Because even in summer, you can always go for a chocolate cake.
Do you remember on Monday when I said I had chocolate on my mind?
Well, I really was not kidding. I just needed cake, and it needed to be chocolate. I mean, of course it needed to be chocolate.
I have been all wrapped up in summer foods, no bake desserts and even trying my hand at few fruit desserts. Thus I’ve let way too much time pass without having any chocolate cake and/or chocolate like things in the house. How I could do this I have no idea.
Plus, the day I made this cake, my mom, who I had not seen in over a month, was coming home the next day. I figured what better time for chocolate cake? If there is a chocolate cake lover in the world, it is her. Without doubt.
As I was shooting the cake (c’mon – photographing it!), I actually got so exited about it that I sent my mom photos just to so she’d know what she was coming home to.
She was beyond happy. Especially knowing that this time she would actually be able to eat the cake.
See, for the past month I have been emailing my mom photos asking her what she thought because I can never just be happy with a photo I take. I have to have a second opinion. So I sent her multiple photos almost every day for the last thirty some days. I know, it’s so crazy, but well, that is just me. I can own the craziness. Needless to say, they are quite happy to be home now.
And especially happy when they returned home to chocolate cake. I mean, who would not be?
Now let’s talk about the fact that I did indeed add corn to this chocolate. Yes, real corn, right off the cob. Well, I did caramelize it first to give it an even sweeter flavor, but it is real corn.
You guys, DO NOT freak out that I put corn in the cake and that I actually made healthier cake. I promise that this cake is nothing short of pure indulgence. Dare I say it is one of my favorite cakes to date? Yep, I do.
It passed the test of all the family members. I of course never told any of the boys there was corn, whole wheat flour and flax-seed in it. That would be a stupid thing to do. Although, now that I think about it, it probably would have been a smart thing to do. Less cake eaters = more cake for me. Gotta think smarter next time.
Ok, so how did I think to put corn in chocolate cake?
Well, I was hiking (all the best ideas happen then) and thinking that I really just wanted to make a chocolate cake. A really chocolatey, chocolate cake. But then I thought I needed to make it a little summery because I want everything to be summery this month. Gotta go out with a bang.
I really dislike fruit and chocolate together, so then what?
At first I was all, well maybe zucchini, but then I thought, everyone is doing zucchini. That’s when corn came to mind. I figured if I could put corn in ice cream, why not chocolate cake?
Yes, I thought is was weird too, but trust me, it works. And it works SO well.
Just like zucchini, adding corn keeps this cake incredibly moist. I mean, like it’s actually fudgey it is so moist, and that’s a hard thing to get when using whole wheat flour in a cake. I am telling you, corn is my new secret weapon when it comes to cake. You have to try it.
I also added a little hazelnut liquor to help the chocolate flavors really pop. It’s so good.
Oh and um, the popcorn sitting on top! I figured with corn actually in the cake, what better way to top the cake than with some crunchy caramel popcorn. It just melts in your mouth while still adding a little crunch to the soft and fudgey cake. Holy yum, I need another slice.
And the ganache, yeah so I guess this really isn’t that healthy. Although it’s just cream and chocolate. I personally don’t see that as being unhealthy because cream is natural and chocolate is full of antioxidants. Yep, still healthy in my mind.
Anyway, the whole cake is covered in ganache, both whipped and un-whipped. I know I already said this, but… so good.
- 1 tablespoon butter (or coconut oil)
- 1 1/2 cups fresh sweet corn
- 2 tablespoons hazelnut liquor (optional)
- 3/4 cup buttermilk
- 3/4 cup whole wheat flour (or white whole wheat flour)
- 1/2 cup all purpose flour (or white whole wheat flour)
- 1/4 cup ground flax seeds (flax seed meal)
- 1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1 cup coconut sugar (or granulated sugar)
- 11/2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 eggs, at room temperature*
- 1/2 cup coconut oil, melted (or canola oil)
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 3/4 cup strong brewed black coffee, hot
- 16 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
- 2 cups heavy cream
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- Hazenut Crunch Popcorn
- 6 cups air popped popcorn
- 1/2 cup raw hazelnuts, roughly chopped
- 1/4 cup honey
- 2 tablespoons coconut sugar (or brown sugar)
- 1/4 cup water
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 tablespoon hazelnut liquor (optional)
- 2 teaspoons salt
Add the butter to a skillet set over medium-high heat. Add the corn, if desired you can add 1 tablespoon of coconut or brown sugar to help the corn caramelize better. Cook five minutes or until the corn has browned lightly and caramelized. Remove from the heat and stir in 1 tablespoon hazelnut liquor. Pour the corn into a high powdered blender or food processor. Add the buttermilk and puree until completely smooth, about three minutes. Set aside.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease 2 8-inch round cake pans. Line with parchment paper, then butter/spray with cooking spray.
In a medium size bowl combine the whole wheat flour, all-purpose flour, flax meal (ground flax seeds), coconut sugar, unsweetened cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder and salt.
In the bowl of a stand mixer (or use a hand held mixer) beat together the eggs, corn/buttermilk mixture, melted coconut oil, vanilla and hazelnut liquor (if using) until smooth. Slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients with the mixer on low until there are no longer any clumps of flour. Add the hot coffee and mix until combined. Batter should be pourable, but not super thin.
Pour the batter among the 2 cake pans and bake 20 to 25 minutes, until the tops are just set and no longer wiggly in the center. Remove and let cool five minutes, then run a knife around the edges of the pan. Grab 2 large flat plates, line them with wax or parchment paper and invert the cakes onto the paper lined plates. Cover and let the cakes cool completely before frosting.
To make the ganache, in a microwave safe bowl add the chocolate and heavy cream. Microwave on high for 30 second intervals, stirring between each until melted. Once melted stir in the vanilla extract and salt. Pour all but 1/3-1/2 cup of the ganache into a separate mixing bowl. Set the smaller amount of ganache aside, cover the larger amount and place in the fridge for 15 minutes or leave on the counter for 1 hour.
Meanwhile make the popcorn, preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.
Add the popcorn and hazelnuts to a greased baking sheet. In a small sauce pot add the honey, coconut sugar and water. Bring to a boil and cook 2 minutes, remove from the heat and slowly stir in the vanilla and hazelnut liquor. Pour the sauce over the popcorn and use your hands to toss the sauce with the popcorn. Make sure it coats all the popcorn. Bake for 15 minutes, tossing once to ensure even cooking. Cool completely before topping the cake.
Now grab the chilled ganache from the fridge and beat it with a mixer on medium-high speed until fluffy, 2 to 4 minutes. You now have whipped chocolate ganache!
To assemble the cake, place 1 layer, flat side up, on a plate or cake stand. With a knife or offset spatula, spread the top with a layer of whipped ganache. Place the second layer on top, rounded side up, and spread the whipped ganache evenly on the top and sides of the cake. Now grab the remaining, un-whipped ganache. If needed place it back in the microwave so it is pourable. Pour the ganache over top the cake. Top with the hazelnut crunch popcorn. Slice and serve or store in the fridge until ready to serve. If storing in the fridge I find it best to remove the cake 15-30 minutes before eating. Enjoy with a cold glass of milk and extra popcorn!
*Adapted from my favorite [Simple Chocolate Cake | http://www.halfbakedharvest.com/simple-chocolate-birthday-cake-whipped-chocolate-buttercream/].
So enjoy these last remaining Friday’s of summer… with umm, cake. Lots of cake.
If you make this recipe, be sure to tag your photo #halfbakedharvest.