Posts in Chocolate
Chocolatey Banana Cake

Dear Everyone!

Today's post is a special one for me. I posted a picture of this scrumptious cake on Instagram a couple of weeks ago and received several requests for the recipe, which led to the creation of what you are reading right now! The reason that this is so special, is that I am very passionate about community engagement. And nothing could bring me more joy than to share a post that is inspired by my community. 

This cake is a take on Christina Avaness' recipe for Chacocoban Cake in her book Living Beyond Organic- nutritional knowledge redefined! (1) Christina is my dear friend and mentor and she has taught me so much about foods that nurture my body and my creativity. So it's a huge honor to share this yumminess in honor of her! 

And since I always like to weave in my two cents as far as creativity goes... even though this recipe is a desserty treat, it'll still nourish your creative vessel thanks to an abundance of coconut oil, dark chocolate and, of course, BANANAS. The medium chain fatty acids (MCFAs) found in coconut oil feed your brain cells and boost your energy & endurance. Dark chocolate and bananas are both memory and mood boosting. Also, I love this recipe because it doesn't require any added sugar. The sweetness comes purely from the bananas & the dark chocolate. So you don't end up getting a crazy sugar rush, but rather, can focus fully on tasting all of the yummy flavors. 

Ingredients
(use organic whenever possible)

One 9" x2" pie dish (I know this technically isn't a pie, but for some reason I enjoy using a pie dish when I'm making this cake) 

4 large bananas (as ripe as possible. If they're already starting to look brown and kind of unappealing, that's exactly how you want them to look =))
1 cup raw coconut flour
1/2 cup organic sprouted wheat flour
1/2 cup organic barley flour
2.5 cups goat milk (any type of nut milk works great as well) 
3/4 cups raw coconut oil
3oz 70% organic baking chocolate, chopped into course chocolate chips (I love Theo. If you want your cake to be really deep and chocolatey, you can use a higher cacao percentage. But because I'm not using any other types of sugar, I've found that I like my chocolate chips slightly sweeter for this recipe)
1/2 cup dry roasted almond slivers (optional, for extra crunch)
3 tsps organic vanilla extract
2 tbsps organic baking powder
1/2 tsp organic baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
pinch Real Salt
organic chocolate syrup (to drizzle on top, optional) 

Preheat oven to 375º. Combine bananas, vanilla extract and coconut oil in a bowl, mash together with a fork. Stir in chocolate chips and almond slivers. In a separate bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and Real Salt. Whisk until all dry ingredients are distributed evenly. Add dry ingredients and goat milk to banana mixture in half-cup increments, gently stirring as you go along. Once all ingredients are mixed together, add to greased pie dish (I used the leftover coconut oil to grease my dish). Place in oven. Bake for 45-60 min. Note that your knife will never come out completely clean because of the moisture of the bananas. Remove from oven & let cool. Once the cake has cooled, I love drizzling it with organic chocolate syrup. 

This cake is super yummy by itself. But I can imagine that adding a scoop of vanilla coconut milk ice cream will make it even more decadent. 

Other than chocolatey banana cake goodness, things that are happening in my life right now include: another secret project I am working on! I say another, because before it was birthed into creation, I referred to this blog as a "secret project" as well. I've found that there's a certain power in not revealing what you are working on until it becomes a tangible, concrete thing. That doesn't mean that I'm not bursting with excitement to share this secret endeavor with you all, but I know that for the time being, I'll pour that energy into the work of completing it. So, I better stop writing about it before something slips out... 

May this yummy banana cake treat your creativity, your sweet tooth and your soul.

I wish you all so much creativity, joy and inspiration.

Leah 

--
author: Leah Salinas // photos by: Leah Salinas

Sources

(1) Avaness, Christina. Living Beyond Organic- nutritional knowledge redefined!. Las Vegas: Tiara Publishing, 2009. Print. p. 154

truffl'd raw chocolates & a recipe

part deux // piece two

we thought we'd kick off our first real CACAO post with the recipe that started it all: truffl'd raw chocolates!

as you may already know (and if you’re one of my friends reading this you probably already know), i make raw chocolate truffles (they're more like little delicious melt-in-your-mouth chocolate nuggets) -- the key piece being they are made of raw cacao instead of your typical chocolate made out of cocoa. cocoa is roasted bean. cacao is the raw good stuff.

so i might as well tell you, this recipe is not really a recipe.. it’s more of a guideline, for you, and for me. it’s what’s come out of a lot of experimentation and is quite simply my unique way of combining the ingredients. there are tons of chocolate recipes out there (search Chocolate-anything on Pinterest and prepare to oggle). the very first time i made proper chocolate, i followed the recipe of one of my favorite seasonal cooks Sarah Britton of My New Roots. it was yummy and delightful, as all her recipes are, but i knew it wasn’t exactly what I was looking for. i like Super dark chocolate andd... i didn’t want it to have a lot of sugar, if any. and quite honestly i wasn’t finding what i was looking for, so i set out to figure out how to make it myself.  if you’re not seeing what you want in the world, you make it yourself right?

when i did that, i was really thinking it would be just for me - as in, i’d be the only person who enjoyed this super dark chocolatey stuff; to my surprise it was really well-loved and well-received by those around me, most especially my roommates who got to be my delightful and delighted guinea pigs :)

why raw cacao? well, i noticed these tend to be the most expensive chocolates, so i figured there must be something to it. that’s one. and two, i’d been interested in raw foods for a good while, so i figured it was worth a shot. never did i imagine the profound effects cacao would have -- which i’ll get into deeper in a later post. 

and well, here's where the magic happens…. :]

before you, you have your sort-of recipe. this is an open invitation to fail, succeed, trust where your intuition leads you. Play! have fun, Experiment! in essence, all you really need are three ingredients to make chocolate - cacao, a good fat, and a sweetener of choice. i've given you some guidance on proportions and such, but really, let freedom ring! it may take a couple of goes to get it to your exact liking, but truly it's hard to go wrong. that's one of the many amazing things about making chocolate - it'll always be tasty, and messy! :) i urge you to make some of it up as you go . 

