Recipe: Hemp seed walnut chocolate cake
Although it’s not a low-fat or low-calorie dessert or snack, this hemp seed walnut chocolate cake certainly is a very nutrient-dense treat.
This cake has 5 grams of fiber per serving and is full of healthy omega 3 oils from the hemp seeds and walnuts.
I find walnuts kind of boring and run of the mill. But I have been studying all kinds of new information about how good walnuts are for you and your brain. See, they even look like a brain, and have all of those omega 3 oils everyone is talking about. I have been trying to find new ways to get them into my diet because they are not my favorite nut. I figured adding them to cake would get me to eat them.
And, well, as far as hemp seeds go, I am just adding them to everything these days. They are very nutrient dense. There are 3 grams of fiber, plus 20% of your intake for zinc, 110% of manganese, thiamin, folate, iron, and a bunch of other good-for-you things in just 3 tablespoons of hemp seeds. That is a lot of nutritional bang for your tablespoons.
I used my own carob slurry or pulp in the cake too. I make it out of fresh, real, dried carob beans.
I can find real carob beans in my Jewish neighborhood in my favorite Israeli store very year during the tree holiday.
I get all sentimental when I see them, the smell takes me back to my hippy childhood when I wasn’t allowed to have chocolate because it made your skin break out (a common myth in the 60s based on the latest research back then, which has since been debunked). However, I was allowed to have carob and I actually liked it. I remember the delight of having carob chips, being able to get a carob and peanut butter Tiger’s Milk bar at the health food store for a treat, and my babysitter mixing me a Tiger’s Milk carob milk (it was like Ovaltine with vitamins they don’t make it anymore but I wish they would). My little brother and I would squeal in delight while receiving out ultra-nutritious. Vitamin-enriched milk of human kindness… “Look at these real carob beans,” I think to myself when I see them, “they are so romantic, I am going to get them and process them myself…”
By the time I am done boiling them for hours until they are soft enough to pull apart, getting those tiny little seeds out of them, scraping the pulp off the skin and wondering if it’s the right thing to do because I can’t get any good information on how to process them, I figure out that my neighbors are probably just using these dried carob beans as a good-smelling decoration, like how I use dried corn in the fall. I am thoroughly aggravated by the time I get to dumping the pulp in the blender and exasperated by the time I put the pulp in the ice cube tray for lovely individual portions for my future of super-healthy baking. Then I promise myself I will put the pulp in my morning coffee as a sweetener and always forget to do it… Yeah, forget about real carob bean pulp, use a mashed banana instead.
I also used spelt flour, as it’s very rich in vitamins, fiber and minerals; spelt flour is tolerated by the wheat-sensitive and gluten-free crowd. It also tastes great.
The cake has a cup of coconut flour in it. Also great for gluten-free baking, this flour is my “Flava of the moment.” I found out about coconut flour through my favorite new cookbook ‘Cooking with Coconut flour” by Jennifer of the Hybrid Rasta Mama natural living website. This recipe is actually a version of the “Chocolate Quinoa Cake” from the book. Read about the book in one of my previous web postings.
The coconut flour needs some finesse to use, but I love it. It adds a great flavor to baking. I add some to my breakfast shakes. The very heavy fiber content keeps me full through a whole morning of training sessions.
And, yes this cake is gluten free. I have been experimenting with gluten-free eating not because I am intolerant to wheat or trendy (let’s call the gluten-free thing what it is: a trend), but because I just happen to be sharing my meals these days with someone who is genuinely allergic to wheat.
Do I feel better being more gluten free? No.
Do I think gluten free is the greatest nutritional breakthrough ever? No.
Have I lost weight eating less gluten? No.
Do I think wheat is evil? No. But I do think there is something to the new theory that the allergens are higher in the new breed of wheat that is prevalent today. Wheat can be good for you in small amounts – but only whole wheat please!
However, I do feel bad that some people have to live without chocolate cake! That’s awful … and part of the reason I came up with this recipe.
The cake uses 2 cups of cooked whole grains. The original recipe uses quinoa, but you can use any cooked whole grain. This is a great way to use that leftover grain that is just sitting in the refrigerator and is going to waste. Food recycling rocks! Waste not, want not!
Cocoa powder. I am choosing raw, organic, fair-trade cocoa powder these days for several reasons.
1) No child labor is used in the productions of this cocoa powder. The larger chocolate companies are looking the other way when it comes to where their products come from. Fair Trade ensures fair labor practices and that real farmers get paid a fair wage.
2) The taste and quality are superior.
3) I feel the nutritional value of organic is better. Yes, cocoa powder has iron and fiber, and flavanols (antioxidants found in darker foods like coffee and cherries)
I added a cup of melted butter, yes BUTTER. Hey. it’s dessert. I added butter because it solidified the cake and it tastes good. I LIKE butter, in spite of its unhealthy reputation, and it added the best flavor. There — I said it! I am a personal trainer and I like butter and even eat it sometimes. If you want to be more health conscious you can add a cup of melted coconut oil instead of butter.
This cake does well with frosting, but there aren’t many healthy cake frostings with nutritional value … sorry!
All that being said, confessions about butter, childhood memories and opinions about gluten free and fair trade, here is the recipe:
HEMP SEED WALNUT CHOCOLATE CAKE
1/2 cup spelt flour
1/2 cup coconut flour
1/2 cup organic sugar (you can add Sucanat or dried cane crystals, but do not use honey or agave nectar, as these are too liquid for cake)
1 cup organic cocoa powder
1 1/2 table spoons baking powder
dash teaspoon of salt
3/4 cup finely chopped walnuts
1/2 cup hemp seeds
1 cup cooked quinoa
2 cup of water
1 mashed banana
1/2 cup melted butter
dash of cinnamon
1 tablespoon vanilla extract (almond extract would be good too)
Directions: Sift together in a bowl (this step is a must or your coconut flour will clump) the spelt flour, coconut flour, baking powder, coco powder, sugar and salt. Some fibers from the spelt flour will remain in the sifter — add that into the dry mix and stir thoroughly.
In a separate bowl mash the banana, then add the water, whisk in the eggs, then add this to the dry ingredients. Next, add the melted butter, vanilla and cinnamon. Mix and then fold in the hemp seeds, quinoa and walnuts.
I baked this for 45 minutes, at 350 degrees. I used a 9-inch spring-form pan. I greased and floured the cake pan (this is a must, as the cake is quite dense will stick to the pan). It’s not the end of the world if you don’t but you will lose your baking street cred if your cake cannot come out of the pan.
To see if the cake is done, make sure it is springy on the top and/or use the toothpick method (when a toothpick comes out clean when inserted into the center of the cake).
This recipe can also make cupcakes — just make sure to use cupcake liners in your muffin tin. Baking time should be about 30 minutes.
Enjoy this cake – it’s is a winner and oh so hip, it’s got quinoa and is gluten free.