She wasn't asking me to remake the recipe for her, but simply hoping that I could give her a basic ratio of all purpose flour to almond flour so she might be able to recreate it. Unfortunately, it is sometimes difficult to do that because it also depends on the ratio of other ingredients in the recipe, particularly the liquid ingredients. The original recipe contained 1 cup of oil, 1 cup of buttermilk and 1 cup of coffee, in addition to the eggs. That is a lot of liquid when using almond flour which isn't anywhere near as absorbent as regular all purpose flour is. So, I gave her some suggestions off the top of my head that she could try and suggested she try making a half-version first so she didn't waste a lot of the more expensive ingredients while she tweaked it to get it just right.
Well, the more I thought about her cake and the special significance it held...I knew that I was going to have to see what I could do to help her. Food is tied to so many of our memories, particularly some of our best childhood memories. Whether it be the special cake our mother's made us every year for our birthday or the certain kind of cookies or fruitcake our grandmother's baked every Christmas...a simple recipe can take us right back to those special memories in an instant. My grandmother made us a fruitcake every year for Christmas and she cracked and shelled the nuts by hand. I was the one in the family that really loved her fruitcake because she always put in more nuts than fruit. So, yesterday I made a half-sized version of this cake to see how it would turn out. It reminded me in some ways of the Pioneer Woman's Texas Sheet Cake recipe I had made years ago. It's a moist chocolate cake and I baked it in a jellyroll style pan so it isn't thick, but more like the thickness of a pan of brownies. Ironically, late last night as I was writing up the recipe from my handwritten notes, Pamela messaged me and said she had tried some of my suggestions and it was very close. I shared with her that I had actually made it yesterday as well and photographed it and was in the process of writing it up to post today. I told her that once she saw what I had done and compared it with her tweaks that we would fine tune it to make it "perfect." I ate a piece last night and another little one this morning at breakfast. I really, REALLY like it...it's super moist and decadent and I find a small piece of it very satisfying.
Since she didn't have the specific frosting recipe, only the ingredients that went into it (butter, milk, cocoa powder and powdered sugar), I decided to make a quick and ridiculously easy chocolate ganache frosting recipe that consists only of melted dark chocolate, heavy cream and a pinch of espresso powder and then it's poured hot over the cooled cake, spread out and topped with chopped pecans. You can frost it however you like (she said sometimes they didn't even bother frosting it because it was so moist). If you decide to double this recipe and make the full sized version of this cake, it can be baked in a 9" x 13" baking pan, but you will need to adjust and increase the baking time. So, I would like to officially present you with MJ's Fourth Generation Chocolate Cake. Enjoy!
|Freshly frosted with Chocolate Ganache Frosting
|This is the cake this morning after the frosting set up overnight.
MJ's Fourth Generation Chocolate Cake
1/2 cup powdered Swerve Sweetener, or preferred sweetener like erythritol or xylitol (increase sweetener up to 1 cup total if a sweeter cake is desired)
1/4 cup cocoa powder (I used deep dark Valrhona, but any type is fine)
1 1/2 cups blanched almond flour
2 Tablespoons coconut flour
1 large egg
1/2 cup buttermilk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 Tablespoons NuStevia Simple Syrup (or substitute preferred stevia, to taste)
1/4 cup extra light olive oil (not regular olive oil)
1/2 cup hot brewed coffee
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease a nonstick 10" x 15" x 1" jellyroll style pan (if doubling the recipe, use a 9" x 13" nonstick cake pan).
In a large bowl, sift together the powdered sweetener, cocoa powder, almond flour and coconut flour.
In a small bowl, beat the egg, buttermilk, vanilla and liquid stevia together; whisk and stir into the flour mixture. Taste for sweetness and add more, if necessary.
Add the oil and hot coffee; whisk together until a thin, smooth batter forms. Pour batter into prepared baking pan. Bake for 22 to 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean (a clinging crumb or two is okay). Do not overbake. Cool and frost, if desired.
*Notes: I reduced the sweetener a bit from the original recipe (there would have been 1 cup of sugar in this half recipe version). I combined powdered Swerve and liquid stevia to equal about 3/4 cup of sugar in sweetness; if you prefer a sweeter cake, increase the total amount of sweetener up to 1 cup (taste to adjust as you go). This recipe is a half-recipe version of the original recipe. If you wish to make a full sized recipe, double all ingredients and bake in a 9" x 13" baking pan and adjust the bake time accordingly. (The original frosting recipe consisted of melted butter, milk, and cocoa powder heated together on the stove top and then poured over a box of powdered sugar and pecans were stirred in). I chose to make a simple stove top Chocolate Ganache Frosting and topped with chopped pecans (recipe below).
**Optional Chocolate Ganache Frosting Recipe: Melt approximately 8 ounces of dark chocolate chips or chunks (I used 71% cacao) over a double boiler in 1/2 cup of heavy cream; stirring frequently until melted and smooth. Add a couple pinches of instant espresso powder to deepen the chocolate flavor, if desired. Whisk until smooth. Pour hot frosting over cake and spread until smooth with an angled icing spatula; sprinkle with 1/2 cup chopped pecans. If you prefer your ganache thinner; add more cream and if you want it thicker, reduce the amount of cream.