Monday, July 22, 2024

Healthier Indulgences: Vegan and Gluten-Free Chocolate Almond Cake Recipes

Cakes are a special dessert that has a unique place in almost every occasion we celebrate. Among them, chocolate cakes are very popular for their rich, decadent flavour and are loved worldwide. Recently, there has been a surging demand for vegan, gluten-free cakes instead of the classic cakes we indulge. Though most believe that this is just a trend, there’s another side for this coin. This article talks about the underlying reason for the emergence of vegan and gluten-free cakes, explores their benefits and provides a delicious recipe for baking your own vegan and gluten-free chocolate almond cake. Let’s dive in:

Understanding Vegan and Gluten-Free Diets

A vegan diet means staying away from all animal products, including meat, dairy, eggs and even honey. The diet primarily consists only of plant-based food like fruits, vegetables, grains, nuts and seeds. So, when it comes to vegan baking, general substitutes include flaxseeds for eggs, plant-based milk for dairy milk, and oils and margarine for the typical butter we use.

On the other hand, a gluten-free diet removes gluten, a complex protein found in wheat, barley and rye. Some people have health conditions such as celiac or sensitivity to gluten, making them unable to digest gluten in these grains. Instead, they go for alternatives like almond flour, rice flour or gluten-free oats to replace the traditional wheat flour. So, a vegan, gluten-free chocolate cake would mean a chocolate cake baked with neither any animal products nor gluten and you can savour it guilt-free.   

Health Benefits of Vegan and Gluten-Free Desserts

Additional Nutrients

Animal fats cause various health issues like diabetes and hypertension. Plant-based ingredients are rich in fibre, minerals and vitamins compared to animal products. This makes vegan and gluten-free desserts have less saturated fats and cholesterol, leading to better heart health and reducing the risk for certain diseases.

Better Digestive Health

Gluten-free foods are easier to digest. People with gluten intolerance find that such foods lower the risk of irritable bowel syndrome and other symptoms of gluten sensitivity like bloating and discomfort. Plus, as vegan foods are more plant-based, they are rich in fibre. This promotes healthy digestion.

Allergen-Friendly

All the vegan and gluten-free desserts are suitable for people with dairy, egg or gluten allergies.

Lower Risk of Diabetes

Vegan recipes usually call for natural sweeteners like coconut sugar, and jaggery. They have a lower glycemic index than regular sugar, which helps in maintaining stable blood sugar levels.

Prevents Weight Gain

As vegan cakes are less in calories compared to the classic cakes, they help you to satisfy your sweet tooth without having to think about the calorie intake. However, moderation is key here.

Vegan and Gluten-Free Chocolate Almond Cake Recipe

Things just get better when you add almonds into your vegan and gluten-free chocolate cake. It’s rich in unsaturated fats, vitamins, calcium, phosphorus and above all, almond flour is gluten-free! Isn’t that amazing? 

You can enjoy the best of both worlds: delicious flavour and countless health benefits either by ordering in a dark chocolate almond cake from a cake shop, or you can just make one at home! 

Here’s one of the highest-rated recipes for a vegan and gluten-free chocolate almond cake from CocoonCooks. This takes just 1 hour and 30 minutes and serves generous slices for 12-16 people.

Ingredients

Dry Ingredients
1 cup (95 g) almond flour
1 1/4 cup (185 g) buckwheat flour
1/4 cup (20 g) raw cacao powder
1 tbsp arrowroot flour (or you can substitute it with potato starch)
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp fine Himalayan salt

Wet Ingredients
1/4 cup (60 ml) sunflower oil
1/3 cup (50 g) vegan chocolate (70% cacao, chopped)
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups (375 ml) almond milk
1 cup (150 g) jaggery
2 flax eggs (Mix 2 tbsp ground flax seeds with 6 tbsp water and allow it to rest for 5 minutes)

1/4 cup (25 g) almond flakes (optional- for garnishing)

Instructions

Start by gathering, prepping and measuring all of the ingredients mentioned above. Make sure all the ingredients are in room temperature so that they mix evenly with other ingredients. Once all your ingredients are ready, it’s a matter of putting them together!

1. Pre-heat your oven to 350ºF | 180ºC and line an 8″ | 20 cm spring-form pan with parchment paper in the bottom and the sides.

2. Sift all the dry ingredients together in a large mixing bowl.

3. Combine the sunflower oil and the chopped chocolate in a double boiler on medium heat and stir until molten and combined.

4. Add the vanilla extract and the jaggery to the chocolate mixture in the double boiler and mix thoroughly.

5. Remove from heat and stir in the almond milk and the flax eggs.

6. Pour this wet mixture over the dry ingredients and fold until perfectly combined.

7. Pour the batter into the prepared baking pan.

8. Sprinkle the almond flakes evenly over the batter.

9. Place in the oven and bake for 35 minutes.

10.  After 35 minutes, place a sheet of aluminium foil over the pan and bake for an extra 10 minutes.

11.  Remove from the oven and let the cake cool completely in the pan before cutting into it.

The Final Verdict

Healthier treats like vegan and gluten-free chocolate almond cakes have delicious flavours along with numerous health benefits. They have less unhealthy fats and sugars, high fibre and protein along with cocoa’s antioxidant benefits. Try out the recipe we’ve given above and enjoy a guilt-free, healthier treat to satisfy your sweet tooth today. Let us know what you think in the comment below. Happy baking! 

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