Salted caramel aubergine chocolate torte (GF)

Sorry for the slightly long title, but I really needed to include all the key elements of this cake so you know what we’re talking about.

First up, I lied – it’s not a cake. It it deliciously dense and squidgy, it sinks in the middle – it’s definitely a torte.

It’s chocolate. Super chocolate. But it also has probably the weirdest vegetable I’ve baked with replacing any butter or oil – aubergine.

And then there’s the salted caramel. What dessert isn’t improved by salted caramel?!

This is really a hybrid of two recipes from Green and Black’s Ultimate Chocolate Recipes – Harry Eastwood’s Heartache Cake, which I’ve made before, and a Velvet Salted Caramel Torte.

To make sure the caramel layer would stay in place and not mix in with the cake batter, I tweaked Harry’s recipe to whisk the egg whites separately and fold them into the mix last, so it would hold the weight of the caramel.

It worked – you can’t see too clearly in the photos, but there was a definite layer of caramel, and it took a great chocolate torte to another level – so, so good!

Seriously, don’t be put off by the aubergine, or the hassle of making caramel, it really is worth it – if only I could have another slice now…

Salted caramel aubergine chocolate torte (adapted from the Heartache Cake and Velvet Salted Caramel Torte in Green and Black’s Ultimate Chocolate Recipes)

For the caramel:

  • 90g caster sugar
  • 45ml water
  • 60g butter
  • 60ml double cream
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt (or more if you’re a salt fiend like me)

For the cake:

  • 1 medium aubergine (around 220g)
  • 150g dark chocolate, chopped
  • 2 medium eggs, separated
  • 100g clear honey
  • 25g cocoa powder
  • 60g ground almonds
  • 1 tbsp baking powder

For the caramel, heat the sugar and water in a saucepan stirring until the sugar dissolves, then leave to simmer until the syrup thickens and turns a rich amber colour. Remove from the heat and immediately whisk in the butter, cream and salt. Pour into a bowl or jug and set aside to cool.

Pierce the aubergine with a skewer or sharp knife all over, microwave for about 8 minutes on high, then leave until cool enough to handle. Peel off the skin, then puree the flesh in a food processor until no lumps remain. Stir in the chopped chocolate until melted – you might need to give it another quick blast in the microwave.

Beat the egg yolks, honey, cocoa powder, almonds and baking powder for about a minute, then add the aubergine chocolate mixture and beat again until well combined. Whisk the egg whites to stiff peaks in a separate bowl, then fold these into the cake batter a third at a time.

Spread two thirds of the mixture into a greased and lined 6″ round tin. Pour the caramel on top and spread to within 1cm of the edge of the tin. Top with the remaining cake mix and try to spread it as evenly as you can to cover the caramel.

Bake on a low shelf at 180 degrees (160 fan) for about half an hour, until the cake has risen and a skewer comes out clean. Leave to cool completely – it will sink in the middle, but that’s what you want. Remove from the tin, then slice and serve.

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Aubergine chocolate cake (GF, DF)

aubergine chocolate cake

I really hope seeing the words ‘aubergine’, ‘chocolate’ and ‘cake’ in the title don’t put people off reading this – it sounds odd, but it works, I promise!

I first learnt about this cake from the pony’s sister – she told me she’d heard about a flourless chocolate cake that used aubergines but didn’t know where the recipe was from. I was intrigued, and did I find a couple of bloggers who had made aubergine cakes, but I didn’t manage to track down the original recipe and then sort of forgot about making it.

Several months on, I was given the Green & Black’s Ultimate Chocolate Recipes, and while flicking through the cake section I landed upon a recipe for a ‘Heartache Cake’ by Harry Eastwood – top of the list of ingredients was aubergines and I realised I’d found the actual recipe!

I first made this when the pony was going to stay with his family, and although the feedback from them was great, I didn’t get to try any myself and I knew I would have to try it again at some point to satisfy my curiosity.

The cake is wheat and gluten free, dairy free, and also uses no refined sugars. The sweetness in the cake comes from honey, and so when I saw that was Choclette‘s pick for this month’s We Should Cocoa challenge, it gave me the perfect reason to revisit the Heartache Cake.

We_Should_Cocoa_V3

I’ve renamed it a slightly less emotive ‘aubergine chocolate cake’, partly because I’m not really a fan of the flowery language used by Harry Eastwood, but also because there is nothing sad about this cake whatsoever – it’s delicious!

EDIT – the fact that I’ve renames this cake means it’s also eligible for this month’s AlphaBakes challenge, hosted alternately by Ros at The More Than Occasional Baker and Caroline at Caroline Makes – A for Aubergine!

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I understand the chemistry of how these ingredients can come together and actually make a cake, but they do, and it is so worth trying, and I am especially glad to have a recipe I know I can turn to if I need to cater for multiple dietary requirements that no one would ever guess is a ‘free-from’ cake’.

I am now keen to expand my vegetable baking repertoire – I’ve done courgette, carrot and squash, and I’ve seen a few recipes for beetroot and parsnip, but is there anything even more unusual out there? If you have any weird and wonderful recipes, let me know!

Aubergine chocolate cake (adapted from Harry Eastwood’s recipe in the Green & Black’s cookbook)

  • 2 medium aubergines (400g raw weight)
  • 300g dark chocolate
  • 3 medium eggs
  • 200g clear honey
  • 50g cocoa powder
  • 60g ground almonds
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • cocoa powder to dust

Start by piercing the aubergines with a sharp knife, placing in a bowl covered with clingfilm, and microwaving on full power for about 8 minutes, or until completely soft. If you don’t have a microwave I think baking the aubergines whole would work too, it would just take a lot longer.

When the aubergines are cool enough to handle, peel off the skins and blitz the flesh in a food processor with the dark chocolate, until the chocolate has completely melted and there are no lumps of aubergine left. In a separate bowl, whisk the eggs, honey, cocoa, almonds and baking powder until bubbly and doubled in volume, then fold in the chocolate aubergine mixture.

Pour the cake mix into a greased and lined 9″ round tin, and bake on the bottom shelf of your oven at 170 degrees for 30-35 minutes, or until risen at the edges and starting to crack. Leave to cool in the tin, then turn out onto a serving place and dust liberally with cocoa powder.