Yesterday was my husband’s 39th birthday. The poor, poor man. Not only does his birthday come just after Christmas, but he is the last of a multitude of family members to have a December birthday. By the time his natal day rolls around, we are utterly exhausted. We are partied out, we are gifted out, and we are fooded out. It is difficult to make his day special, because even he doesn’t really feel like doing much. In fact, for the last two years, we have spent his birthday traipsing around IKEA, which actually isn’t a bad way to spend your day (especially if you go for breakfast!). Next year will be his 40th birthday and I am determined to find a way to do something special for him. He may or may not read this post, so that’s all I am going to say about that.
Having done my best to stay relatively low carb through the holidays, the idea of making a special birthday treat wasn’t quite as repulsive as it has been in years past. (I know it’s shocking to say that making a cake or a sweet could ever be repulsive, but just after Christmas when you’ve had your fill of cookies, cakes and candies, it actually can be.) So I had it in my head to make something to bake his day a bit more special. I was actually thinking of ice cream cake, for the simplicity of buying a carton of ice-cream, softening it and then smooshing it into a cake pan. Yes, I suppose I could have made the ice cream, but that would be too much work just after Christmas.
Then these pretty little things caught my eye on Stumble Upon and turned my head away from ice cream cake entirely. Dense, rich, miniature flourless chocolate cakes. And since they were already flourless, I was pretty sure I could make them low carb as well, without any loss of flavour. The ones from La Mia Vita Dolce were made with almond flour, which I have on hand at all times now. But something about the way she said that the almond flour imparted a slightly nutty taste got me thinking about the bag of peanut flour I recently picked up at Trader Joe’s. Why not play up the nuttiness of the flour itself? There’s nothing better than peanut butter and chocolate, so why not make it with peanut flour, and then enhance the flavour with a chocolate peanut butter ganache?
The Results: The substitution of peanut flour for almond flour wasn’t quite as simple as I thought it would be. The peanut flour is ground really, really fine and has a drier texture than I expected. I found I had to add some almond milk to get anything resembling a workable batter. But once I did, I could hardly keep myself from eating all of it raw, it was so tasty! I could only hope that the cakes would be as good as the batter was.
And, thank goodness, they were. These are incredibly rich, dense morsels of an almost fudge-like consistency. They are small, to be sure, but you really don’t want them to be any bigger. My older kids both really liked them but neither finished more than half of what was on their plate. The baby went wild over it, and had a fit when I cut her off. I myself was extremely full after eating mine. In fact, I got 7 little cakes out of the batter, but next time I would divvy it up even further, making 8 or 9 little cakes instead.
The only other thing I might change, although I really loved these as they were, is to add some peanut butter to the actual batter to up the PB flavour. As it was, there was a lovely hint of it in the cake, but most of it came from the glaze so it was definitely subtle. But with the basic cake, there are so many ways you could flavour this…mocha, mint chocolate, hazelnut, whatever suits your mood. I will definitely be making these again!
Flourless Chocolate Cakes with Chocolate Peanut Butter Ganache – adapted from La Mia Vita Dolce
6 tbsp butter
4 oz unsweetened chocolate
1/4 cup granulated erythritol
10 drops liquid splenda
1/2 cup peanut flour
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1/2 cup almond milk (or whole milk or cream)
1 tbsp butter
2 tbsp peanut butter
2 oz good quality dark chocolate (I used Lindt 85% cacao)
For the cakes, preheat the oven to 280F and grease 8 (or more) cups of a regular muffin pan.
In a medium saucepan, melt butter and chocolate together over low heat and stir until smooth. Add erythritol and liquid splenda and stir until thoroughly combined. Set aside.
In a medium bowl, whisk together peanut flour and cocao, breaking up clumps with the back of a fork. Add the chocolate mixture and stir to combine (will be very thick). Stir in eggs, one at a time, and then almond milk until mixture thins out somewhat and becomes a smooth batter.
Spoon batter into prepared muffin tins. Because the batter is quite thick, you will need to press the batter into the cups using the back of a spoon. Smooth the tops.
Bake for 20-25 minutes, until the cakes are just set and the middle is firm to the touch. Allow to cool in the tins, then flip out onto plates for serving.
For the glaze, melt butter, peanut butter and chocolate together in a small saucepan over low heat. Stir until smooth. Spoon over cakes and sprinkle with chopped peanuts for garnish. You can serve immediately, with the glaze still warm or let it set.
Makes 8 (or more). Carb count will depend on how many you make and the type of chocolate you use in the glaze. The way I made them, each cake (with ganache) has a total of 15.75g of carbs and 4.6g of fiber. Subtracting erythritol, each cake with ganache has 9.75g of carbs and 4.6g of fiber (5.15g total net carbs).