Over the years my tastes for birthday cake have most definitely changed. Ice cream cakes from Cold Stone Creamery; flourless fudge cakes from Cosentino’s Italian Market; dark chocolate cakes garnished with beautiful fresh strawberries from Whole Foods. Chocolate clearly is a recurring theme here. I am and always will be a dark chocolate fan 🙂
However, this year I decided I wanted to make my own birthday cake. I mean, what better time to try out a new recipe? If it gets messed up, or it takes all day, or you lick the spoon, or you burn it, who cares, because it’s your birthday!
I chose to try out a healthy chocolate cake recipe so that I could eat it all week without getting sick of it, or feeling overly indulgent. Sneaky, huh? Therefore, I picked a recipe using whole wheat flour, that’s nearly fat free (in the cake base), and allowed me to try out a new AMAZING ingredient that I just bought, coconut oil, in the ganache! You guys should check out ifoodreal for the whole spiel 🙂
The coconut oil, I will warn you if you’re not a coconut fan, does retain some of the floral-coconutty notes. However, I really like coconut oil’s melting point and how incredibly luxurious it tastes. It melts on your tongue instantly – yet hardens when it cools like a true ganache. Heaven!
Also, it’s crucial for this cake that you have a spring form pan so that the ganache stays on the sides when you pour it on. This eliminates the need to spread on the ganache, because you can just drizzle it over the top; so much easier!
Using my own creativity (and inspiration from admiring Momofuku’s birthday cake), I made the cake a layered one with a cake “crumb” filling, much like Momofuku’s. I didn’t use any butter in the entire recipe, so it’s definitely not as rich as theirs, but hey, it looks beautiful and I had a lot of ton making it! If you’re not used to low-fat cakes, it’ll take some getting used to. But, as my mom remarked, “you could eat this for breakfast!”
Whole Wheat Chocolate Cake with Coconut Ganache
- 2 large eggs
- 1/2 cup milk (I used 1%, even nut milks should work, though)
- 3/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
- 1/2 cup honey
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 cups whole wheat flour
- 1/3 cup cocoa powder
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1/4 tsp baking soda
- 1/4 tsp salt
- Baked cake from small pan
- 2 Tbs milk (or any liquid, rum would be nice!)
- 1 cup chocolate chips (I used Guittard 62%)
- 1/2 cup coconut oil
- 1/4 cup honey
- 1/4 cup cocoa powder (I used hershey’s extra dark)
For the cake: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees, and grease or spray either an 8′ or 6′ spring form pan. Also grease a small loaf sized pan or about 3 ramekins to make the cake “crumbs”. The size of pan doesn’t matter too much, but do keep in mind baking times may vary because of this.
Mix the liquid ingredients in one bowl, until well combined. In a separate bowl stir together the dry ingredients. Slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet, and mix with an electric mixer on medium-low or by hand until just combined.
Pour about a half cup of the batter into the loaf pan or ramekins, and put the rest of the batter into a greased cake/spring form pan and put in the oven for about 20 minutes. Take the small portion of cake “crumbs” out of the oven and set aside. Leave the rest of the cake in the oven for about 20 more minutes. Add additional time if necessary, in five minute increments, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
Immediately put the cake (in its pan!) in the freezer for about 1 hour to firm up. Leave the crumbs at room temperature.
For the Ganache: Melt the coconut oil in a measuring cup in the microwave for about 30 seconds, or over the stove for about 1 minute. Stir in the cocoa powder and agave. Chill in the fridge for about 1 hour, until the ganache is the consistency of melted chocolate. Waited too long to chill, and now it’s too hard? Put the ganache in the microwave to soften it up.
For the Filling: Put the cake crumbs in a large bowl and break the cake up into large crumb-size pieces. Mix in the 1 cup of chocolate chips, and milk with a spoon, until it forms a moist crumbly mixture. Set covered in the fridge.
For the assembly: Take the cake out of the freezer and carefully run a knife around the edges to unmold it. Slice the cake into three even rings, ignoring the “dome” topped shape. We’re not going to trim this off – it gives the cake character and height!
Now put one layer on the bottom of the cake mold. Add a quarter of the cake crumbs in an even layer, and drizzle about a quarter cup of ganache. Repeat until their are no more cake disks and the “dome” layer is on top. Press the dome layer down, gently, to secure the other cake layers. Now pour the remainder of the chocolate ganache over the cake, allowing it to drip down the cake INSIDE of the mold.
If you feel the ganache will overflow, press down the layers of the cake firmly so that there is enough edge on the cake mold to not overflow. Sprinkle the remainder of cake crumbs over the cake, cover, and let chill in the fridge for at least 1 hour. When ready to serve, carefully remove the sides of the spring form pan and transfer to a plate. Good Luck!