This version of a versatile chocolate cake base is one of our favorites, not just because of taste but also the variations in ingredients that can be made.
You can easily make it a vegan, and gluten free cake. We’ve done that using an egg substitute made with nut or rice milk. We like the egg white and old sourdough rye starter more because we often have those lying around.
You could replace the sourdough starter with mascarpone cheese or cultured butter or cocoa butter. Otherwise, the only fat would come from the finely ground almonds and the unsweetened chocolate you chose to use instead of the cocoa powder. It’s all good.
The version that results from the recipe below is not at all sweet, has very little fat, but is very satisfying with something to contrast all the deep goodness of the cake. Black coffee or milk kefir or nut milk or tea all work well. As does cow’s milk. People say this cake rocks with a stout beer.
You could simply slice and serve this cake. In this case we made an orange infused maple syrup, and served it with some cinnamon infused milk kefir for a probiotic kick.
You can also use maple syrup, infused or not, to soak the cake then freeze in slices for super easy ice cream sandwiches. Or you cold coat then with a semi-sweet chocolate coating – like tempered chocolate with a little corn syrup or a little maple syrup – then eat them straight out of the freezer.
This also makes a great bread pudding with eggs, milk, butter, sugar and sour cherries.
112 grams or 1 cup fine almond flour
55 grams unsweetened dark cocoa powder
278 grams old sourdough starter
55 g or 1/4 cup unrefined, organic sugar
6 egg whites
110 grams or 1/2 cup mirin (honey or rice syrup work as well)
1 TB baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 TB chocolate extract
Preheat your oven to 350F
Grease a 9 by 5 inches pan. Line with parchment paper to lift out.
In a large bowl, whip cocoa, sourdough starter and mirin
Whisk the eggs whites and the sugar side to side until peaks form.
Add the blended almond flour, baking soda and baking powder.
Add the sourdough, cocoa and mirin mix to the batter until blended.
Almost everything we bake, brew cook or ferment contains one or more microbes. Bacteria, yeasts, fungus and other fermented products that already contain microbes (like miso, milk kefir, and vinegar) work exceptionally well in and with baked goods.
Even if you set aside the yeasts common in bread baking, we almost always use shio-koji instead of salt, milk kefir or amasake instead of milk, and often lacto-fermented fruits,vegetables and even grains in baking.
Muffins and tea breads are basically are usually the same batter baked in different size baking pans. Obviously a bigger pan means a longer baking time, maybe 45 minutes as opposed to 30 minutes at 350F for the 8 big muffins that this recipe makes.
Our rules of muffin making as well as tea breads are simple.
The batter should be just barely mixed
The batter should be on the wetter side
Never fill a pan more than two thirds full
Add 1 tsp baking soda with the dry ingredients
Mix ins like nuts go with dry ingredients
Fruits and/or flavored essences or sauces go with wet stuff
Don’t mix in wet fruits or ferments until the end if color maters
Let muffin batter rest and puff up before spooning into cups
The recipe for these muffins pretty much follow the standard muffin ratio that every baker has memorized. Butter by weight equals sugar by weight. That combined weight is the weight of the flour. It’s also the weight in whatever measurement system you are using in liquid. In most cases add-ins like nuts or berries should never exceed in volume the sugar or flour volume.
Because we add a fermented or microbe inclusive ingredient to our baked goods – typically of a lower, acidic pH – we always add baking soda with the powder. Sourdough leavened muffins follow a different procedure based on bakers ratios that we’ll explain in another post.
8 ounces or 1 1/2 cups or 236 grams all purpose flour or other
4 ounces or 1/2 cup coconut palm sugar or other
2 tsp baking powder
4.3 ounces or 1 cup or 124 grams roasted chopped walnuts
3.1 ounces or 1/2 cup or 90 grams bittersweet chocolate chips/chunks
1.2 ounces or 2 TB or 32 grams shio-koji (or 1 tsp salt)
8 ounces or 3/4 cup or 230 grams rice amasake (or nut or dairy milk)
1 TB vanilla (or chocolate extract or mirin or soy sauce)
4.5 ounces or 2 extra large or 126 grams eggs (or two vegan eggs)
5 ounces or 1/2 cup or 156 grams dark maple syrup
4 ounces or 1/2 cup or 112 grams roasted walnut oil (or butter/oil)
Preheat oven to 350F.
Have bottom shelf ready for one or two muffin tins.
Prepare the tins with grease or just paper linings.
Struffoli is a traditional Italian holiday sweet that has many names and different regional variations. My grandmother used to make a very simple, tasty, and crispy version by rolling out tiny balls of dough that were fried in light olive oil until golden brown. Then they were covered with honey and colored sprinkles.
My version is fermented like Chinese noodles were thousands of years ago, made with garbanzo bean flour, and topped with lactofermented sour cheeries steeped in honey cooked to the soft ball stage with a traditional Japanese umeboshi (apricot) liquor. I made these recently and my family would not touch them.
They are very tasty, gluten free, and when made with a pasta maker and a sharp knife very easy. They don’t have the same crisp crunch or taste of her dozen eggs, five pounds of flour recipe, but only a fool would try to replicate the different treasures made by their grandmother.
2 1/2 cups (300 grams) chickpea flour
1/4 cup (48 grams) milk kefir
1 tsp shio-koji (or salt)
1 TB vanilla
Ferment in refrigerator for 48 hours, then add:
1 TB baking powder
1/4 cup Haiga rice bran or rice flour
3 TB refined coconut oil
1 tsp Xanthan gum, guar gum, agar or tapioca starch
Refrigerate another 24 hours. Either roll out thickly, or put through the thickest setting of a pasta machine. You could also make thick spaghetti or thick flat pasta and cut the strands into little pieces about a quarter inch thick. Refrigerate to harden.
Fry until golden in two batches of 350F light olive oil. Drain. Let them cool as with all gluten free items before tasting or transporting. Coat with pre-made honey Choya (plum liquor) sauce.
1/2 cup (78 grams) sour dried cherries
1/2 cup (118 grams) honey
1/2 cup (92 grams) water
1/4 cup of Choya that has been boiled down to a quarter of it’s volume.
When the syrup reaches the soft ball stage – it will look very much thicker – and is foaming remove from heat and pour on warm dough and mix. Caution this is very hot sugar! Mold into a ring or mound. Toasted blanched almond slices can be added.