This is probably one of the easiest cakes I’ve ever made. Healthy chocolate cake and whipped coconut icing, with cherries, making a delicious but simple version of a Gâteau Forêt Noire (Black Forest Cake).
I’ve been trying to find options for icing that would be dairy-free because my husband can’t have any, but also soy-free because we try to stay away from soy (especially soy extract!) as much as possible, because # 1, almost 100% of soy and soy extract on the market come from genetically modified soy (GMO). I do occasionally use an organic vegan butter to make icing for cupcakes and cakes that contains a bit of soy, but whenever possible, I try to come up with a dairy-free and soy-free option, such as this one.
The issue with soy
Soy is one of those foods that somehow got thrown into the “healthy” category for no other reason that it’s used as a dairy alternatives and that it contains a lot of proteins, but given that soy mimics female hormones (estrogens), eating too much of it can become a health issue in the long run (some studies have linked it to breast cancer, amongst other risks). Plus, I read a while ago about why soy has been good in the Asian cultures, but isn’t necessarily in our Western culture: for one, the Asian population has different digestive enzymes than we do, making it easier for them to digest soy. Raw soy is actually toxic, so it always has to be cooked, which I’m guessing can become problematic in large commercial operations. Who knows if it’s cooked properly? Also, soy has pretty much always been used whole, and in a fermented way in their diets (tofu, old fashioned soy sauce, etc.), but the commercial soy found in western culture is not very often fermented (even tofu), and more often than not, is used only in parts (extracts). All of those little bits of information have been part of my decision to stay away from soy, as much as I can, within my control. I occasionally use a traditional organic soy sauce, but I also use a coconut amino sauce that replaces soy sauce, so I alternate. Other than that, I avoid soy in all forms (milk, tofu, etc.).
So, back to this dilemma of finding dairy-free and soy-free icing, I’ve decided to make whipped coconut cream! I’m not a pro at making whipped coconut cream, but this one turned out pretty good, and even if it’s not very “solid”, it makes it easy to just pour over the cake and use a knife to spread it.
This cake has 4 layers, only 1 of them has whipped coconut cream, the other 2 got some of my homemade Strawberry Chia Jam from last summer. A detail not to be overlooked, as it created an amazingly intense chocolate and fruit flavour that reminded me of a Forêt Noire cake (Black Forest cake)! Very tasty, soft, and moist, despite the fact that I only used wholegrain flours: no white flour for me! But no one would’ve known (hint: a great way to get your picky eaters in the family to eat wholegrains without them knowing!) 😉
Inspired by my Olive Oil Devil’s Food Cake.
Healthy Chocolate Cake and Whipped Coconut Icing | Dairy-Free, Soy-Free, Low Sugar, Wholegrain
One of the easiest cake to make: Healthy chocolate cake and whipped coconut icing! Dairy-free, no wheat, low sugar, no soy.
- 1 cup rye flour
- 1 cup spelt flour
- 1 tsp aluminum-free baking powder
- ¼ tsp sea salt
- ½ cup cocoa powder Dutch-processed
- 3/4 cup rice milk (or nut milk)
- 1 tbsp pure vanilla extract
- 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 1/4 cup organic unbleached sugar
- 1/4 cup organic whole sugar (Sucanat)
- 4 organic free-range eggs lightly beaten
- 1 cup organic strawberry jam low sugar
- 796 ml full fat coconut milk (2 x 398 ml cans), put in fridge for a few hours to solidify the cream on top
- 2 Tbsp maple syrup
- 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
- You'll need 2 x 9" diameter (round) cake pans. Line the bottom of both pans with parchment paper (cut the parchment paper to fit) and use a bit of olive oil to 'glue' it to the bottom.
- In a mixing bowl, mix the flours, sugars, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt.
In another bowl, mix the eggs, rice milk, olive oil and vanilla. Combine the 2 bowls together.
- Pour the batter into the 2 prepared round cake pans. Smooth the tops.
- Bake in a 350F (180C) oven for about 25-30 minutes, or until cooked through (you can use a toothpick or a small knife to pierce the cake, if it comes out clean, it's cooked! If it still looks wet, it needs to cook a few more minutes).
- When it's cooked, remove from oven and let cool for 10-15 minutes in the pans. Then run a butter knife all around the pans to help get the cakes out, flip on a cooling rack and let cool completely (at least an hour or two), then put a plate on top and flip over.
- Let the cakes cool completely before attempting to put any icing on them, otherwise the icing will melt! You can even put the cakes in the fridge for 20-30 minutes to make sure they are completely cold.
- To make the icing, remove the coconut milk cans from the fridge, open, and using a spoon, carefully remove the hard cream on top to put into a small or medium mixing bowl. Be careful to only use the cream and not the water that will be at the bottom of the can. Using your hand mixer with a whisk attachment, beat the coconut cream until fluffy (this might take a few minutes), then add the maple syrup and vanilla, and whisk some more until the cream is light and fluffy. If you notice that the fluffiness is starting to change back into liquid, stop immediately. Put in fridge for about 10-15 minutes to cool it down, but no more, otherwise it'll harden.
- You'll need to level each layers so that they are flat, so you might need to cut some of the tops off. If you want more layers, you can cut them in half.
- Always put each layers top side down, so that the bottom becomes the top.
- Once you have all your layers ready, put icing and jam in between each of them, one layer at a time. I put jam on the first layer, then coconut cream, and then jam.
- Once finished, pour the prepared whipped coconut cream on top, and using an icing spatula, spread a thick layer of icing all around the cake.
You can add sprinkles if you wish to, or not. Put in the fridge at least 20 minutes to set the icing. Enjoy!
- You can make the cake layers 2 days ahead, and ice the whole cake the day before your event, that way, no stress during your party! 🙂
If you're rushed for time, you can also find at the store an organic whipped coconut cream pre-made that is found in the frozen aisle. It's not as healthy, but pretty good.
Note: I do not believe anyone should worry about counting calories, but here is the nutritional information for one serving
Calories: 571kcal | Fat: 38g | Saturated fat: 21g | Cholesterol: 81mg | Sodium: 128mg | Potassium: 472mg | Carbohydrates: 60g | Fiber: 5g | Sugar: 27g | Protein: 9g | Vitamin A: 2.4% | Vitamin C: 1.2% | Calcium: 7.7% | Iron: 31.6%