There are no words for this recipe other than YUM! OK, well maybe there are a few more including: healthy, easy, affordable and simple.
Living in New York City has opened up a whole new world of cooking and baking for me. How so? Aside from studying at the best school in the world for health supportive cooking, I have access to so many fresh, weird and wonderful ingredients from all areas of this magical city! If I want exotic, immune-supportive mushrooms to make a healing soup, I head to Chinatown. Cooking with fresh tempeh or tofu? It’s a subway train to Brooklyn. Best miso paste in the world? I found it here! I could go on and on but for the sake of this post (and your time) I won’t – suffice to say I am totally spoilt for choice.!
Take flour for example… In New York, I’m exposed to so many different types, textures and flavours. At school, we cook with the best (naturally!) so when I first experimented with making this delicious cake, I made it with a much lighter flour I’ve never used before called ‘whole wheat pastry flour’ which worked really well. What is whole wheat pastry flour? It’s whole wheat flour ground very, very fine using the ENTIRE wheat kernel: the bran AND the germ. AKA: the ‘healthy bits’. It does have gluten in it, though it contains much less than regular flour – perfect to use when baking more delicate foods because gluten provides the fluffy, light texture thanks to its protein strands.
Side note: did you know gluten is actually a protein found in wheat, barley and rye? I didn’t until I began studying food and nutrition! Good to know don’t you think? Sorry, I digress… Whole wheat flour also houses essential dietary fibre, manganese and magnesium, all super important elements we need but rarely get enough of. Since becoming a Natural Foods Chef, I have created lots of tasty treats with almond, oat, spelt, tapioca, kuzu, arrowroot and rice flour – all fun (and yum) to work with. I will be posting more recipes with these ingredients over time, though for this particular cake the best results will be achieved with whole wheat pastry flour.
Side (but-kind-of-important) note: if you’re not allergic or intolerant to gluten, I really don’t recommend cutting it out of your diet. This doesn’t mean you should go binge on the stuff, I just suggest you think twice before cutting it out of your diet entirely. My nutritional and Natural Foods Chef studies have taught me gluten really isn’t the devil. Somehow, just like healthy fats, gluten was demonised a while ago, replaced with some alternatives that aren’t any better for us when it comes to food intolerances and the gut.
Weird? Yes. End of the world? No. Just try this cake with whole wheat pastry flour first. Have a slice or two, not ten and don’t make it every week. It’s healthy, but this doesn’t mean you can eat the whole cake in one sitting. Just like that bad stuff in life, too much of a good thing can also be damaging to the body. Variety – of the healthy, whole food kind – is key.
Walnut & Chocolate Cake (Vegan)
- 1 ½ cups + 2 tablespoons whole wheat pastry flour (weird measurement I know, but you have to be exact in baking to achieve successful consistency & texture). To make this gluten free, replace with a gluten free flour mix OR you can make this cake instead.
- 3 tbs cacao powder (you can also use 100% carob which also tastes great and is lower in fat)
- 2 tsp baking powder
- ½ tsp celtic or himalayan sea salt
- 6 tbs coconut oil, melted
- 1/4 cup brown rice syrup
- ¾ cup almond milk (look for the kind without carrageenan added or make your own)
- 3/4 cup hazlenuts (or almonds), roasted then coarsely chopped
- Preheat oven to 350ºF/180ºC. Grease/line an 8-inch cake pan or line a muffin tray to make mini choc hazelnut cakes!
- Combine dry ingredients + 2/4 cup nuts in bowl and mix combine.
- In a separate bowl, whisk together wet ingredients and mix well with dry
- Pour batter into prepared baking pan
- Sprinkle extra 1/4 cup chopped nuts on top
- Bake for 35 to 40 minutes or until toothpick/wooden BBQ skewer inserted in centre of cake comes out clean