Flourless Chocolate Torte from Maria Emmerich

Low Carb Chocolate TorteAs you know, I was recently down in New Orleans to film a few segments of a local healthy cooking show.  There, I got a chance to meet and hang out with one of my co-authors, Maria Emmerich of Maria’s Nutritious and Delicious Journal.  If you don’t know Maria’s blog, you should.  She not only creates mouthwatering low carb, gluten-free recipes, but as a nutritionist, she also goes into wonderful explanations of the health aspects behind various foods.  And having met her in person, I can vouch for the fact that she’s funny, sweet and easy to talk to.  We are both runners, so we talked at length about running and nutrition, and her thinking is very much in line with mine, that fat and protein is actually the best fuel, and carbs are unnecessary at best.  I asked her to share her recipe for her AMAZING flourless chocolate torte (I tried it New Orleans, trust  me, it’s awesome!), as well as go a little more in depth about low carb diets and running.  Enjoy!

I get a lot of questions on how much fat is in my recipes. Why don’t I label it? Well, because fat is my source of energy. I even run marathons with this diet and I never ‘hit the wall.’

People often complain of low energy when they first start a low carb diet because they are “sugar-burners.” This is not only inefficient, but very detrimental to our health. For one reason, cancer LOVES sugar! This is why cancer patients drink a huge glass of glucose to see where the caner is in their body. Cancer feeds on sugar, if you eat more sugar, the more the cancer grows.

Energy actually comes from a chemical we produce in our body called adenosine triphosphate (ATP). We can produce energy 2 ways: anaerobic and aerobic.
1. Anaerobic (‘without oxygen’) bacteria break down glucose to produce energy. Our cells can use this method.
2. Aerobic (‘with oxygen’). All human and animal life requires oxygen to function.

As we breathe in oxygen, we carry it through the hemoglobin to the mitochondria (the powerhouse of our cells) where we burn fat and produce energy. The more mitochondria the more energy and fat burning going on. AND the more healthy fats = more mitochondria. You can also increase the amount of mitochondria with certain supplements which I discuss in my book Secrets to a Healthy MetabolismOne supplement I take everyday for this is CoQ10 (click HERE to find).

*Please note that if you have a food allergy, you can’t absorb iron properly which will inhibit you from carrying oxygen to the mitochondria. This will cause exhaustion due to low ATP production along with other problems.

Flourless Chocolate Torte

Energy Can Come From:
1. Glucose: created with carbohydrates and protein
2. Fats, both from the diet and from stored body fats
3. Ketones which are derived from the metabolism of fats

GLUCOSE and ENERGY = EAT PROTEIN
Some cells, such as the kidneys have very little mitochondria so they don’t use fat for energy, so this is why eating protein for glucose is important. If we go too long without eating, we maintain glucose levels by breaking down glycogen in muscle proteins with a process called gluconeogenesis. BUT this is not healthy. There is a detrimental phenomena called SARCOPENIA where we lose 1% of our muscle every year starting at age 25, which is terrible because 1 pound of muscle burns 50 calories and 1 pound of fat burns only 2…even when we sleep!

So we don’t want to be cannibals to our muscles. Eating adequate amounts of protein will produce glucose (healthy carbs such as non-starchy veggies and almond/coconut flour will too). Our cells need a steady supply of protein to sustain a healthy structure. Any protein over and above 1 to 1.5 grams/kilogram of lean body weight/day can be used as a source of glucose. Anything less will cause you to start eating healthy muscle tissue. When you eat protein, you convert about 58% to glucose. So 100g of protein will produce 58 grams of glucose.

KETONES and ENERGY = EAT HEALTHY FATS
So if you want to stop being a “sugar burner” you must derive energy from another source. Enter fat. When we start eating a healthy low carb diet, our bodies slowly switch from burning sugar to burning fat. This is where eating becomes an “art.” Energy must be derived from healthy fatty acids and ketones produced from foods such as coconut oil. At first the body will feel lethargic due to the mechanisms switching over; burning sugar is easy, burning fat takes a few days to adapt.

The brain prefers to use ketones instead of glucose for energy (in Alzheimer’s the brain can no longer convert glucose for energy, coconut oil is VERY healthy for these patients!).

Eating a very low carbohydrate diet stimulates the production of ketones from body fat; which is why people lose so much weight on this diet. Cutting out carbs and reducing protein also leads to a lower insulin level in the blood. A normal blood sugar is 1 TEASPOON of sugar in you blood. Many Americans consume over 63 teaspoons a day! If you can conquer a normal blood sugar, it reduces the problems associated with high insulin levels; insulin resistance, leptin resistance, high blood pressure, Metabolic Syndrome, weight gain, sleep issues…

Don’t eat just lean proteins! It is not tolerated well in our body. It leads to nausea in as little as three days. A high healthy fat diet, however, is the traditional diet to sustain for a lifetime. Eating only lean protein causes excess intake of nitrogen, which leads to hyperammonaemia, which is a build up of ammonia in the bloodstream and is toxic to the brain. Many traditional societies survived on a purely animal product diet, which was naturally high in fat…they didn’t have George Foreman Grills.

Our paleo ancestors actually consumed more fat than protein; with a ratio of about 80% calories from fat and 20% from protein. During prolonged periods of starvation or something such as marathon running, fatty acids are converted into ketones, the preferred energy source for highly active tissues like those found in the heart and muscles. Ketones provide a long lasting energy to all cells with mitochondria. Ketones are used to generate ATP. If you use glucose for energy, it needs the intervention of bacteria, ketones can be used directly.

