Gluten-free flourless chocolate cake layered with dairy-free flan and raspberry sauce

20140109-190954.jpgOkay, so as I’ve said I am sooo not a baker and never really liked baking. I cook like I live – I pretty much make it up as I go. I have the utmost respect for pastry chefs. I’ve always thought of baking as being so exact with precise formulations – not something I’m capable of. But, if I’m going to forever live this dairy-free, gluten-free, unprocessed lifestyle, I figure I better learn to bake if I ever want to eat sweets again! I don’t think I can come up with anything as good as a true chef pâtissier, but hopefully I can wing it enough to satisfy the occasional sweet-tooth – and even better if my kid will go for healthier versions of cookies and cakes!

So here’s the result of an afternoon of experimentation.

I knew I wanted to try a flourless chocolate cake/brownie type thing. I searched a few recipes to see if my vision of ingredients was somewhat right. It seemed to be but my eyes started to glaze over as I looked over quantities and detailed steps. I just don’t have the attention span for this. So I said whatevs and decided to wing it. I’ve thrown stuff right into the garbage before…all good. But this actually worked out!

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The cake
I’ve got organic cacao, coconut sugar, vanilla extract, apple sauce and coconut oil in there. The apple sauce and coconut oil replace the butter. I didn’t want to go heavy on the the coconut oil bc I wasn’t going for “coconut chocolate cake” so I added apple sauce which I’ve always used as a butter replacement (until I discovered the miracle that is coconut oil!).

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The flan
…was a happy accident. As I was blending up the coconut sugar, eggs and vanilla – both my daughter I said we thought it smelled just like flan. I had been starting to conceptualize a dairy free flan in my head since Christmas, thinking I would use coconut milk since it’s got that creamy texture. I only had almond milk in the house but decided to give it a try. After we got the cake in the oven, I got out more eggs, coconut sugar, vanilla and almond milk. Whipped that up. I used coconut sugar for the bottom flan caramel layer. This was tricky. It didn’t melt like white sugar. It stayed a bit thick and started getting really dark. I was thinking I burned it. Also, while I wasn’t looking little Miss L was a bit too heavy handed with the vanilla extract in the flan mixture. So, this was going to be a bust, I thought, but I’ll throw it in the oven anyway and see what happens.

The results
Well, the flan wasn’t the prettiest but to my surprise the taste was spot on! And the chocolate cake came out light and fudgey. I decided to layer the flan between the chocolate. The flan’s sweetness paired nicely with the rich, bittersweet cake. Both were complimented nicely with a raspberry sauce made simply with raspberries and a bit of local raw honey.

A definite win for the non-baker! And Miss L ate every last bite so totally kid-tested and DetoxMama approved!

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