Celebrate the upcoming Valentine’s Day with this decadent, yet healthy chocolate cake. Your loved one will really like it. And remember that chocolate is, after all, a well known aphrodisiac.
Did you guys watch the Super Bowl? Did your team win? My boys were rooting for Panthers so I had no choice but to root for Broncos. The Super Bowl 50 took place in Santa Clara but most of the activities happened in San Francisco. Levi’s Stadium is only 15 miles away from my house but with the tickets starting around $3000 it wasn’t too much of a choice. Instead, I made tons of food and we ate it all while enjoying the game.
I made this cake as our dessert for the Super Bowl. If you follow me on Instagram or Facebook, you might have seen another shot of this Buckwheat Chocolate Cake, decorated with blueberries. I modified it slightly this time by adding orange zest to the batter. In my opinion it made the cake much better, lighter and aromatic. To accentuate the orange undertones I made candied orange slices and used them to decorate the cake. Pomegranate seeds? I happened to have some in my fridge and thought they would look pretty on the cake. Totally optional.
Since this cake is all chocolate and fruit, it will be a perfect dessert for the upcoming Valentine’s Day. The first time I made it was for my birthday, actually. But who needs a reason to eat a chocolate cake, right?
Have you ever used buckwheat flour? It is much darker in color than all-purpose flour. It is often thought of as a grain but it actually is a fruit seed related to rhubarb. The seeds are a bit smaller that wheat kernels but are unique in its triangular shape. The seeds are sold as unroasted or roasted, then called “kasha” and can be used to substitute rice. Buckwheat kasha is very common in parts of Europe and my Grandma used to serve it with a delicious goulash. I often use the buckwheat flour to make savory crepes with spinach.
Buckwheat is gluten free so it is a good alternative for anyone with wheat intolerance (despite the name suggesting wheat’s presence). It also helps to lower the bad cholesterol, high blood pressure and sugar level.
This recipe appeared in Martha Stewart’s magazine but I made a few changes. The recipe calls for blanching, roasting and grinding almonds. I roasted them without blanching (removing the skin). The almonds should then be processed in a food processor until they resemble a coarse meal. If you don’t want to blanch and roast almonds, use 1/2 cup almond meal. I also added orange zest and made a chocolate glaze.
Next, add the buckwheat flour, cinnamon and salt to the food processor and process until the mixture is fine. Set aside.
Using a double boiler, melt the chocolate with cubed butter until smooth. Cool down for a few minutes.
While the chocolate is cooling, start whisking together eggs and brown sugar. It will take about 5-6 minutes, using high speed and a whisk attachment, to achieve the foamy and thick result. Then add the melted chocolate mixture and whisk for 30 seconds. Fold in the flour mixture, orange zest and whisk until well combined. Pour into a buttered 9-inch springform pan.
Bake at 350 degrees for about 25 minutes, until the toothpick comes out dry. Cool completely before decorating with the chocolate glaze.
To make the glaze, again using the double boiler, melt chocolate chips with butter. Remove it from the heat and whisk in 2 tablespoons of light corn syrup. The syrup adds some gloss and sweetness to the cake as it’s not very sweet. You can totally skip the syrup (I forgot to add it once and it was still very good). You can also use semisweet chocolate chips instead of bittersweet ones to make the cake sweeter.
To decorate, remove the completely cooled cake from the pan and place it on a cooling rack. Place a plate directly underneath the cake. Pour out the glaze, covering the sides of the cake, too. Let it cool for about 2 hours before decorating and/or serving.
If you are planning to use the candied orange slices to decorate the cake, make them the day before. The candied orange slices should dry for 6-8 hours or overnight. I used blood oranges but any other kind works fine, too.
To make the candied orange slices, start by washing the orange well. Buy organic orange if you can and use a fruit and vegetable wash to remove all of the residue. To make the syrup, combine water and sugar. Bring it to boil and add the orange slices. Cook on low for about 25 minutes, turning the slices occasionally.
Line the baking sheet with parchment paper and place the slices there. Let them dry for 6-8 hours, turning them once or twice.
Makes: 1 9-inch cake Prep time: 30 minutes Ready in: 4 hr (with cooling)
Candied Orange Slices: 1 orange, 1/2 cup sugar, 1 cup water
- 1/4 cup almonds or 1/2 cup almond meal
- 6 oz (170 g) bittersweet chocolate chips
- 1 stick (4 oz, 125 g) unsalted butter, cubed
- 1/3 cup buckwheat flour
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
- 4 eggs, room temperature
- 1/2 cup light-brown sugar, packed
- zest from 1 orange
- 6 oz (170 g) bittersweet or semisweet chocolate chips (or combination of both)
- 1 stick (4 oz, 125 g) butter, cubed
- 2 Tablespoons light corn syrup
- Candied orange slices: wash and slice the orange. In a medium pot combine water and sugar. Bring to boil and add orange slices. Simmer for 25 minutes, turning them occasionally. Place the candied orange slices on a parchment lined baking pan and let them dry for 6-8 hours, turning them once or twice.
- Cake: preheat the oven to 350 degrees. If using almonds, place them on a baking sheet and roast for 7-9 minutes until fragrant and slightly golden. Let them cool down for 5 minutes and then transfer them to a food processor. Process the almonds until they are coarse. Add buckwheat flour, cinnamon and salt and process until fine. If using almond meal, just mix it with flour and spices. Set aside.
- Using a double boiler, melt the chocolate chips and butter. Stir well until smooth.
- Using a stand mixer with a whisk attachment, whisk eggs and sugar until thick, foamy and doubled in volume, about 6 minutes. Zest the orange. Slowly pour in the melted chocolate and whisk a few times. Add the flour mixture and orange zest. Whisk until well combined.
- Butter a 9-inch springform pan. Pour in the cake batter. Bake for about 25 minutes, until the toothpick comes out clean. Cool the cake for 10 minutes then remove the sides of the pan ( you might have to use a knife around the cake to release it first). Cool completely.
- Glaze: using a double boiler, melt the chocolate and butter. Remove from the heat and whisk in corn syrup. Place the cooled cake on a wire rack, place a plate underneath and pour in the glaze. Smooth the cake out and let it cool down for at least 2 hours.
- Decorate with orange slices. Store, covered in a fridge. To serve, warm the knife up under running hot water and cut the slices.
Recipe adapted from Martha Stewart Living magazine.