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    Recipe: Date and Chocolate Mint Cake with Coconut Cream



    Who doesn't love a good chocolate cake?! I have a complete fondness for chocolate so when I started cutting the bad stuff from my diet, I was not so happy at the prospect of no more chocolate. Imagine my delight when I found out that raw cacao - basically the raw unfined version of chocolate - is not just good for you, but being full of anti-oxidants is great for you. This cake is free from refined sugar, free from gluten and free from dairy. Dates provide the sweetness and the raw cacao makes it beautifully chocolately and indulgent. I serve it with vanilla coconut cream which is so light making it the perfect match.



    So a quick word about dates. Dates are used so much in healthy eating and baking that they are sometimes referred to as 'nature's candy'. They are energy dense making them a good snack for when you are on the go. Dates are high in calories and sugar, with nearly all the sugar being glucose and fructose. Not surprisingly they have a high glycemic index value. I decided to cut refined sugar from my diet when I was diagnosed with cancer - so this meant white table sugar, caster sugar and hidden refined sugars such as those in biscuits, cakes, cereals and processed sauces. I didn't cut natural sugars from my diet to the same extent. But I am careful about my intake of natural sugars. For instance, I don't juice high sugar fruits, and I only rarely use natural sweeteners such as maple syrup and honey. But eating fruits in their natural state is not something I overly worry about. While I wouldn't sit down and eat a whole tub of dates in one go (much as I would love to), I do use dates in my desserts and treats and in the occasional 'treat' smoothie. I definitely wouldn't put them into my daily breakfast smoothie.

    While dates my be high in natural sugars, they are also a great source of dietary fibre which helps maintain blood glucose levels. They contain a number of minerals such as iron and potassium and B vitamins, vitamin A and vitamin K.


    Ingredients:

    For the base

    2 cups of almonds

    1 cup of dates

    1 tablespoon of coconut oil

    For the cake filling

    1 cup of chickpea flour

    1 cup of oats (gluten free)

    1/2 cup of dates (soaked for an hour in a cup of hot water)

    1/2 cup of filtered water

    1 tablespoons of coconut oil

    2 teaspoons of mint extract

    1 tablespoon of maple syrup

    2 tablespoons of flaxseed

    3 tablespoons of raw cacao

    1 tablespoon of baking powder

    pinch of salt

    For the chocolate frosting

    1/2 cup of dates

    1/2 cup of water

    3 tablespoons of raw cacao

    For the coconut cream

    1 tin of coconut milk (left in the fridge for 5 hours)

    1 tablespoon of maple syrup

    1 teaspoon of vanilla extract

    Method:

    Pre heat the oven to 180 degrees celsius

    Start with the base. In a food processor pulse the almonds until they are crumb like. Then add the dates and the coconut oil. Blend together until you have a sticky mixture.

    Line a springform tin with baking parchment. Spoon the base mixture into the base of the tin and spread it out so it covers the entire base of the tin and is smooth. Leave to one side while you prepare the filling.

    Add the flaxseed to 1/2 cup of filtered water, stir well and set aside.

    Make an oat flour by pulsing the oats in a blender or food processor. Then combine the oat flour, chickpea flour, raw cacao, baking powder and salt in a bowl and mix well.

    Put the dates and the water in which they were soaking into a food processor or blender and blend until they are well combined and form a sticky mixture. Add this, along with the flaxseed mixture, maple syrup, melted coconut oil and mint extract to the dry ingredients. Mix until all ingredients are well combined.

    Pour into your baking tin over the base and place in the overn for about 25 minutes. Keep an eye on the cake to ensure it doesn't get too dry. Once the surface of the cake begins to crack, it is ready to be taken out of the oven.

    Once baked, remove the cake from the oven and allow to cool.

    Once the cake is cool, make the chocolate frosting by adding the dates, water and raw cacao to a food processor or blender and blending until you have a nice smooth and shiny frosting. Spread this over the top of the cake and decorate the cake with mint leaves.

    For the coconut cream, the tin of coconut milk should be in the fridge for about 5 hours prior to making the cream. Remove it from the fridge and open the tin. The milk should have separated into a solid form and water. Scope out the solid milk and place in a bowl. Do not use the separated water. Add the vanilla extract and maple syrup to the bowl and whisk together until you get a whipped cream consistency.

    The cake and cream should last in the fridge for a couple of days.

    I really hope you enjoy this cake as much as I do xx




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