Beans Beans the Magical Fruit...
|So yeah. Beans and I have never had a good relationship. Frankly, I loathe them. I hate the pasty texture of beans and the flavor certainly doesn't make up for texture, IMHO. I realize that I am in the minority and that I'm the weird one and I'm okay with this. :P No, seriously, I've been trying to get over my bean thing, especially this past year. My sister turned me on to a bean dip at a Mexican restaurant we like and I fell in love with it. Course it comes with 4 inches of the creamiest most delectible melted cheese on top so I can barely taste the beans, but nevertheless, I am now eating refried beans! Woot! Also, I've bought cans and bags of different types of beans. I even have "beluga" lentils sitting in my pantry! I WANT to like beans, dammit! Problem is.. I've overcome my dislike enough to PURCHASE beans, but they are all pretty much still sitting in my pantry. boo.|
So one day I get a email from a lovely gal named Lauren. She had a question about recipe archiving and although I couldn't help her (my recipe archive is archaic, and that's putting it nicely), her email was an introduction to her blog, Healthy Indulgences. Actually, I've mentioned her before in the Shrimp Fried "Rice" post of a few weeks back.
Well the most recent recipe she had posted was this amazing looking flourless chocolate cake. Please.. go look right now. Seriously. When you are done drooling, come on back.. we'll wait for you.
Didn't I tell you? Ah-mazing. AND it's gluten free. AND it's sugarless. AND it only has 5.7 grams net carbs per 1/10th of the cake.. that's a pretty decent sized slice! So other than substituting the sugar, what makes it so different from other flourless cakes? One of the main ingredients is BLACK BEANS. Yes, you read me right.. BEANS. WTF?
I'm still unsure what place the beans take, other than ensuring a very moist cake. Does someone else know? Lauren? :) But you can't taste bean in the cake AT ALL. All you taste is deep, rich chocolate. So rich, in fact, that 1/10 of a cake is actually too big of a portion. Especially when you slather it with Lauren's low-carb chocolate buttercream frosting. *swoon*
So all of this sounds fabulous doesn't it? I mean, LOOK AT THAT PHOTO on her blog. Now look at THIS photo:
BAHAHAHAHAHAHAAAA! Mmmm hmmm.. mine turned out to be the height of ONE of Lauren's layers. teeeee!
GO ME! AGAIN!
I swear to the baby Jebus, the fuckin' baking Gods just have it in for me. They NEVER cut me any slack. In fact, I'm sure they'd rather munch on LIVE BEES than make ANY baking project go perfectly for me. Fakk me, I'm not even asking for perfect, just you know.. correctly?? Gah.
So here's what happened. I normally have just about any kind of cocoa you can imagine in my pantry. But I'll be dipped in turtle shit, if this time.. this ONE time that I needed regular old cocoa powder, I didn't have any. I have like TWENTY containers of Hershey's Special Dark dutch process cocoa and 15 containers of Scharffen Berger DUTCH PROCESS cocoa, but no regular old cocoa. Can you even imagine? Okay.. so there's the first "tweak" - using DP cocoa.
The 2nd tweak was omitting the baking powder because of the DP cocoa. Ya'll might remember The Mothership and her twin brains? Well the "brain" reaction was due to the fact that I used baking powder with the DP cocoa and I didn't want that to happen with this cake, so I omitted the baking powder and used baking soda only. You'd think with 5 eggs the cake would still rise quite a bit more than it did, but my baking soda must be super old or this cake really needs the baking powder too? Fakk if I know, I can barely butter toast without some kind of chaos ensuing, let alone figure out the science behind what reactions are caused by what ingredients for crissakes.
Everything else stayed true to the recipe. I used both Stevia and Erythritol. My cake was just sweet enough, actually a little less sweet than other flourless chocolate cakes, and that was perfect for me. I prefer less sweet when it comes to my chocolate. I even wrapped this cake up after it cooled and stored it in the fridge over night before frosting the next day, to ensure no beaniness. The frosting turned out wonderfully.. wasn't too sweet and had a great creamy texture. Slightly on the "cool" side, which I read is a characteristic of Erythritol.. it imparts a minty coolness into whatever you make with it, unless you add Xantham gum, which in this instance wasn't necessary. But even the coolness didn't take away from the deep chocolate flavor of the frosting.
Two things I didn't like about the cake. Apparently Erythritol doesn't like to be refrigerated. It forms crystals that really take away from the texture of the cake.. it makes it feel like the cake is stale directly under the frosting. Another textural problem was that mine ended up being almost "solid" compared to Lauren's cake which was fluffy and full of air bubbles. The texture was a little on the spongy side.
I took the cake into work, even though I could have eaten the whole damn thing without much guilt or bad side effects to my blood sugar. (I just don't want to get in the habit of having any kind of sweets in the house for more than a day or two)
Two of the guys tried it the day I brought it in. One will eat anything that's chocolate and can't form an opinion other than it's good or bad. To him it was "good" - but I can assure you, had I dipped a dog turd in chocolate, he most likely would have said it was "good" because there was chocolate involved. The other guy always gives me good opinions on what I bring in.. not just good or bad, but why so good or why so bad.. and he said the flavor was really amazing, but the texture was off. Then I told them both it was sugar free and made with beans and neither could believe it. hehee!
So two of us both thought the texture was off. Before writing this post, I left a comment on Lauren's blog with my opinion of the cake and what I did and didn't like.. she's already answered my questions! You just have to lurve her ;)
I'll make this cake again, it's too damn good for someone like me who can't have a boat load of carbs at one sitting anymore. I'll use REGULAR cocoa powder, baking soda (which I will make sure is fresh) AND baking powder. A tip Lauren just gave me was to make sure I dust the pan with cocoa powder all the way up the sides so that the cake can climb. I didn't realize that. I'm unsure how far up I went last time, but next time I'll make sure the sides are dusted completely. And the last change will be, I won't refrigerate.
My goodness, I'm hesitant to say it, but maybe with Lauren's advice and my making sure I've got the correct ingredients.. the next cake will turn out.. correctly? I'm unsure how I'd react? Myocardial infarction? Pee-Pee in my pants? Call Guiness?? Stay tuned my friends.. this could get interesting. ;)