Chocolate Strawberry Crumb Cake

I sort of mentioned this in passing in a recent post, and got quite a few requests for the recipe.

Then I promptly forgot all about it.

When I realized I’d only posted two recipes this week (three is my norm) and that I hadn’t really done much cooking this week since Beloved is out of town on business, I decided I’d drag it out and post it.

You’re welcome.

This was one of those Sunday morning indulgences – I woke up and thought that a coffee cake-ish sort of thing sounded good and was in the mood to bake.  I had some fresh strawberries on hand and almost made a fruit buckle, but then decided to just put them on top of the cake and drizzle them with some melted dark chocolate.

It. Was. Wonderful.  Fruity and rich, but not too sweet; a great addition to our Sunday brunch.  It would make a nice dessert, too.

A couple of notes –  the coconut milk in the chocolate serves two purposes; it helps prevent the chocolate seizing up when it’s being melted (the double boiler also assists with this) and it helps keep the chocolate from re-hardening after it’s been drizzled over the strawberries.  You can use heavy cream if you prefer.

Also, the servings are not huge, but they don’t really need to be – it’s pretty filling due to the nuts, both the almond flour and the almonds in the topping.  Just keep in mind this is not diet food; it’s neither low in carbs nor calories, but most treats/desserts aren’t.

Chocolate Strawberry Crumb Cake. Fruity and rich, but not too sweet - a great addition to your Sunday brunch.

Click to enlarge

Chocolate Strawberry Crumb Cake
Serves: 8 to 12
  • Cake:
  • 1 cup almond flour
  • 2 tablespoons tapioca flour
  • 2 tablespoons potato flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1/4 cup ghee or clarified butter, melted
  • 1/4 cup coconut sugar
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • Crumble:
  • 1 cup coarsely chopped almonds
  • 1/4 cup tapioca flour
  • 2 tablespoons potato flour
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 1/2 cup coconut sugar
  • 3 tablespoons ghee or clarified butter, melted
  • Topping:
  • 1 quart fresh strawberries, sliced
  • 3 ounces good-quality dark chocolate, roughly chopped
  • 2 tablespoons coconut milk
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 F.
  2. Stir together the dry ingredients – the flours, salt, baking soda and coconut sugar – in a large mixing bowl. Add the wet ingredients – eggs, ghee, and vanilla – and mix on medium speed until the ingredients are combined. Increase the speed to high and mix until the batter is very smooth, about 2 minutes.
  3. In a separate bowl, combine all the ingredients for the crumble except the ghee. Stir in the ghee, one tablespoon at a time, until the mixture is moist and crumbly, but not wet.
  4. Pour the batter into a well-greased 8″ x 8″ baking dish, then top with the crumble (there will be a lot). Bake for 30 to 40 minutes, or until a knife inserted into the center comes out clean.
  5. Cool completely on a wire rack.
  6. While the cake is cooling, combine the chocolate and coconut milk in the top of a double boiler over simmering, not boiling, water. Stir occasionally until the chocolate is completely melted and combined with the coconut milk.
  7. Layer the sliced strawberries on top of the cooled cake and drizzle with the melted chocolate. Cut into squares and serve.
  8. Nutrition (per serving): 373 calories, 24.9g total fat, 64.5mg cholesterol, 91.2mg sodium, 483.6mg potassium, 32.1g carbohydrates, 6.9g fiber, 16.8g sugar, 6.1g protein

Chocolate-Raspberry Pancakes

You may remember early last year I did a “recipe swap” with the extraordinarily talented Alex Boake – I made and photographed her Sausage and Red Pepper Tomato Sauce; she made and illustrated my Meatloaf Cupcakes.  It was great fun – I just had a blast doing it.

Alex has spent the last year being super-busy (her busyness included traveling to Greece!) and hasn’t had too much time for recipes, which is sad because she’s a wonderful – and creative – cook.  But she’s ready to jump back into the saddle and asked if I’d be interested in doing another swap.  Interested?  I’ve been waiting for a year to do it again!  I also had NO trouble deciding which of her beautifully illustrated recipes I was going to make; from the minute I saw her Grain-free Chocolate Raspberry Banana Pancakes I knew that would be the recipe I’d do for our next swap.

Oh, good heavens, I’m glad I did – these are just delicious.  Of course they are – how can you go wrong with bananas, chocolate and raspberries?

