I never intentionally bake anything healthy. If I do make something that happens to lack a shitload of butter, rest assured it was entirely accidental. Not that this recipe is classified as healthy, but instead of butter it uses glorious coconut milk. Even the ganache is made with coconut milk instead of cream. And let me tell you, it’s absolutely incredible. So rich, fudgy and m-o-i-s-t (I’m spelling out that word because it gives me the creeps).
I was slightly concerned that this cake would taste like suntan lotion, but actually there is just the merest hint of coconut flavour. My kitchen smelled like a Bounty chocolate bar while it was baking, but the final product was really much less coconutty than you’d expect. The ganache elevates this delicious cake to levels beyond expectation. Trust me when I say you don’t need massive slices – I cut the cake into smallish squares purely because I like the look of squares, but they were (surprisingly) the perfect serving size given how deliciously rich this cake is.
I gave the cake a quick drench of ganache for these photos, but later when the ganache thickened to a Nutella-like spreadable consistency, I added a much thicker layer which was so good I wanted to cry tears of happiness. I admit that I did have a confusing half an hour of indecision regarding whether I should use the tried-and-true cream or to take the risk with coconut cream in the ganache. It’s not like I absolutely had to go dairy-free with this cake or anything, but damn it’s hard to wean yourself off cream, isn’t it? Please God never let me become lactose intolerant.
There’s still enough chocolate in this cake to make up for the lack of dairy though, boosted by the cocoa powder which is a little out of character for me as I usually stick to 100% real chocolate. I love how there are always reports about the benefits of eating more dark chocolate. Someone really needs to tell scientists to stop trying to find reasons for us to eat more chocolate unless this is just something they’re working on in their spare time or something.
I didn’t even miss the butter and cream in this. You have no idea how difficult it was for me to admit that.
Coconut Milk Chocolate Cake with Coconut Chocolate Ganache
(adapted from Poires Au Chocolat)
100g 70% dark chocolate, broken into small pieces
85g quality cocoa powder
200ml boiling water
145g plain flour
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
90g unsalted butter
230g caster sugar
50g dark muscovado sugar
270ml coconut milk
125ml coconut cream
150g milk chocolate
Preheat oven to 180C. Place the dark chocolate and cocoa powder into a bowl and pour in boiling water. Leave for a minute to allow the chocolate to melt and then stir to combine until smooth. Leave to cool.
Melt the butter in a bowl in the microwave and pour into the bowl of a mixer. Add the dark sugar and the caster sugar to the melted butter and beat until combined before adding the eggs one at a time until the mixture is smooth. While the beaters are running on a low speed, pour in the coconut milk until combined. Add the flour, bicarbonate of soda and baking powder and mix briefly until combined. Do not overmix.
Line a 20cm square pan with baking paper and pour the chocolate mixture in. Bake for 30 – 40 minutes or until a skewer inserted comes out with a few crumbs stuck to it but no liquid. It’s better for the cake to be slightly underbaked than overbaked as it is meant to be a fudgy cake. Cool on a cake rack.
For the ganache, place the milk chocolate into a bowl. Heat the coconut cream until simmering and pour it over the milk chocolate. Leave for a minute to melt the chocolate and then whisk to combine until smooth and glossy. Leave the ganache to cool before spreading on the cooled cake. The ganache will thicken as it cools.