June is ‘birthday month’ in my family. My Mum and Dad were meticulously planned when it came to having babies, resulting in my brother, sister and I being born within weeks of each other, all in the month of June, all 2 years apart. Growing up I used to think how lucky we were because we got to celebrate our birthdays over the course of a whole month rather than just a day. Every year without fail we lurched from one birthday party to the next, one weekend after the other. The house was filled with balloons, party poppers and endless supplies of cake for the entire month by the time we had celebrated all three birthdays.
By so well, Mum and Dad had effectively created our very own month long event on the ‘festivities’ calendar each year which we continue to look forward to each and every year, even as grown adults. Rather than the typical 2 festive periods each year which most families enjoy, our family celebrates three festive periods…..Christmas in December, Easter in April, and Birthdays in June. How lucky are we?
My husband is still completely amazed at how much excitement the month of June generates in our family, as birthday’s for him have always been about celebrating one specific day of the year……oh no, not in our family. Why celebrate for a day, when you can celebrate all month? Lucky for us our birthdays are spaced evenly enough to feel like we have our own special days of celebration yet close enough together to ensure we have a month long continuous ‘festival’ of family gatherings, pressies and of course…..cake. June is the month of cake!
It sounds slightly lame admitting that at the age of 34, 36 and 38 our Mum still makes our birthday cakes most years, but it is all part of the birthday festivities we have made a tradition, and whilst we no longer spend the days leading up to our birthday trawling the pages of the Women’s Weekly Birthday Cake cookbook for the ‘best cake ever’, we still put in our own unique requests each year for the cake of our choice, and every year Mum goes about making that request into reality, because that’s what Mum’s do.
But this year, Mum was a little stumped as to what to make considering we no longer consume the majority of ingredients found in the good old fashion butter cakes made in previous years, so I decided to give Mum the year off and experiment to create a paleo friendly, gluten free, grain free, dairy free and refined sugar free chocolate cake which we could all enjoy but wouldn’t send me and the boys into another orbit. And what do you know, it actually turned out a treat. Everyone enjoyed it, even Dad.
I know….I lost some of you at ‘sugar free’ cake didn’t I? But stick with me, this recipe is a gem. The sweetness in this cake is provided by a combination of low GI natural coconut sugar and vanilla. I urge you to give it a go and see that even a moist, rich, decadent chocolate cake can be created using wholefood ingredients if you think outside the square a little.
This recipe was adapted from one of Lola Berry’s creations featured in ‘The Happy Cookbook’, with a few modifications made along the way. And as Lola describes it….’it looks epic, it tastes heavenly and it’s the perfect paleo cake’….a masterpiece to complete any birthday festival. Enjoy!
- 3 cups of almond meal
- ¼ cup coconut flour
- ¾ cup raw cacao powder
- 1 vanilla pod (seeds scraped) or a pinch of vanilla powder
- 1 cup coconut sugar
- 2 tsp baking soda
- ½ cup coconut oil, melted
- 3 large eggs
- 1 cup coconut milk (full-cream)
Coconut cream centre
- 1 can coconut cream (chilled in the freezer for an hour prior to whipping)
- 1 vanilla pod (seeds scraped)
- 1 ½ cups of full cream coconut milk
- 4 tablespoons maple syrup
- ½ cup raw cacao powder
- Preheat the oven to 180˚C. Lightly grease the bottom and sides of a 18cm springform cake tin with coconut oil.
- In a bowl, mix together the almond meal, coconut flour, cacao powder, vanilla, coconut sugar and baking soda until well combined.
- Mix the melted coconut oil, eggs and coconut milk. Make sure the oil is not too hot as it will scramble the eggs. Then slowly add your wet ingredients to the dry and mix together really well; you want a smooth mixture. Pour into the prepared cake tin and bake for 40 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean. Let the cake cool on a wire cooling rack.
- Once cool, cut the cake into two halves horizontally.
- For the coconut cream centre, whip the chilled coconut cream with vanilla until thick peaks form. Then spread the cream onto the bottom half of the cake , then place the top layer of the cake on top. If you have left over cream, save it to serve with the cake.
- Now for the ganache. In a medium saucepan, heat the coconut milk and maple syrup slowly and gently, stirring it every now and then until it becomes nice and thick. Be patient, this can take a while (up to an hour). Once it is super thick, add the cacao powder and the vanilla seeds and stir for another few minutes then pop in the fridge for 30 minutes to cool and thicken some more. Once cooled, spread it on the top and sides of the cake, then top with your favourite little additions, like edible flowers, nuts or for added decadence why not add dark chocolate coated macadamia nuts….that’s what I did. Yum.