As per our previous exchange, we have both put our unique spin on each other’s recipe, but it’s basically the same.  Alex’s recipe says it serves “1 very hungry person, or possibly 2 normal people.”  Since I had three people to feed, I tripled her recipe and appropriately scaled some of the ingredients.  I will say that the original recipe does serve 1 person if they are very hungry, but if you’re serving it as part of a breakfast, like I did (we had it with cold smoked ham steaks and over-easy eggs) it serves 2; with that in mind, my version serves 6.

This recipe is full-on paleo; if it weren’t forbidden to make paleo versions of “treats” these would be Whole30 compliant (well, except maybe for the vanilla extract).  And while one serving, which consists of two pancakes, contains 33.5 grams of carbohydrates, it also contains a whopping 12.4 grams of fiber.  So just trot out this recipe the next time someone asks you where you get your fiber now that you’ve given up grains.

Chocolate-Raspberry Pancakes. Gluten-free and dairy-free, these are incredibly healthy and insanely delicious.


Chocolate-Raspberry Pancakes
Serves: 6
[i]Makes twelve 4-inch pancakes[/i]
  • 3 large very ripe bananas, peeled
  • 5 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 2 tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 1/2 cup coconut flour
  • 1 pint fresh raspberries
  1. Whisk together the cinnamon, baking soda, cocoa powder and coconut flour together in a small mixing bowl. Set aside.
  2. Mash the bananas well in the bowl of a stand mixer. Add the eggs and vanilla and beat well with the paddle attachment until fairly smooth. Add the dry ingredients in three separate additions, beating well and scraping down the sides of the bowl between each addition. Add the raspberries to the batter and beat on low speed until the berries are broken up, but not pureed.
  3. Lightly grease a griddle or large skillet with coconut oil and place over medium-low heat. Carefully pour the pancake batter by the 1/4 cupful, taking care that the pancake is no larger than the surface area of the spatula you are using. Cook until the edges are set and bubbles appear on the surface, about 3 minutes, before carefully flipping. Cook for another 3 minutes and transfer to a plate; keep warm. Repeat until all of the batter has been used.
  4. Serve hot with butter and maple syrup, if desired.
  5. Nutrition (per serving): 234 calories, 7.5g total fat, 155mg cholesterol, 412.8mg sodium, 395.2mg potassium, 33.5g carbohydrates, 12.4g fiber, 11.8g sugar, 10.1g protein


Cherry Chocolate Chip Muffins

It’s cold here today.

How cold, you ask?  This kind of cold:

Chilly in Podunk

I’d say there’s a wee bit of a nip in the air, wouldn’t you?

I wore my sheepskin coat to work this morning.  I never wear my sheepskin coat; it weighs like 20 pounds.

Anyhoo, what better thing to do when it gets this kind of cold than bake?  And what better to bake than some wonderfully rich muffins, full of high-quality dark chocolate and fresh, sweet cherries?

I know cherries aren’t in season – it’s 5 degrees outside, duh – but I found some last week at the grocery store that were just gorgeous and couldn’t resist, even if they were $7/pound.  I’ve been nibbling on them for days, but realized I should probably do something else with them before they went bad, since I was the only person eating them and they were $7/pound.  The Young One is having his friends over Saturday to celebrate his 18th birthday, so I also had some very nice Ghirardelli semi-sweet chocolate chips in the house (I’m making chocolate cupcakes with classic chocolate buttercream per his request), and since cherries and chocolate go so well together…well, there you go.

And, my goodness, are they ever good.  Even The Young One and his friends were gobbling them down – I had to hide them just so I’d have a couple left to photograph. (Yes, the chocolate chips kind of sank to the bottom, but frankly, who cares?  It’s chocolate; it’ll be good no matter where in the muffins it ends up.)

If you remove the chocolate chips and cherries, you have a very good, basic muffin recipe that works well with just about any additions or flavorings stirred in.  Just super, and reasonably low in calories and carbohydrates, as well.

Cherry Chocolate Chip Muffins

Cherry Chocolate Chip Muffins

Serves: 12
  • 1 1/2 cups almond flour
  • 4 tablespoons tapioca flour
  • 2 tablespoons potato starch
  • 1/4 cup coconut sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1/4 cup ghee or clarified butter, melted and cooled
  • 1 cup chopped fresh sweet cherries
  • 1 cup high-quality bittersweet chocolate chips
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 F. Generously grease the cups of a standard, one-dozen muffin tin.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the almond flour, tapioca flour, potato starch, coconut sugar, salt and baking soda. Beat the eggs in a small bowl, and stir into the almond flour mixture. Add the melted ghee and beat lightly by hand with a wooden spoon, until thoroughly combined. Fold in the cherries and chocolate chips.
  3. Divide the batter equally between the greased muffin cups. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
  4. Allow the muffins to cool for 5 minutes before removing from the pan. Cool completely before serving.
  5. Nutrition (per serving): 243 calories, 17.1g total fat, 57.1mg cholesterol, 152.9mg sodium, 252.7mg potassium, 16.7g carbohydrates, 3.5g fiber, 8g sugar, 3g protein

Chocolate Banana Snack Cake

You do odd things at 4 a.m. because you can’t sleep.  Like bake a cake.