*Note: Using a quality REAL salt is also essential for electrolyte balance. We start skipping the salt and we get low energy. I’m not talking about pre-packaged and fast food junk salt. A Celtic Sea Salt filled with minerals will help with energy.

The healthiest more energizing fats come from animal sources. Quality animal sources like free-range egg yolks and grass fed beef!

Sugar-free Chocolate Torte

Flourless Chocolate Torte from Maria Emmerich

My tip is to make this in a pie or cake pan (lined with parchment paper and greased well) and under-bake it just a touch. Let it cool and cut into individual servings to store in the freezer for 'portion control'. When a craving strikes, take your little piece of heaven out and warm in the oven or microwave for about 20 seconds just until 'gooey and melty' top with a dollop of cream cheese frosting!...oh my!

Ingredients

    Cake:
  • 7 oz unsweetened chocolate
  • 14 TBS (1 3/4 sticks) butter or coconut oil
  • 1 ¼ cup erythritol (or Swerve)
  • 1 TBS Stevia Glycerite (adjust to desired sweetness) (omit if using Swerve)
  • 5 large eggs
  • Cream Cheese Frosting:
  • 1 stick salted butter
  • 8 oz cream cheese
  • 3 TBS unsweetened Almond Milk
  • 1 TBS Stevia Glycerite (to taste)

Instructions

  1. For the cake, preheat oven to 375F degrees.
  2. Grease an 8 inch pan and line with parchment paper (or grease mini muffin tins). Grease parchment paper.
  3. Brown the butter (if desired…tastes way better!) in a saucepan. Once the butter is brown (not black!), slowly add the chocolate (don't burn the chocolate).
  4. Add the sweetener. Let cool in fridge for awhile. Once cool, whisk in one egg at a time.
  5. Bake for 25 minutes.
  6. Serve with cream cheese frosting.
  7. For the frosting, brown the butter in a sauce pan (stir constantly on high heat until light golden brown – it makes such a difference!!!).
  8. Once brown add the cream cheese, almond milk, and sweetener to taste. Mix until creamy and allow to cool for at least 2 hours, it will thicken.
  9. Spread on top of cake (add almonds if desired) and enjoy.

Notes

Nutritional facts (per serving): 261 Calories, 4.8 Grams protein, 4.2 grams carbohydrates, 2.1 GRAMS FIBER, 27.4 g fat. SERVES 16 (1 slice per serving)

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Comments

  1. Maria Emmerich says:

    Thanks for all that you do! You are such a blessing!

  2. Good stuff! I completely agree with your writings, but I assume it’s intentional that you leave out the “controversial” idea of saturated fats being healthy. Like you said, our ancestors ate lots of fat, and lots of that fat was from animals and beautifully saturated. I don’t think there was a whole lot of olive mashing back in the day. :-) Now everyone is afraid of ketones because they think it’ll cause kidney damage. Sad. Keep up the good work!

  3. The article states: Cutting out carbs and reducing protein also leads to a lower insulin level in the blood.
    Don’t you mean sugar instead of protein?

  4. Katharine says:

    Thanks for this post and recipe! Looks heavenly. Sounds like y’all had a great time in New Orleans. I’m still trying to understand how low carb one needs to go to switch from using glucose to using ketones for energy. i.e. 30g carbohydrate per day? 100g carbohydrate per day? Thanks!!

  5. What about soaked legumes and beans? Many traditional cultures have used legumes and beans as a healthy part of their diet…. Where do these fit in?

    • They would be fine if soaked, if you don’t have a damaged metabolism. But the clients I see often have metabolic syndrome … Beans and legumes have too much starch in them for weight loss.

  6. Too much protein can also turn into sugar. Fats are the only macronutrient that can’t raise blood sugar.

  7. oh wow! I am keeping this in my special recipe box

  8. Thanks Maria & Carolyn! I didn’t know that sugar is given to cancer patients to find the cancer cells. Maria, I have one of your books and I love it! I always recommend it to my readers.

  9. So much interesting information and a great recipe. I enjoyed this post very much.

  10. Very informative, thanks and I will be doing this recipe soon!

  11. Very interesting! And a cool piece of torte, I’d love to visit New Orleans someday…
    Take care..

  12. Yum! Flourless tortes are one of my all time favorites!

  13. Shannon Frederick says:

    I made this today, it’s in the oven now, and it doesn’t seem to be cooking well. I used coconut oil, and when letting the chocolate mixture cool, it got a little chunky. I wisked in the eggs one by one, but that didn’t help. I just peaked at it after 15 min in the oven, and the oil seems to have separated and the edges are boiling. Maybe I should have used butter.

    • Hi Shannon…when I adapted the recipe for brownies, I had a bit of the same problem, but the end result was AWESOME. And I saw Maria make this New Orleans and it definitely had oil boiling on the sides and it still turned out amazingly. So I’d say give it a chance and let me know what happens.

  14. Does anyone know how low carb one should go if they need to gain a little bit of weight (to induce menstruation), but not gain too much weight?

  15. what would be a good carb amount per day for maintenance?

  16. I just got finished making this, and am so disappointed! :( I didn’t line my springform with foil. When I peeked in after about 15 minutes, precious coconut oil was dripping out of the bottom like a faucet! It definitely overcooked/dried out, and is more like a cake. I’ll definitely try again with foil tightly lining the pan!

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