Recipes

          Fig, Banana & Dark Chocolate Cake with Cacao Cream

          Fig, Banana & Dark Chocolate Cake with Cacao Cream

          We're excited to share this mouthwatering cake from talented chef Henrietta Inman's latest book The Natural Baker. Wonderfully wholesome & nourishing, it's a must-try for the chocoholics! A soft banana sponge, crunchy chunks of chocolate and juicy figs, finished with a rich but light ganache-type icing. Who can resist?

          Serves 8-10

          Ingredients:

          For the cake:

          60g (2oz / scant ⅓ cup) virgin coconut oil, melted, plus more for the tin
          1 tbsp milled flaxseeds/linseeds)
          100g unsweetened almond milk, or any plant-based milk
          1 tsp apple cider vinegar
          200g dried figs, stalks removed, roughly chopped
          200g water
          1 tsp bicarbonate of soda (baking soda)
          150g wholegrain spelt flour
          1 tsp baking powder
          1 tsp sea salt flakes
          1 tsp ground cinnamon
          1 tsp ground cardamom
          1 tsp mixed spice 
          250g (about 2 large ripe bananas) banana flesh
          50g apple puree
          1 tsp vanilla extract
          100g dark chocolate solids

          Optional:
          edible flowers to decorate (geraniums)

          For the cacao/cocoa cream:

          80g Aduna Super Cacao Powder or cocoa powder
          125g maple syrup
          120g unsweetened almond milk, or any other plant-based milk
          1 tsp vanilla extract
          80g virgin coconut oil, melted
          pinch of sea salt flakes

          Method:

          Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/gas mark 4. Oil the base and sides of a 18cm (7in) loose-bottomed tin and line the base with baking parchment.

          Mix together the flaxseeds with 3 tbsp of water and leave for 15 minutes to form a gel.

          Combine the almond milk with the vinegar seperately and set aside.

          In a saucepan, cover the chopped figs with 200g water and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat to a medium boil and cook until the water has evaporated and the figs are soft. Remove from the heat and add 1/2 tsp of the bicarbonate of soda (baking soda), mashing to form a lumpy paste. Set aside to cool slightly.

          Separately weigh out the dry ingredients including the remaining 1/2 tsp of bicarbonate of soda, dispersing any lumps with a whisk.

          In a seperate large bowl, mash the bananas and mix with the apple puree, coconut oil and vanilla extract. Chop the chocolate solids into pea-sized pieces and add with the flaxseed gel, the milk mix and the dry ingredient mix.

          Fold in the figs to just combine, working quickly so the chocolate does not melt and then transfer the cake mix to the prepared tin.

          Bake for 30 minutes, then reduce the oven temperature to 160°C/325°F/gas mark 3 and bake for a further 10–12 minutes, or until a skewer inserted in the centre comes out just clean. The top of the cake should be golden brown.

          Leave to cool in the tin completely. (If you are leaving off the cream, leave to cool for 10 minutes in the tin then enjoy while still warm.)

          For the cacao or cocoa cream, place the ingredients in a blender (or use a hand-held blender) and process until smooth. Place in a bowl, cover with cling film  and keep in a cool place until the cake has completely cooled and the cream has set (put it in the fridge if it’s taking a while).

          Spread over the cake and top with edible flowers, if you like. This keeps well in a sealed container in the fridge for at least 5 days, or freeze for at least 1 month.

           Enjoy!

          Recipe from The Natural Baker by Henrietta Inman, photographs by Philippa Langley, published by Jacqui Small at £20. 

          Hen's Notes:

          - Sometimes I add chopped toasted walnuts, pecans or hazelnuts, or a mixture, to the batter with the chocolate (add up to 90g)

          - To bake small loaf cakes, preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/gas mark 4 and bake for 10 minutes, rotate the tin and bake for 7 minutes, or until a skewer inserted in the centre of a cake comes out clean and the tops are golden brown.

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