This year I’m super excited about Easter, and not only because of the whole extra long weekend thing. This year, for the first time in ages, possibly a decade, my family are getting together for an Easter lunch.
And the best bit is that we’re hosting it at our new tiny farm house. Yay!
As Fergal is getting bigger (9 months already! See pic below) I’m really excited for him to spend more time with his city cousins.
So to get you in the Easter mood, today I have not one but 2 unusual ideas for chocolate treats.
Unusual Chocolate Idea Number 1.
The first is a silky smooth chocolate ganache. Rather than being made with cream, however, we’re upping the decadence and using unsalted butter instead.
It’s an idea I got from the packet of the butter I sometimes buy. And I have to say I don’t think I’ll be going back to using cream for my ganaches.
Yes. It’s that good.
You can use it as a chocolate sauce or as a frosting for cakes. Or even roll it into little balls and dust with cocoa powder for super easy truffles.
Chocolate Butter Ganache
This make a wonderful glossy topping to a chocolate cake. But feel free to let your imagination run wild with it!
Enough for the top of a 20cm (8in) round cake.
250g (9oz) unsalted butter
250g (9oz) dark chocolate
1. Melt butter in a small saucepan.
2. Break chocolate into chunks and place in a heatproof bowl.
3. Pour hot butter over the chocolate and allow to stand for a few minutes.
4. Stir until chocolate is melted and you have a lovely glossy mixture.
5. Cool until thick enough to spread on your cake.
different chocolate – milk chocolate will also work here. I haven’t tried white chocolate but it should be fine, you may need to refrigerate the mixture to get white chocolate to firm up due to the lower cocoa butter content.
dairy-free / vegan – replace butter with coconut oil.
Unusual Chocolate Idea Number 2.
I’ve been thinking about ways to include more vegetables in my baking. And a little while ago the idea to try chocolate and kale together popped into my head.
I mean if green smoothies work, why not?
And that’s how I came to develop this very unusual kale & chocolate cake.
This cake won’t be for everyone.
I personally love the subtle vegetable, almost tobacco-ey flavour the kale adds to the cake but I can imagine non-vegetable lovers seeing it as a crime against chocolate!
If you’re after a more purist chocolate cake recipe, this fudgy one is my favourite.
Kale & Chocolate Cake
If you are game to try this unusual cake, serve with a good vanilla ice cream or lashings of double cream.
Enough for 6-8
200g (7oz) butter
200g (7oz) chocolate (70% cocoa solids)
1/3 bunch kale (100g / 3.5oz) washed and chopped
4 eggs, separated
75g (3oz) sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
200g (7oz) almond meal
1. Preheat oven to 180C (350F). Melt butter in a small saucepan and use some to grease a 20cm (8in) spring form cake tin.
2. Whizz chocolate and kale together in a food processor until you have a very fine mixture.
3. Add the chocolate kale mixture to the hot butter and allow to stand off the heat.
3. Whisk whites with a pinch of salt until white and foamy and the volume doesn’t seem to be increasing any more.
4. Gently scatter in the sugar and keep whisking eggs for a minute or so. Then attend to the chocolate mixture.
5. Stir the melted chocolate / kale and butter together. Add egg yolks and vanilla. Stir. Add nuts. Stir.
6. Gently combine chocolate mixture with egg white mixture. Transfer to your prepared cake tin.
7. Bake for 20-30 minutes or until the top feels firm with a springy mass underneath. Cool on a wire rack.
different veg – replace kale with grated carrots, grated zucchini, roast beets, roast parsnip or roast sweet potato.
sugar-free – use 90% cocoa solids chocolate and replace the caster sugar with erythritol or a commercial erythritol / stevia blend like Natvia.
different nuts – I often use hazelnuts or pecans instead of the almond meal. Most nuts will work well here.
nut-free – You could try replacing the nuts with flour, but I’d be worried it would dry the cake out. My first step would be to replace half the nuts with an extra egg and replace the other half with extra chocolate to go for a flourless chocolate cake texture. I haven’t tried this so if you do, please let me know!
milk or white chocolate – again I haven’t tried these because I love dark chocolate so much, but there’s no reason they won’t work.
dairy-free – replace butter with vegetable oil or coconut oil.
vegan – I’m afraid we’re relying on egg whites for texture here so this isn’t a cake for vegans.