Not your average chocolate cake, but a combination rich in flavour with a healthier twist.
What gives pumpkins their colour? Carotenoids, the same chemical compounds (phytonutrients) that give carrots their bright orange colour. Carotenoids are plant pigments that have many health benefits. They also have an important role in plants’ health, since they are involved in the process of absorbing light and use it in the photosynthesis.
Carotenoids are mainly known for their antioxidant properties, but they are also recognised as anti-inflammatory and useful to boost the immune system. Some carotenoids are converted in the human body into vitamin A, that helps with eye health, immune functions, growth, skin and cellular health..just to name a few. Alpha-carotene, beta-carotene, and beta-cryptoxanthin are provitamin A carotenoids. Vitamin A is fat soluble, means that lipids help the absorption of the provitamin. Beta-carotene is the responsible for the orange colour of food. Pumpkins, mangoes, carrots, papaya, and sweet potatoes are good sources of beta-carotene.
Check out this infographic about pumpkins: http://cen.acs.org/content/dam/cen/static/pdfs/Article_Assets/93/09340-scitech2.pdf
Dark Chocolate and Pumpkin Cake
350 g cooked pumpkin (preferably roasted)
100 g wholegrain spelt flour (use brown rice flour for a gluten-free version)
100 g dark chocolate 70-85%
10 small dates or 2 tsp date syrup
60 g ghee or butter
1 tbsp chopped nuts (almonds or hazelnuts)
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp cinnamon powder
1 tsp ginger powder
a pinch of salt
a pinch of black pepper
a pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
conventional or plant-based milk, a few tbsp
½ vanilla pod
Cook the pumpkin, then mash it or use a blender for a much smooth consistency (if the pumpkin is roasted will have less water at the end and will be richer in flavour). If you’re using dates: soak them in warm water for 15-20 min. then use the blender to get a nice paste or chop the dates into small pieces: same for the nuts. If you have a blender, put together the pumpkin, dates, and nuts with a couple of tbsp of liquid (just the minimum amount to be able to blend everything). Melt the chocolate with 1 tbsp of milk.
In a mixing bowl, combine the eggs, spices, and softened ghee or butter. Then add the pumpkin, dates or syrup, nuts, and chocolate (previously melted and then cooled down). Add the flour and baking powder (you can increase the amount of flour if you have added too much liquid in the initial step).
Grease a cake tin with a little ghee/butter and sprinkle it with some flour, to prevent the batter from sticking. Bake in a preheated oven at 180°C for 25-35 min. (depends on the size of your pan), until it has a nice crust on top. Take out from the oven and allow to cool completely before carefully removing the cake from the tin. Can be kept in the fridge for 2-3 days.
(In the picture is served with a dollop of yogurt and some lemon zest).
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