cream and brownies, I know it’s only delaying me reaching my goals. So what to do?!?

Well first off, I don’t believe in depriving myself of any good food. I also don’t believe some foods are bad and others are good. I do believe in having a great meal over the weekend and yes, I do see it as a reward and I don’t see anything wrong with that. There’s a lot of talk about not rewarding yourself with food because it creates a negative association to food. You should reward yourself with a spa day, a new pair of running shoes or whatever other non-food related thing one may want.

But I love food. And a lot of my life revolves around food. So yes, when I’ve had a hard week, I want a good meal with my husband or my friends or both, that I can look forward to. But here’s another little important thing: my reward meal is not a weekend long meal! It’s one meal…ok maybe two meals. That’s it. And the rest of the weekend, I make sure I eat well and have plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables handy, healthy homemade granola to grab on the go, bags of nuts and dried fruits I keep in my purse and a full bottle of water with lemon juice. Those naughty meals are what keep me wanting to eat healthy so I can feel good about having that reward meal. I also know that if I eat crappy all weekend, I’m going to feel crappy come Monday morning and that no longer feels like a reward, it feels like punishment!

This is where treats like this Chocolate Espresso Nice Cream come in handy. It’s full of good for you food, it makes a great quick & easy breakfast or a nice snack to hold you over until dinner and it’s just decadent tasting enough to satisfy your naughty cravings.

Hope you guys enjoy it and leave a comment to let me know what your favourite reward meal is and how you handle your weekend cravings!

 

xx

Chocolate espresso nice cream
Prep time:
Total time:
Serves: 2 portions
This makes a great breakfast and espresso gives you that little boost of extra energy. If you don’t want the caffeine, make it with decaf espresso. Serve it with some chocolate shavings on top and maybe even a little vegan whipped cream if you feel really naughty…
Ingredients
  • 4 frozen bananas
  • 1 14 oz can butter beans
  • 1/2 cup espresso, chilled
  • 1 oz semi-sweet dark chocolate, roughly chopped (extra for serving)
  • 2 drops liquid Stevia (optional – if you like your nice cream really sweet)
Instructions
  1. Take out your food processor and add the grating disc. Insert the frozen bananas in the feeder and grate away on high.
  2. Once all bananas are grated, take the grating disc out and switch to the s-shape blade.
  3. Add the remaining ingredients to the food processor and turn on high until you reach an ice cream like consistency.
  4. Serve with extra chocolate shavings.

 

Pumpkin brownies

 

Hello beautiful people,

Let’s talk about compassion… Compassion is a word you hear a lot of in the vegan community.  The entire premise of the vegan lifestyle is based on compassion for animals. To not cause additional suffering to helpless creatures, to defend the defenceless and to speak up for those who have no voice. Mercy, empathy, solicitude.

In Patanjali’s Yoga Sutra (text outlining the principles of yoga written about two centuries after Jesus Christ) a similar rule is presented to yoga practitioners. In the second part of the book called yamas, Patanjali presents the ethical principles by which someone should live in order to create a peaceful and fulfilled life. The first yama is ahimsa which stands for non-violence. Non-violence to others, including animals, but also non-violence towards ourself. And this is the type of compassion, or non-violence, I want to talk about with you today.

I’ve been practising yoga for many years and my main reason for adopting a vegan lifestyle is the application of ahimsa, to cause no violence to those around me.

I won’t lie. Its kind of a big deal for me to say that I’m a vegan and that I don’t cause additional, unnecessary harm to animals. But that’s just the thing, my application of the rule of ahimsa has always been limited to animals. Up until recently, I never really asked myself if I had compassion for me. And when I asked myself that question, I didn’t like the answer.

No, I can’t say I have true and honest compassion for myself. I’ll actually take it a step further and say that I actually have selective compassion. I choose who I have compassion for. Animals: absolutely. Children: always. Other adults: hmmmm, it depends. Me: sometimes.

And it was only when I stopped to ask myself that question, that I realized my actual lack of compassion. And this is where these brownies come in. I’ve been working on these brownies for quite some time. I never seemed to get the recipe quite right. They were either too dense or too sweet. Too fudgey or too crumbly. I would get mad and frustrated at myself for not being able to solve the perfect pumpkin brownie enigma. I had no compassion for myself. I didn’t take into consideration that maybe I had so much on my plate that I couldn’t focus on crating a stellar recipe or that I might be tired after taking care of a baby all day (and often all night – our son, at 13 months, just started sleeping his full nights!). All I saw was my failure to succeed at something so simple as… a brownie.

You might think this is a silly example and that there are far more important things in life to accomplish then nailing a brownie recipe. And you are absolutely right! But if I can’t show myself a little compassion for something as silly as a brownie recipe, where else am I not showing up for myself and who else am I not showing up for?

The thing with compassion is that if you don’t start by having some for yourself, it is very hard to give it to others. Like love. If you don’t truly love yourself, how can you love someone else. Ever try pouring a glass of water for someone out of an empty jug? Not much will happen there. Same thing with love. Same thing with compassion.

So I took a good look at how I treat myself on a daily basis. There is a lot of negative self talk here folks. See, I’m a perfectionist. And I always believed that a little negative self talk produces good results or at least achieves goals. Funny thing is, I actually know just how false that is! I know it’s false! I just hadn’t realized to what extent I was doing it… the crazy things we do!

I also realized how hard I am on others. It all comes back to the jug people: empty jug can’t fill up someone else’s glass!

So I took the resolution (why wait for January 1st!) that I was going to implement more compassion for myself, and for others, on a daily basis. And let me tell you, just by taking that decision, I not only feel so much better but I nailed this brownie recipe! You might think linking the two: compassion and brownies, is far fetched but let me tell you, it really isn’t…

I’ll detail the steps I took to implement more compassion into my life in my next blog post but for now, I give you, my pumpkin brownies.

I made these gluten free so I could share them with friends and family, a lot of which are either celiac or on a wheat elimination protocol to better their health.

Leave a comment and let me know if you’ve enjoyed these.

xx

Pumpkin brownies
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 12 portions
I’m a fan of cakey brownies and not really the fudgey kind so these brownies are chocolatey and just cakey enough. I had run out of vegan chocolate chips when I made these so I used a bar of semi-sweet vegan chocolate and made little shavings from a 2 ounce square.
Ingredients
  • 1 Cup gluten-free flower (I used Bob’s Red Mill GF Baking flour and it worked amazing)
  • 1/2 coconut sugar
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 3/4 Cup pumpkin puree
  • 1/4 Cup maple syrup
  • 1/4 Cup unsweetened almond milk (or any other milk alternative you enjoy)
  • 2 Tbs. coconut oil, melted + extra for greasing the pan
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/2 Cup vegan semi-sweet chocolate chips (see Recipe summary for alternative)
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven at 350 degrees.
  2. Coat an 8X8 inch square pan with some extra coconut oil or use parchment paper.
  3. In a mixing bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder and nutmeg. Stir with a whisk to combine.
  4. In another mixing bowl, add the pumpkin puree, maple syrup, milk, melted coconut oil and vanilla extract. Stir to make sure everything is well combined.
  5. Add the pumpkin mixture to the flour mixture. Mix with a wooden spoon.
  6. You may notice that the mixture is dry. Just keep stirring gently, it’ll all eventually combine well.
  7. Add the chocolate chips and mix only to combine. You don’t want to over stir.
  8. Pour the brownie mixture in the pan and cook for 25 minutes.
  9. Remove from oven and allow to cool at least 15 minutes before serving.