This cake looks naughty, but it really isn’t.
We’re talking fruit-sweetened level of virtuousness here, people. I knew I wanted to bake when my September Paleo Pen Pals match (hi, Diana!) sent me some amazing ingredients from Estonia, but my days of making cakes loaded with sugar are over. This one manages to be tasty and casual while still winning points for looks. This recipe owes its beautiful bones to the famous Chocolate Paleo Snack Cake, and I could snack on this all day without a twinge of guilt. In addition to being grain-free, sugar-free and dairy-free, this cake’s reliance on coconut flour rather than almond meal makes it an approved recipe for those with nut allergies.
Diana sent me two ingredients that I’d never seen before, let alone experimented with in the kitchen: hawthorn berry flour and sea-buckthorn powder! Apparently both are popular in Estonia, which is where Diana hails from, but although I consider myself a foodie I had never come across either of these previously. That’s the fantastic thing about Paleo Pen Pals… you swap with Paleo-minded folks from all over and develop recipes with things you’d ordinarily never have tried!
I used the hawthorn flour in this cake and made a different delicious recipe using the sea-buckthorn powder (coming soon, due to inclement weather and resulting poor lighting in San Francisco, I could not photograph it in time)! I’m looking forward to further adventures in the October Paleo Pen Pals swap and in many more swaps to come.
- 10 large dates, pitted
- 1 cup applesauce
- 4 eggs
- 1/2 cup red palm oil
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup coconut flour
- 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1/4 cup hawthorn berry flour
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/2 cup coffee
- 1/4 cup coconut milk
- 3 tbsp arrowroot flour
- 2 tsp honey
- ONE HOUR AHEAD: place the dates in a bowl, pour the coffee over them. Let soften for one hour then pulse the mixture in a food processor until completely pureed.
- Preheat oven to 350F. Grease an 8" springform pan, set aside.
- Add the applesauce, eggs, vanilla and red palm oil to the coffee and date puree and continue to pulse until fully mixed.
- In a large mixing bowl, sift the coconut flour together with the cocoa, hawthorn berry flour, baking soda and salt.
- Fold the dry ingredients into the wet, then spoon into the greased pan (batter will be very thick).
- Halve however many strawberries you choose and press into the top of the cake.
- Bake in the preheated oven for 50-60 minutes, or until firm when pressed with a fingertip.
- Remove from the oven, let cool, then place in the refrigerator to chill while you mix the icing.
- Whip the coconut milk, arrowroot flour and honey with a fork until smooth.
- Using a slashing motion, spatter the cake with the icing. Serve chilled.
- The proportions of coconut milk to arrowroot flour in the icing recipe are variable: I wanted a free-form spattered look so I kept it runny... but more arrowroot flour would have thickened it to a paste. Arrowroot flour is available in Whole Foods and gourmet food stores.