As I’m writing this, I’m sitting outside in a t-shirt, cuffed jeans and bare feet. It’s reached about 70 degrees and daffodils and tulips are in full bloom. Life is on the upswing and I couldn’t be happier about it!
When the weather takes a turn like this, I find myself itching for more things to do. I begin to compile a list on my phone of projects to start working on: learn to make macramé plant holders and wall hangings, dust of the 35mm camera, run a half-marathon in 2 weeks, join a softball team, plant an herb garden, etc. My evenings and weekends become filled with excitement and activities and lots of time with friends and by the end of the days I am wonderfully exhausted with a feeling of living life to its fullest.
And with so much going on, it certainly calls for having a little bit of a pick-me-up in the afternoon. Maybe a cup of tea, maybe a little slice of a chocolate snacking cake. That sounds really nice, right? Who wouldn’t want a sliver or two of light and spongy soufflé-like almond buckwheat chocolate cake when the 4:00 hour of doldrums comes along?
Obviously this isn’t exactly my first go-around with this cake. It’s without a doubt one of my favorites, which makes it even more surprising that I’ve withheld it from you for so long. I love it because it doesn’t ask for much. I like to cut off a nice wedge and eat it alone, out of hand, but a little ice cream never hurt either. It can be started and out of the oven within an hour if you have to good time management going on and although it has a simple ingredient list, it’s still got a bit of a fancy flair too. It gets it’s lift from egg whites rather than gluten so it takes on a hybrid texture somewhere between soufflé and cake and the buckwheat flour combined with coconut oil and almonds makes it reminiscent of an Almond Joy.
It may be gluten free, but it takes no sacrifices for that. It is what it is and I really like it for that. I like the awkward little muffin-top edges it gets when it cools, after the center has fallen, the way it gets fudgier, and maybe even better, the next day, and the way it cuts easily with a butter knife so you can quickly sneak a piece when no one is looking. Sure it’s not exactly your quintessential “chocolate cake” but give it a try and you’ll see why this is the chocolate cake I come back to year after year.
Chocolate-Buckwheat Snacking Cake
6oz chopped semisweet chocolate
½ cup coconut oil
4 eggs, separated
½ cup unrefined granulated sugar
1/3 cup whole-milk yogurt
1 tsp. vanilla extract
½ tsp. salt
¾ cup almond meal
¼ cup buckwheat flour
toasted sliced almonds and cocoa powder for garnishing
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and grease an 8-inch cake pan with coconut oil and line the bottom with a round of parchment paper.
Place the chocolate and coconut oil in a large heatproof bowl and set it over a pan of simmering water. Make sure the water does not touch the bottom of the bowl. Stir it periodically until it is melted. Once melted, set it aside for a few minutes to cool a bit.
In a separate medium bowl, whisk together the egg yolks, half of the sugar, the yogurt, vanilla, and salt. Once the chocolate had cooled some, slowly whisk that in as well. Using a rubber spatula, stir in the almond meal and the buckwheat flour.
Using a standing mixer, handheld mixer, or a good old-fashioned whisk, beat the egg whites until they form soft peaks. Gradually add in the remainder of the sugar, while mixing, until it forms firm peaks. One-third at a time, fold the egg whites into the chocolate mixture using a rubber spatula until just incorporated. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 25-28 minutes. The edges will look set and the center will still be a tiny bit wobbly. Let it cool in the pan for 10-15 minutes and then transfer to a cooling rack. Once cool, top with a liberal dusting of cocoa powder and sprinkle with toasted sliced almonds.