One of my current obsessions is making “alternative” cakes. I like to be creative and make things up. In my sewing world, this means I buy oddments of yarn and pre-loved clothes and turn them into new and funky things. I unpick, unravel, design, and make my own. My sewing/knitting, however, is playing second fiddle to my getting fit/eating well at the moment – why? because we are having our first summer for at least 7 years! Knitting and sewing is better for the miserable weather we usually get (although I have knitted a lovely pair of socks which I will share soon).
I have never been a fan of “traditional” healthy cakes made with wholemeal flour, for example, because they tend to be heavy and dry and frankly just not right. So, since I currently want every thing I eat to be be as good for me as possible, I have been experimenting with other healthy flours – primarily gram flour (made from ground chick peas) and sun-flour made from ground sunflower seeds.
Sunflower seeds are very good for you and were used by the Native Americans as their flour. You need to grind your own though – so buy a bag of raw, shelled sunflower seeds and blitz them in a blender, food processor or coffee grinder. I used my blender and blitzed small amounts at a time – I also did not blend it to a superfine flour I wanted slightly bigger bits in it. Ground sunflower seeds don’t keep though so just make what you need.
Here’s My Recipe:
- 1 generous cup raw sunflower seeds (made into flour)
- 1/2 cup gram flour
- 1/2 cup (packed) dark muscovado sugar
- 1/4 cup white granulated sugar
- 4 tbsp cocoa powder
- 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
- 1/2 tsp sea salt
- 1 egg
- 1 cup sour milk (or buttermilk)
- 1 tsp camp coffee (chickory essence) or a 1 tsp dissolved coffee granules.
- 1/4 cup sunflower oil
- Stir all the dry ingredients together well with a fork or hand whisk (I pre-blitzed my muscovado sugar in the blender to break it up a bit).
- Stir all the wet ingredients together with a fork or hand whisk.
- Add the wet to the dry and mix well.
- Pour in a greased tin (mine was 10″x 8″) and bake at 170C until firm (I forgot to time it)!
This sunflower seed chocolate cake didn’t rise as much as the first chocolate cake with sour milk version I made with white/gram flour; but, that’s because, the sunflower “flour” is much heavier than regular old white flour. It was wonderful though, deliciously moist and dark – very grown up and sophisticated. The texture was much more like a brownie or perhaps a chocolate corn bread than a “fluffy” cake. It was similar in texture to a cake made with ground almonds too but without the overpowering taste of almonds – perfect for folk with nut allergies or who just don’t like almonds. Of course, this sunflower seed chocolate cake is also gluten-free!
I loved it very much and preferred it to the white flour version – I ate mine with a small glass of cold semi-skimmed milk which is my current favourite accompaniment to my “healthy” cakes. It’s all gone – the piece in the photo was the last slither! Oh, and I lost another pound – only two to go and I will be my twenty-year-old self, 23 miles on my bike this morning too.