Well, that’s not the only reason, but it is the reason I was doing it at 4 a.m. in the morning.

It’s that time of year again – our funds are squeezed due to all the darn food we’re buying and preserving to get us through most of the year.  We’ve canned 4 bushels of tomatoes, a half bushel of green beans (and will probably do another bushel before it’s said and done), canned or frozen 5 dozen ears of local sweet corn, canned I don’t know how many jars of salsa from our our garden (we’re growing both tomatoes and peppers), and I’m planning on roasting and canning a variety of squashes, including pumpkin, in the next few weeks.  We’re picking up our latest side of beef this week, have another hog coming in October, and if the hunting gods favor me, I’ll have at least one deer in the freezer before the season is over.  I’d also like to get another goat, if not two.

I know it seems odd that I’m using that as an excuse to bake a cake, but I’ve already got everything I need in my pantry to bake it.  Let me explain a little further…

The Young One, who these days would be better described as The Young Bottomless Pit, takes his lunch to school every day.  He takes a sandwich on sprouted whole wheat bread, nuts (he’s fond of pistachios and cashews), cheese cubes (we buy large blocks just for this purpose), fruit of some sort (this week it’s apples and grapes), carrot sticks, celery stuffed with some sort of nut butter, and a fig bar or other cookie purchased from our local natural foods store.

Those nuts and cookies are flippin’ expensive, so he’s not getting them this week.  He’s getting home-popped organic popcorn, of which I have a generous supply in my cupboards, and this snack cake – if his reaction this morning is anything to go by, I’m probably screwed and will never get to buy him a cookie again.  Not surprising; the cake is dense, moist and chocolatey, and really pretty quick and easy to throw together.   It requires no icing or other adornment (although I bet it would be great topped with a nice chocolate ganache), and you get 16 servings out of an 8-inch square pan.

Works for me…even at 4 a.m.

Chocolate Banana Snack Cake
Chocolate Banana Snack Cake
Chocolate Banana Snack Cake

Serves: 16
  • 2 cups almond flour
  • 1/2 cup tapioca flour
  • 2 tablespoons potato flour
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 heaping teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher or sea salt
  • 3 large eggs
  • 2 large very ripe bananas
  • 3/4 cup coconut sugar
  • 4 tablespoons melted ghee or clarified butter
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  1. Preheat oven to 350 F; generously grease an 8″ x 8″ baking pan.
  2. Whisk together the flours, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt in a large bowl; set aside. In the bowl of a stand mixer (or another large mixing bowl if using a hand mixer), mix the eggs, bananas, sugar, ghee and vanilla on
  3. medium speed until well blended. Mix in the almond flour mixture in three additions on low speed, mixing well and scraping down the sides after each addition.
  4. Spread the batter (it will be thick) into the prepared baking pan and bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean.
  5. Place on a wire rack and allow to cool. Cut into16 squares for serving.
  6. Nutrition (per serving): 173 calories, 10.2g total fat, 42.5mg cholesterol, 172.3mg sodium, 208.4mg potassium, 16.8g carbohydrates, 3g fiber, 7.7g sugar, 2g protein


Chocolate Cupcakes

With chocolate buttercream.

Oh yes, I did.

Now, to give me credit, The G Man was spending the night with us on Friday and what kind of Meema would I be if I didn’t make some sort of treat for my adorable grandson?  Besides, these are about as primal, if not strictly paleo, as a cupcake can get – no refined flours or sugars of any kind – and still be pretty darn moist and delicious.  AND topped with an airy-yet-delectable chocolate frosting.

