December is here, otherwise known as the low-carb nightmare season. Mince pies, cakes and all sorts of sugary treats are omnipresent and very hard to ignore.
One way to beat them is to make your own low-carb treats, which can be just as scrumptious and tempting as their high-carb counterparts.
This low-carb chocolate cake is based on a very simple basic recipe, made with almond flour and cacao powder. I then jazzed it up with some seasonal flavours – orange, brandy and a hint of cardamom and cloves. Finally, I used sugar-free dark and white chocolate drizzle to decorate it.
Adding orange flavours
I used grated zest of one massive orange, which was probably about the same as two normal oranges. Take care to grate just the very top layer of the zest that’s bright orange, avoiding the soft white layer under it. Oranges are quite high in sugar so I would feed the actual remaining orange to someone who is not on a low-carb diet.
I then used 1 tbsp of orange extract to further enhance flavour. You could also use 1-2 tbsp of orange juice – but it will then add a couple of extra grams of carbs to the whole recipe, which is probably not that big a deal unless you are on a very low carb count.
If possible, get whole cardamom pods and cloves and grind them just before using (extract cardamom seeds from the pod first). These are quite strong flavours, so you only need a hint of them, otherwise they would get overwhelming. I used two cloves and seeds from one small cardamom pod.
The cake mix should be thick, but still pourable. If it is too sticky, add a couple of spoonfuls of milk (dairy or nut).
This part is optional but does make the cake much prettier. It is also quite fun to do. Basically, you need to melt some sugar-free chocolate over a water bath (bain-marie), with a bit of fat such as heavy cream, cacao butter or dairy butter. Then drizzle it across your cake in a Jackson Pollock manner.
I used two types of chocolate: very dark 100% cacao solids Willie’s Cacao, and white chocolate Stevia bar by Cavalier.
Low-carb chocolate orange cake
- 1 cup (90g / 3oz) ground almonds
- 90g / 3oz sugar-free cacao powder
- 1/2 cup (90g / 3oz) Truvia
- 60g / 2oz butter, melted
- 4 eggs
- 1 tbsp brandy
- grated zest of orange
- 1 tbsp orange extract or fresh orange juice
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 2 whole cloves
- seeds from 1 small cardamom pod
for glazing (optional)
- 60g (2oz) of sugar-free chocolate (dark and white)
- 30g coconut oil or cacao butter
- Preheat oven to 190C/375F/Gas Mark 5
- Combine all dry ingredients and ground spices and mix well
- Lightly beat the eggs, add melted butter, brandy and orange zest
- Combine wet and dry ingredients and mix thoroughly
- The dough should be thick but pourable – if it’s too sticky, add 1-2 tbsp of milk (nut or dairy)
- Pour the dough into a loose-base tart tin (I used 23cm wide one) and bake for 20-25 minutes
- Cool completely
- Optional glazing – melt the chocolate with coconut oil in a water bath (Bain-Marie)
- Drizzle all over the cake