This cake is perfect for chocolate lovers, it has the most amazing texture. While it's similar to a rich fudgy brownie it has a light and airy texture with a hint of orange. Instead of just using whipped egg whites to help the cake rise, I've whipped organic coconut sugar into the egg whites producing a meringue consistency that holds up well when folded into the chocolate batter. I've used organic coconut sugar as it's a natural sweetener and has a low GI, and half as sweet as regular refined white sugar. Once this cake is removed from the oven, it will slowly fall creating the fudge-like texture. I've dusted my cake with raw cacao powder or you can top it with chocolate frosting for a special celebration (chocolate frosting recipe).
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Preheat oven to 160c (fan-forced). Grease the sides and line the base of a 23cm (9in) springform cake tin with baking paper. Place your sheet of baking paper over the base and clip the sides closed, leaving a little hanging out (I also find it's easier to slide the cake off the paper to your serving plate if it's also been greased).
Add the ghee and chocolate pieces to a medium saucepan over low heat, stir to combine, melt and goes glossy, then turn off the heat (don't overheat). Add in 1/4 cup of the coconut sugar and stir to dissolve, then add the cacao powder and stir to remove any lumps. Pour in the maple syrup and vanilla, then add the salt and orange essential oil. Whisk together well and set aside to cool.
Meanwhile, take two large bowls. Place the yolks into one of the bowls and set them aside and the egg whites into the other. I use a handheld electric beater to whisk the egg whites but you can use a stand mixer.
Beat the egg whites at high speed until you have soft peaks, approximately 1 minute. Take the remaining 1/2 cup of coconut sugar and add the sugar one spoonful at a time while beating on high speed, making sure to beat in the sugar well. This will take approximately 3 minutes to reach a thick, glossy and light tan colour meringue texture. Set aside.
The chocolate mixture should be cooled now. Whisk the egg yolks and add two tablespoons of the chocolate mixture and whisk to temper the egg yolks. Slowly pour the chocolate mixture into the bowl of egg yolks while stirring vigorously.
Now take the meringue mixture and slowly begin to fold it into the chocolate mixture, by dropping in large spoonfuls at a time and folding through with a spatula. Once it's all combined, carefully transfer it to the prepared cake tin.
Bake for 50 - 55 minutes, your cake will have risen very high to the top of the tin. The surface will be firm but not browning and will have a few cracks in the centre (if the surface is still smooth wait until it has a crack in the middle or it may be undercooked). Allow the cake to cool in the tin for 30 minutes, during this time the cake will crack further on top and it will deflate and sink in on itself. Before removing from the tin, take a thin knife and run around the insides of the tin to loosen the cake. Remove the springform sides and allow the cake to finish cooling on the base. Once completely cooled, carefully remove the baking paper, using your hands to support the bottom of the cake while transferring it to your plate.
To serve, place on a cake stand or serving plate and dust with raw cacao powder using a fine sieve. Decorate with berries and serve with a dollop of vanilla coconut yoghurt or dairy-free cream.
Store covered in the fridge for up to 1 week. Allow to return to room temperature before serving. I've also tested individual slices frozen and once thawed they had kept their delicious fudgy texture.
Ghee is a lactose-free ancient superfood. It is made by slow cooking and clarifying butter to remove the milk solids and lactose, it's pure butter fat. You can get the flavour of butter in your cooking without the dairy (please don't consume if you have an allergy to ghee). My favourite brands are Organic Valley Purity Farms or Puresoul grass-fed. It is also very easy to make yourself. Ghee has a high smoke point 485F/250C.
In some of my recipes I have used Paleo approved dark chocolate drops/chips, they are dairy, soy, and gluten-free (my favourite brands are, 'Absolute Organic' or 'Chef's Choice' certified organic 70% cacao, purchase online or from health food stores). I also used 70 - 85% organic dark chocolate blocks, they can be broken into pieces or melted for recipe. I also make my own chocolate from: cacao butter or coconut oil, raw cacao powder and sweetened with 100% maple syrup, pinch of sea salt and vanilla extract.
Coconut sugar is produced from the sap of the flower bud of the coconut palm tree and is a natural food sweetener. I use it when a dry sweetener is required. It has the benefit of a low glycemic index (low GI 35 compared to sugar at 68) and nutritional content. Use in baked goods as an occasional treat but don't overindulge. For a finer texture, add your coconut sugar to the small bowl of a food processor or blender and blend for 8 seconds or until it reaches a fine powder. The colour will lighten once ground.
Raw cacao powder and cocoa are made from the same source but are so different. Cacao powder is raw, unsweetened and in it's natural state, it has a stronger flavour and you would use less than cocoa powder. It is so good for you; high in dietary fibre, iron and is a good source of magnesium and antioxidants. Cocoa has been heated and processed, the high heat when processing kills all the minerals and vitamins.
Maple syrup is an earthy, sweet tasting amber liquid that is produced by boiling down the sap of maple trees. Use organic 100% maple syrup which is a natural food sweetener, not a flavoured maple syrup. Pure maple syrup contains a decent amount of some minerals, especially manganese and zinc, some traces of potassium and calcium but it does contain a whole bunch of sugar. I try to reduced the amount of sweetness in each recipe to the lowest possible without compromising taste. Feel free to adjust to your liking. I use maple syrup in place of raw honey when I don't want the strong honey flavour coming through in a recipe. I have paleo cookies and desserts in my cookbook made from whole food ingredients with natural sugars but please don’t overindulge. Use as a treat only for special occasions.
Use an organic vanilla extract (not an essence) or vanilla powder. Vanilla makes a big difference to the flavour of a recipe, I recommend keeping to the quantities I have stated in a recipe. I prefer Madagascar pure vanilla extract manufactured by ‘Simply Organic’ and for powder, Vanillamax 100% pure, finely ground Madagascar vanilla beans produced by Bulletproof.
Organic unbleached, unrefined organic Celtic sea salt or pink Himalayan salt is my salt of choice as these contain healthy minerals and trace elements that our body needs. Regular table salt has been bleached, refined and processed leaving minimal health benefits. If you choose to use regular table salt in my recipes you will need to reduce the quantity or the end result will be to salty.
Doterra wild orange essential oil is cold pressed oil from the peel. You also get health benefits when using pure essential oils. You can use organic orange extract in it's place but you will need to add a lot extra (approx. 4 drops of oil = 1 1/4 teaspoon of extract).
I have used large free range or organic eggs from a 700g carton in my recipes. Eggs are one of the few foods considered to be a complete protein because they contain all 9 essential amino acids, also studies have shown that lutein (yellow colour) in egg yolks protects against the progress of early heart disease.