Today I’d like to talk about At Home in the Whole Food Kitchen, a book I’ve been cooking from non-stop since getting my copy. You may be familiar with author Amy Chaplin’s work through her beautiful blog, where she shares some of the most practical and creative natural foods recipes around. As for her cookbook, I feel as if anything I say about it will be an understatement: it’s wise and useful beyond words, as well as visually stunning, with photography by Johnny Miller. The book’s vastness and wealth of fascinating recipes and tips has me reaching for it daily.
Some of the dishes I’ve made include Cherry Coconut Granola, Cauliflower and Celery Root Soup, Eggplant Curry, Almond Butter Brownies, Chocolate Hazelnut Layer Cake.
To complete my love serenade for Amy’s book, I made this decadent cake. I played with the original recipe a bit, making the ganache white, while Amy’s is chocolate. I also added chocolate into the batter, while the original recipe only calls for cacao. I also previously made the original one and loved it as well.
Amy and I share the same publisher, and the nice people at Roost Books were generous to send me an additional copy of At Home in the Whole Food Kitchen to give away. To enter, leave a comment here until December 14th, 2014. Good luck to all!
Double Chocolate Layer Cake with White Chocolate Ganache, Tart Cherries and Pomegranate
Notes: In the original version, Amy frosts the entire cake with dark chocolate ganache. She crushes 1 1/3 cups toasted hazelnuts and presses them into sides of the cake like this.
for the ganache
2 13.5 oz cans unsweetened full fat coconut milk
1/4 cup maple syrup
5 tablespoons agar flakes
pinch sea salt
3 1/2 oz white chocolate, I used this brand (you can use dark chocolate as per original version)
1/2 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
4 teaspoons vanilla extract
for the cake
2/3 cup toasted hazelnuts (original version calls for 2 cups)
2 cups whole spelt flour – divided
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 cup boiling water
1/4 cup ground flax seeds
1/2 cup melted extra virgin coconut oil, plus more for oiling the pan
1 1/2 cups maple syrup
1 teaspoon unpasteurized apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup chopped dark chocolate (my addition to original recipe)
for the filling (my simplified version)
cocoa nibs – optional
frozen or canned tart cherries – thawed/drained well
1 large pomegranate
to make the ganache
1. Whisk together coconut milk, maple syrup, agar flakes and salt in a medium pot. Bring to a boil over high heat, whisk often. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 20 minutes, covered, whisking every 5 minutes.
2. Remove from heat, add chocolate and let it melt for 2 minutes in the covered pot. Whisk until smooth. Pour into a shallow bowl and allow to cool until it stops steaming. Put in the refrigerator for about 2 hours, or until cold and completely hard.
3. Roughly cut ganache into 1-inch pieces and add to a food processor with orange juice and vanilla. Blend until smooth, scraping down sides as necessary. Transfer to a container and refrigerate until cake is ready for frosting.
to make the cake
1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Oil cake pans and line bottom of each with a parchment paper. (I used 7 1/2-inch spring form to bake 3 layers. Original recipe calls for two 8-inch layers.)
2. Add 2/3 cup of hazelnuts and 1/4 cup of spelt flour into a food processor and grind finely. Transfer into a medium bowl and sift in remaining 1 3/4 cups spelt flour, baking powder and baking soda. Stir to combine well, set aside.
3. Whisk cocoa powder and boiling water until smooth in another medium bowl. Add ground flax seeds, coconut oil, maple syrup, vinegar, vanilla and salt, whisk until thoroughly combined.
4. Add flour mixture to liquid ingredients and whisk to make a smooth batter. Fold in chopped chocolate. Divide the batter between prepared pans and bake for 35-40 minutes until a toothpick inserted into center comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack.
to assemble the cake
1. Invert first layer on a cake stand or a plate. Remove parchment paper. Cover with a layer of tart cherries. Scoop 1/3 of ganache on top of cherries, even it out. sprinkle with cocoa nibs (if using) and pomegranate kernels.
2. Invert second layer on top, remove parchment paper. Repeat with cherries, ganache, cocoa nibs and pomegranate.
3. Invert third layer on top. Frost with the last 1/3 of ganache and top with pomegranate kernels. Keep in the fridge until ready to serve, try to wait at least a couple hours before cutting the cake; overnight is great too.