The cupcakes were good; the texture was a little more rustic than a traditional cupcake, but any baked item made with almond meal will have that quality – they were still pretty moist and tender (to say nothing of being the embodiment of chocolatey deliciousness).  Without the frosting, they come in about 13 grams of carbohydrate per serving – not bad for a chocolate cupcake.  The frosting was a traditional neoclassic buttercream, but I subbed the corn syrup and sugar with honey.  It came out really well, but the honey flavor was a bit overwhelming at first; refrigerating the cupcakes after they’d been iced mitigated that a great deal.  I also used the raw honey from our local bee keeper – next time, I’ll probably use a mild commercial honey.  But considering the original recipe calls for 1/2 cup of corn syrup and 3/4 cup white sugar, I think the substitution of 2/3 cup of honey was a good choice.  It certainly didn’t hurt the texture of the finished product, which is part of its appeal.

A couple of things you want to keep in mind when making these – the frosting, in particular.  Make sure the honey comes to a complete boil, or else the buttercream won’t firm up enough to spread or pipe, but don’t allow it boil beyond that or it’ll boil right over the top of the saucepan.  Also, take care when transferring it to the glass measuring up – it will foam up a bit and overflow the container if you’re not careful.  Also, I use a stand mixture for this because the eggs and honey must be beaten until completely cool before adding the butter or else it will curdle, and this takes a little time.  So if you’re using a hand mixer, be prepared to stand there for awhile.

You can probably add up to 4 ounce of chocolate – I used a 70% bittersweet – to the buttercream before it becomes too stiff to spread or pipe, but I wouldn’t add any more.  Melt the chocolate in the top of a double boiler, or a bowl suspended over simmering water in a saucepan, but make sure the chocolate is relatively cool to the touch before adding it to the buttercream, or you’ll run the risk of curdling the mixture.

If you plan on refrigerating the buttercream before frosting the cupcakes, bring it completely to room temperature and beat it again with the mixer to restore the texture.  If you don’t bring it completely to room temperature before rebeating, it will curdle.

Note:  you’ll notice this makes 10 cupcakes instead of a dozen.  Sorry about that, but that’s how much batter this particular recipe makes.  You will have enough frosting for a dozen though; hand the leftovers and a spoon to someone so it won’t be hanging around the kitchen, tempting you.

Chocolate Cupcakes
Chocolate Cupcakes
Chocolate Cupcakes
Serves: 10
  • 1 cup almond flour
  • 2 tablespoons tapioca flour
  • 1 tablespoon potato flour
  • 1/4 cup cocoa
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1/3 cup ghee or clarified butter, melted
  • 1/4 cup coconut milk
  • 1/2 cup coconut sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • Chocolate Buttercream
  • 3 large egg yolks
  • 2/3 cup mild honey
  • 8 ounces butter, softened
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 3 ounces high-quality dark chocolate, melted
  1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Grease 10 cups of a standard muffin tin; set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the flours, cocoa, salt and baking soda. In the bowl of a stand mixer (or a large mixing bowl with a hand mixer), mix together the egg, coconut sugar, ghee, coconut milk and vanilla on low speed until well-blended. Add the dry ingredients in three additions, scraping down the sides of the bowl between each addition, until the batter is smooth.
  3. Divide the batter equally between the 10 greased muffin tins. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in one of the cupcakes comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes; remove the cupcakes from the pan and cool completely before frosting.
  4. To make the buttercream, grease a heat-proof 1-cup glass measuring cup. Set aside.
  5. In a medium bowl, beat the yolks with an electric mixer until light in color. Meanwhile, heat the honey in a small saucepan over medium-high heat just until it comes to a full boil. Immediately transfer the honey to the glass measuring cup to stop the cooking.
  6. If using an electric hand-held mixer, beat the hot honey into the yolks in a steady stream. Do not allow honey to fall on the beaters or they will spin it onto the sides of the bowl. If using a stand mixer, pour a small amount of honey over the yolks with the mixer turned off. Immediately beat at high speed for 5 seconds. Stop the mixer and add a larger amount of honey. Beat at high speed for 5 seconds. Continue with the remaining honey; for the last addition, use a rubber scraper to remove the honey clinging to the measuring cup. Continue beating until completely cool.
  7. Gradually beat in the butter and vanilla – the buttercream will not completely thicken until all of the butter has been added. Once all of the butter has been incorporated, beat in the melted chocolate – make sure the chocolate is not hot. Buttercream can be refrigerated; bring to room temperature and rebeat to restore the texture before using.
  8. Nutrition (per serving): 484 calories, 37.2g total fat, 175.1mg cholesterol, 141.4mg sodium, 232.6mg potassium, 33.8g carbohydrates, 3g fiber, 26.9g sugar, 4.3g protein