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Double Dark Chocolate Cake with Pistachio-Mint Swiss Merengue Buttercream


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Paleo Chocolate Cake: Birthday Edition
For me- enjoying anything comes from sharing it with the people I love. This year, that circle is small, I don’t have my family or friends to ring in my third decade with—so I wanted to make something special, a new recipe I could share with all of you.

This cake is grain free, gluten free, sugar free (except for the sugar in the dark chocolate used, which is minimal), it can also be made dairy free if you don’t eat grass fed butter by using palm oil shortening instead for the buttercream. The cake itself is decadent, soft and fudgy. It’s rich without being dense. It has a brownie like quality to it. In another words, a chocolate lovers dream.

The pistachio-mint Swiss merengue buttercream is light and subtle. The nutty pistachio comes through with a crisp hint of mint finish that is just perfect. After all, chocolate is the star here.

Make the buttercream first, you can actually make this a day ahead and chill in the fridge. Bring to room temp and beat before using.

Double Dark Chocolate Cake with Pistachio-Mint Swiss Merengue Buttercream
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Ingredients

    Mint-Pistachio Swiss Merengue Buttercream:
  • ALL INGREDIENTS SHOULD BE ROOM TEMPERATURE BEFORE STARTING
  • 1 tbsp. Nielsen Massey Pure Vanilla Bean Paste
  • (or 2 tsp vanilla bean scrapping)
  • 2 tsp finely minced fresh mint leaves
  • ½ cup pistachio flour (finely ground- make this by grinding raw, hulled pistachios in high powered blender, sift, save the larger shards and crumbles for later)
  • ½ cup coconut cream (coconut fat skimmed off of coconut milk can- whole fat, unsweetened)
  • 1 ½ cup Kerry Gold salted butter
  • 3 egg whites
  • ¾ cup Pure Organic Maple Syrup, Grade B
  • ¼ tsp lemon
  • Double Dark Chocolate Paleo Cake:
  • ALL INGREDIENTS SHOULD BE ROOM TEMPERATURE BEFORE STARTING
  • Makes 6" round (2-3 inch deep) pans & a few extra cupcakes
  • ¾ cup blanched almond flour (I useBob's Red Mill Almond Meal)
  • 1 cup tapioca flour (I use Bob's Red Mill Tapioca Flour)
  • ¼ cup coconut flour (I use Lets Do Organic-Coconut Flour)
  • ½ cup cocoa (I use Rapunzel Pure Organic Cocoa Powder)
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp espresso powder (optional)
  • 1 cup unsweetened almond milk + 1 tbsp. apple cider vinegar
  • 2 eggs
  • ½ cup coconut oil
  • 1 ½ cup honey
  • 1 tsp bourbon vanilla extract
  • ½ cup boiling water
  • 1 bar 86% dark chocolate (Ghirardelli Chocolate Intense Dark Squares, Midnight Reverie)

Instructions

  • In a small sauce pot bring coconut cream to a simmer, remove from heat & mix in vanilla bean paste, mint, & pistachio.
  • Stir & let steep for 10-15 minutes.
  • Use an immersion blender to blend until smooth(ish).
  • Place in fridge until ready to use.
  • Next make the Swiss Merengue:
  • In mixer bowl (or other stainless steel bowl): combine 3 egg whites, ¾ cup maple syrup, ¼ tsp lemon.
  • Heat water in a medium sauce pot- one that can hold a bowl over it without the bowl touching the water, so something a little narrow.
  • Place bowl of stand mixer (or other bowl) over pot when water is simmering & whisk continuously until eggs are heated and frothy.
  • It will look very foamy and be warm, but not cooking- this will take a little while, 3 to 4 minutes.
  • Transfer to bowl of mixer or place bowl in mixer and use whisk attachment- whisk on low and gradually bring to high.
  • Keep it on high for 10 minutes (or more) until stiff white peaks appear & mixture is thoroughly cooled.
  • In the meantime, cut up your butter in to small pieces & take pistachio cream out of the fridge.
  • When meringue is ready, turn off mixer, clean whisk and switch to paddle attachment.
  • If you’re using a hand mixer, switch to a spatula.
  • Keep beating; add in butter a little piece at a time.
  • If your merengue gets soft and liquefies- it wasn’t completely cooled.
  • Put in the fridge for 3 minutes, then resume beating and adding in butter, wait until it is fully mixed in before adding the next piece. It will correct itself.
  • Once all the butter is incorporated.
  • Mix in pistachio cream. Beat until smooth.
  • Ready to go. Cover and keep in fridge if you are using the next day, if not keep somewhere cool until ready to decorate cake.
  • This makes enough to decorate a double layer 6 inch cake, with piping or a 6 inch cake without piping and a few cupcakes.
  • Cake:
  • In large bowl sift together all your flours, baking soda, baking powder, cocoa powder, and salt, cinnamon & espresso powder.
  • Set aside.
  • In another bowl, or bowl of your stand mixer- with whisk, beat oil & honey until frothy, add eggs, one at a time, then vanilla then milk with acv.
  • Beat on high for 3 minutes.
  • Lower speed; add in dry mix, ¼ cup at a time, waiting until each one is full incorporated before adding the next.
  • When done, beat for 2 minutes.
  • Lower speed, add in chocolate bar- in pieces, and then add in boiling water slowly.
  • Beat until fully incorporated & chocolate is melted or almost all melted.
  • Pour mixture in cake pans (left over in muffin tins).
  • Bake for 25-30 minutes, check with a wooden spear or toothpick.
  • Let cool completely before decorating.
  • I added some chopped pistachios & mini chocolate chips in between the cake layers for added crunch!
  • Dairy Free Chocolate Ganache:
  • While you make this, place cake in fridge so the buttercream stiffens before you add ganache, just in case?
  • Break up dark chocolate bar, 86% dark, in to small pieces, place in heat proof bowl
  • Heat 6 oz coconut cream in sauce pan, bring to a simmer.
  • Pour cream over chocolate in bowl.
  • Mix with a spoon slowly until all chocolate is melted. Use spoon or whisk to keep mixing until thick, glossy & dark.
  • Once it’s cool to the touch you can add it to cake, but make sure it’s not hot enough to melt the buttercream.
  • SLOWLY, carefully (use a ladle) pour over cake, not all of it, just enough to cover the top and let some drippings slide down the sides.
  • I used extra ganache on cupcakes and berries ?
  • Sprinkle with large pistachio crumbs.
  • YOU ARE DONE! ENJOY!
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