A decadent low carb, gluten-free cake with layers of meringue, pastry cream and sugar-free chocolate ganache. Chocolate eclairs in cake form!
I bet you didn’t expect to be eating chocolate eclairs on your low carb, gluten-free diet, did ya? Well in case you hadn’t noticed, I like to defy expectations. Here I am, a suburban mother of three driving a minivan, with a tattoo, occasionally sporting a mohawk, and who has been spotted in sparkly gold Converse-style sneakers. For all that wacky surface stuff, I am actually a pretty conventional person. But I really love to defy the expectation that low carb, gluten-free diets are boring and devoid of decadent desserts. I like to take the sugariest, carbiest, gluteniest of desserts and figure out a way to make them healthy, without sacrificing texture or flavour.
I’m going to go ahead and tell you right now that with regards to Chocolate Eclair Cake, I nailed it. In a completely unconventional fashion, naturally! The original, which I first spied on Pinterest, is made with graham crackers (gulp!), vanilla pudding (double gulp), whipped topping and canned chocolate frosting (triple and quadruple gulp!). Holy carb laden minefield of processed foods! But it sure did look pretty and my instincts told me I could easily come up with a far healthier version.
Since I came up with my low carb graham cracker recipe a while ago, I considered making some for the chocolate eclair cake. But I found that I was rather disappointed that graham crackers were what made up the layers of such a cake. When I first saw it, I thought it was some sort of nut-laden, crunchy sponge cake which intrigued me so much more than graham crackers. So I mulled it over and settled on a nutty meringue layer to pair with low carb pastry cream and low carb chocolate ganache.
In terms of flavour and texture, I think the cake came out beautifully. In terms of overall appearance, it wasn’t exactly the prettiest cake I’ve ever made. It’s hard to make the meringue layers perfectly even and I’ve never been all that good at cake decorating as it is. Getting photos to make this cake look as appetizing as it tasted was an exercise in frustration. Not for me are the ideal slices of layer cake with every layer delineated and no smooshing or smearing of one layer into another. My chocolate smeared all over the place as I tried to cut the cake.
But do I really care? Will you when you taste this? Nope. You’re mouth will be too full of divine flavours and you will be too busy thinking “I can haz low carb chocolate eclair?”. When you taste it, you will think this is the prettiest cake you ever did see!
- Bring whipping cream to a simmer in a medium saucepan over medium heat.
- In a medium bowl, whisk egg yolks with sweetener and salt, then whisk in arrowroot starch* until mixture becomes pale yellow and thick, about 30 seconds.
- Slowly whisk about half of the hot cream into the yolks to temper, then return the yolk/cream mixture back to the saucepan and cook until thick and glossy, about 1½ minutes, whisking continuously. It thickens up suddenly and quickly, so watch carefully!
- Remove from heat and whisk in butter, vanilla and stevia. Transfer to a small bowl and press plastic wrap flush to the surface. Chill in refrigerator at least 3 hours.
- *If you don't want to use arrowroot starch, you can whisk in 1/2 tsp of xanthan gum at the end to help thicken the pastry cream. This should be your last step before chilling.
- Preheat oven to 350F. On a large piece of parchment, trace three (3) 5x10 inch rectangles. Place parchment on a large baking sheet.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together almond flour and powdered sweetener.
- In a large, clean bowl, beat egg whites with granulated sweetener, vanilla extract, cream of tartar and salt until they just begin to hold stiff peaks.
- Gently fold in almond flour mixture until fully combined.
- Spread meringue mixture evenly onto each of the 3 traced rectangles. Bake 15 minutes, then turn off oven and prop open door with a wooden spoon. Leave inside until cool.
- In a medium saucepan over low heat, melt butter and unsweetened chocolate together, stirring until smooth.
- Stir in powdered sweetener and vanilla extract.
- Let cool 5 to 10 minutes, until thickened but still pourable.
- Peel one meringue layer carefully off parchment and lay on serving platter.
- Spread with half of the pastry cream. Top with another layer of meringue and spread with remaining half of pastry cream. Top with final layer of meringue.
- Pour ganache over top of cake and let drip down the sides.
- Let set 1 hour before serving (you can refrigerate, but let it sit out 10 minutes before trying to cut, to soften ganache).
Serves 10. Each serving has 5 g of carbs and 2 g of fiber. Total NET CARBS = 3 g.
Per serving: 281 Calories; 28g Fat (85.4% calories from fat); 5g Protein; 5g Carbohydrate; 2g Dietary Fiber; 126mg Cholesterol; 145mg Sodium.