This is the richest, fudgiest, most densely chocolatey cake I’ve ever tasted. I’m still reeling from it. If you love chocolate, or you love someone who loves chocolate, make this cake. Drop what you’re doing, and just go make it right now. Never mind that it’s vegan, gluten free and healthier. It’s a chocolate earthquake.
So why “Celebration Cake?” It’s a celebration of chocolate, for sure, and it’s perfect for celebrations because it tastes like a million chocolate bucks, but there’s another reason. I’ve been celebrating my favorite sporting event, the Tour de France, for the last few weeks, and one of my favorite things about this year’s tour is many of the teams are starting to grasp the awesome power of food. They’ve been showcasing their chefs, taking us inside their kitchens and sharing their menus, and most of what they’re eating is incredibly healthy and occasionally appetizing.
But there’s one chef in particular, Nicki Strobel from ORICA-GreenEDGE, who’s really killing it in terms of health _and_ taste. He’s doing this neat little series called Taste of the Tour, and even sharing his recipes. The team did a sweet job during a time trial, so he rewarded them with a sumptuous-looking flourless chocolate cake he called “celebration cake.” You can see it on Orica’s Facebook page…does that look yummy or what?!?
However, I’m not burning 6000 calories a day chugging through France on a bike. I’m lucky if I burn 2400 calories on a day when I’m mowing the lawn. So I decided to modify Chef Nicki’s recipe a bit, replacing the butter with olive oil and the eggs with banana, cutting the sugar with good old Stevia In The Raw and trimming the size to serve my team of three – my mom, my boyfriend and me.
The resulting cake is vegan, gluten free, and almost void of sodium and cholesterol. Even better, it tastes like a fudge brownie gone on a rampage through a Belgian chocolatiers. It’s so rich, so moist, so super-ultra chocolatey…I’ve never tasted anything like it. It really doesn’t need any frosting or topping; if anything, dust it with a
teeny bit of powdered sugar just for looks, and serve it with fresh fruit for a counterpoint to the richness. Thank you for the inspiration, Chef Nicki, and vive le Tour!
Vegan, Gluten Free Celebration Fudge Cake
yields 10 small, ultra-rich slices
6 oz. semisweet chocolate, chopped
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup brown sugar
1 large, ripe banana, well mashed
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1 teaspoon powdered sugar for dusting over (optional)
1. Preheat the oven to 350. Line the bottom of a 6″ or 7″ springform pan with parchment (wax paper will do in a pinch, but can be difficult to peel off) and spray the pan with nonstick spray, paper and all.
2. Combine the chocolate and olive oil in a heavy saucepan over medium-low heat. Stir constantly until they form a smooth mixture.
3. Add the sugar and salt and reduce the heat to low. Cook, stirring constantly, for about 3-5 minutes.
4. Remove the pan from heat and add the banana in thirds, mixing for a minute or two after each addition. The mixture should look smooth and glossy after all the banana has been added. Stir in the vanilla. To prevent lumps, use a sieve or wire strainer to add the cocoa. Stir until all is well combined and the mixture looks smooth. Don’t taste at this point, because if you do there’s a high likelihood you’ll eat half the batter.
5. Bake for 25 minutes. Let cool completely, then run a knife around the inside to loosen the cake before removing the springform. Invert the cake onto a plate, remove the bottom of the pan and peel away the paper. Turn the cake back over onto a serving plate (I like to use the springform bottom) and dust the top with powdered sugar if you like.