MAGICAL RAW CHOCOLATE TRUFFLES: THE RECIPE 

(prep & cook time: this should take no longer than 90 mins including cleanup time. i am one for simple no-fuss recipes that require as few conventional appliances as possible).

*ingredients for magical raw chocolate truffles*:

  • raw cacao butter **
  • raw cacao  **
  • vanilla (i use vanilla bean but i imagine extract could work too!)
  • coconut oil (organic virgin or extra virgin)
  • cinnamon (i like grinding whole cinnamon sticks, the fresh-ground flavor is truly incomparable!)
  • salt (i use Real Salt for its specific health properties)
  • your sweetener of choice (syrupy consistency works best; i use raw honey or organic brown rice syrup and would like to invest in Yakon syrup - there couldn't be a better fit for chocolate!)
  • love <3 (but seriously this last one is the key ingredient in my opinion :))

*basically all the ingredients should be as close to their natural states as possible. you can also make this recipe without cacao butter; the butter adds the richness and cohesiveness and the amazing smell. yumm

**organic and fair trade are really important when it comes to chocolate; much like coffee, common practice is to use pesticides and unfair working conditions for the people who grow this amazing food. please consider this when you purchase your chocolate

step 1: use what you've already got in your kitchen. this recipe is all about simplicity! what are the basics you have (or want) in your kitchen, and go from there. seriously, if you have cocoa  (instead of cacao) - use that! it's all about the process anyhow, like many if not most things in life. and trust me you're going to want to make these again - so use what you already have and go from there :]
step 2: melt three cups (total) coconut oil and cacao butter in a makeshift double boiler (or real double-boiler if you happen to have one :]). i go for as low a heat as possible to preserve the "rawness" of this recipe, but you can go as hot as you want. the coconut oil melts first and actually helps the cacao butter melt. i do roughly ⅓  coconut oil to ⅔ cacao butter. any combination of the two goes. the more coconut oil you put, the more melt-in-your-mouth (and in-your-hand) effect you’ll have.
step 3: while the cacao butter-coconut oil blend is melting together, put a couple tsp's vanilla, and a couple tsp's cinnamon + a tiny pinch of salt in a large mixing bowl. 
step 4: once the cacao butter-coconut oil is fully melted, pour it into that large mixing bowl. grab a sieve if you have one and sift raw cacao powder into the oil while you whisk ‘em together. keep sifting cacao in until you’ve reached your desired flavor - ie. darker or more milk chocolatey.* your arm will get a workout :O. Add in a syrupy sweetener, as much as you prefer, and you can continue adjusting the cacao powder to sweetness to fats ratio* as you go.

*you’re going for ooey gooey fudgy consistency (where you have to scoop out the mixture with a spatula) or a more liquidy consistency (where you can pour the mixture into the molds right from your mixing bowl). either yields amazing chocolate. i’ve had chalky chocolate and more buttery-rich chocolate - both are yum! the fun part is you get to play around, and see what you like! same goes for sweetness. i add raw honey if i’m looking to up my sweetness - a little bit goes a long way and it happens to have incredible health benefits :]

step 5: when you like what you've got, pour the chocolatey mixture into a mold. i use small ice cube trays. (if you’ve made your chocolate quite dark and are using full-sized ice cube trays, i recommend cutting your chocolate into at least 2 or 3 portions when it comes time to enjoy them as the energizing effects of cacao can be quite intense, especially if you’re more susceptible to caffeine). place molds in your freezer to cook. in 20-35 minutes they’re ready to punch out of the molds and enjoy. store in sealed container (mason jars are super) in the coolest section of your fridge or in a wine cooler. *refrigeration is just to keep the coconut oil from melting and preserve the shape of your truffley chocolatey nuggets.

final tidbits: i tend to play around with a lot of different ingredients - i call these confetti ingredients. i happen to have a small confection of things in my pantry, so sometimes i’ll add cayenne, spirulina, things like that to the mix. you can pretty much add in any additional ingredients you want, as long as it doesn’t sacrifice the overall consistency of the truffle; meaning, as long as it doesn’t get too powder-packed. i typically add in more of the liquidy coconut oil-cocoa butter blend to bring it back to smooth delightful dark chocolatey goo.  

in closing: what i find truly great is these never come out perfect. there. is. no. perfect. chocolate. yup, i said it. what a relief right?! they’ll pretty much always taste good no matter what, because you’ve got an awesome combination of ingredients. and you know generally speaking what you intend to make out of this combination. and then well presto- you’ve got magical delicious yummy chocolate bringing joy and energy and inspiration to everyone who has ‘em, including you.

P.S. you can save some of your mixture and add it to the bottom of a small mug to make a raw chocolate cup! it's delightfully fun to scoop out

that’s all for now. more on chocolate-making and the specific ingredients that make up this wonder of a food coming up <3

with love & chocolate,

Juliana Mariia Rose & Leah Salinas