On the advent of Easter, it’s the perfect time for a new beginning. I’ve been baking on and off since January, sharing my Chocolate Cake with a Secret with friends at the local hospital and doctor’s offices. In the midst of pursuing a career in the health professions, I’ve encountered many diabetic patients who are looking to manage their blood sugar while still enjoying tasty treats. These personal encounters, in additional to emails from readers, have been the best inspiration for me to get back to making sugar-free treats!
Wanna know what I’ve learned from making the the beloved black bean chocolate cake hundreds of times over the course of five years? Here are some tips and tricks to make it even more scrumptious!
1. Use the famous black bean cake batter to make cupcakes!
Simply bake the batter in 12 count muffin tin. Frost ’em with my new sugar-free Lemon Bliss frosting recipe! It’s a lemony twist on my easy sugar-free cream cheese frosting. The fresh lemon flavor and silky smooth texture made this frosting a huge hit with my taste tasters.
This recipe is just as easy as your typical American buttercream recipe. No cooking required! The secret ingredient is coconut milk powder. It can be found at your local Target, or at any Asian grocery store. (I never realized how common Asian grocery stores were until I started ingredient hunting off the beaten path. We have five Asian grocery stores in my town alone!) Coconut milk powder acts as a substitute for some of the sugar used in typical American buttercream frosting recipes. At only $1 per packet, you can stock up and keep it on hand for frosting emergencies.
No worries if you’re not down with the coconut flavor in your frosting. The True Lemon (lemon juice powder) and lemon zest completely overpower it!
2. Use a mixture of dark, alkali-processed cocoa, and natural cocoa powder for the best rich chocolate cake flavor.
In the photo below, you can see the color of natural cocoa contrasted with dark hue of Hershey’s Special Dark cocoa. The latter tastes just like oreos! Use half natural cocoa powder, half Special Dark cocoa to get the yummiest results.
3. Don’t overmix the batter.
One step of the original black bean cake recipe calls for blending the beans into a smooth puree. To save time, I tried blending up the whole batter without pureeing the beans first. It was a disaster! The sad cupcake on the left resulted from the batch of batter blended to oblivion.
You might have noticed that my Busy Day Cake recipe instructs you to use a blender for ease of preparation. I’m scratching that line out after discovering how easy it is to ruin the texture of the cake by overblending! If you’re familiar with baking science, you probably already know why the creaming method is such a popular technique for preparing cake batters. As the cupcake on the right demonstrates, nothing beats the light and fluffy texture that results from beating the sugar (or in our case, sugar-free sweetener) granules into the solid fat.
- 8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
- 2 Tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1 cup coconut milk powder
- 2 packets True Lemon
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 3-4 Tablespoons Truvia, powdered*
- Zest of half a lemon (1/2 teaspoon zest)
- Additional sugar-free sweeteners (optional)
- Drop of yellow food coloring (optional)
- Leave cream cheese and butter out on counter to come to room temperature. Add butter and cream cheese to a large mixing bowl. Grind sweeteners, coconut milk powder, and True Lemon together in a Magic Bullet or coffee grinder until finely ground. Add sweetener/coconut milk powder mixture to the cream cheese and butter, and beat with a hand mixer until smooth and fluffy. Beat in coconut milk powder and lemon zest. Taste, and adjust the level of sweetness as necessary. A mixture of sweeteners (Truvia, Splenda, Monk Fruit, etc.) will yield the best tasting results!
Stay tuned for a post detailing the 2nd edition of the Healthy Indulgences Cookbook!