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Every so often we get enquiries for sugar-free or "healthy" cakes for customers who are either diabetic or are on restricted diets, for example, low carb or keto. Like true sugar snobs, we've been saying soz-no-can-do, after all, we are Anges de SUCRE. But having met quite a few people who are cutting back on sugar but still thorough foodies I was inspired to start playing with low carb recipes.
This chocolate cake recipe is packed with protein and also happens to be gluten-free as it's made with almond meal, flaxseed and hazelnuts. It's low in carbs and has grass-fed butter for full Keto credentials. The keto-friendly almond flour sponge layers are slightly denser than a usual sponge cake but it is still very much cake-like with a definite delicate chocolatey crumb.
I've adapted our delicious Swiss meringue buttercream as sugar-free for that same silky and smooth texture, but guilt-free! Oh, and that glossy, gorgeous chocolate drip? It's the same recipe we always use, except this time with grass-fed butter.
In addition to your usual suspects such as eggs, butter (but again, grass-fed eg: Kerrygold), vanilla and cocoa powder, it does also require some unusual ingredients that are outside the remit of what you'd expect of normal cake-making, such as ground golden flaxseed, and natural sweeteners. So plan a little ahead to stock up and you'll be just fine!
I've linked my Amazon shop for some ingredients and tools recommended for this recipe - If you purchase anything from the shop I do get a small commission but there is absolutely no price difference for you (thank you for supporting!).
95g Almond Meal, finely ground
60g Milled Golden Flaxseed, finely ground
8g Gluten-Free Baking Powder (eg: Dr Oetker)
4 Eggs, medium or large
70g Unsalted Grassfed Butter (eg: Kerrygold)
70g Pure Ghee (I used Sacred Foods Vanilla Ghee)
200g Xylitol Sweetener (eg: Bulk Powders or Total Sweet)
80g High Quality Cocoa Powder (eg: Callebaut Brute or any good supermarket brand)
Pinch of Salt
5g Instant Coffee Granules
1) Pre-heat the oven to 160 Degrees Celcius. Prepare three 6 inch round cake tins by greasing them with butter or oil spray. In a mixing bowl, mix together the almond and flaxseed meals with the baking powder. In a separate bowl, crack the eggs and gently whisk.
2) In a microwave-safe bowl, place the butter, ghee, cocoa powder, salt, and coffee and melt in the microwave in short bursts or over a bain-marie/double-boiler. Whisk till the sweetener is dissolved well.
3) Place the butter mix bowl over the tea towel and gently pour in the eggs and whisk to combine simultaneously. Be sure to do it in a slow steady stream so as to not scramble the eggs and cause lumps. Whisk till all eggs are combined well and you have a smooth glossy mixture.
4) Tip the dry ingredients into the cocoa-eggy mix and stir to combine well briskly.
Divide the batter equally into the three tins and bake for 15 minutes. At 15 minutes, check for doneness with a cocktail stick inserted into the middle of a sponge - it should have a few crumbs stuck to it (but not wet mix). If it comes out with wet mix, bake for another 2 minutes and check again. You do not want to overbake this gluten-free sponge, therefore we want some crumbs to stick the cocktail stick before removing from the oven and cooling in their tins at room temperature. The tops are pretty flat so no need to torte (huzzah!).
150g Egg Whites (approx. 4 egg whites)
70g Erythritol Sweetener (eg: Pure Sweet)
90g Xylitol Sweetener (eg: Bulk Powders or Total Sweet)
250g Unsalted Grassfed Butter (eg: Kerrygold), room temperature, cubed
5ml Vanilla Extract
Pinch of Salt
70g High Quality Cocoa Powder (eg: Callebaut Brute or any good supermarket brand)
1) Make sure you have BOTH types of natural sweeteners - Xylitol AND Erythritol. I know it's annoying, but it's important as if you use just one of them it risks re-crystallising and becoming grainy. So DO use both.
2) Place the egg whites, sweeteners, and salt in a mixer bowl over a bain-marie/double-boiler and whisk on medium heat. Keep whisking till the egg whites are really frothy, the sweeteners are completely dissolved and the mixture is hot to touch.
3) Place the mixer bowl on the stand-mixer with a whisk attachment and whip on med-high speed for about 8-10 minutes until the meringue has shiny stiff peaks and the bowl is no longer hot to touch.
4) Lower the speed on the stand-mixer to medium and chuck in the cubes of butter and vanilla and whip till you get a smooth and silky buttercream - don't worry if it starts to look a bit splitty/curdly, just keep whipping till it comes together.
5) Add in the cocoa powder slowly on low speed and whip till it's combined well. Taste it - you won't believe it's ZERO SUGAR!
50g High Quality Dark Chocolate (eg: Callebaut 70.5% or any good supermarket brand)
50g Unsalted Grassfed Butter (eg: Kerrygold)
1) Place the chocolate and the butter in a microwave-safe bowl and melt in the microwave on short bursts, or over a bain-marie. The glaze needs to be between 28 Degrees Celcius and 32 Degrees Celcius when being used to drip over the cake.
1) Place a cake board on a turntable (mine is this fab marble turntable linked below that also doubles up as a cake stand).
Smear a dollop of buttercream in the centre and place a keto sponge layer on it. Using a cranked spatula, smooth a ladleful of buttercream over the sponge. Sandwich with another keto sponge layer and repeat till you have all three layers stacked and sandwiched.
2) Cover the sides with sugar-free buttercream and smooth with a cake scraper till you get a semi-naked finish (ideally, if you are watching the kcals you don't need to fully frost the cake as you already have buttercream in between the layers!). Clean off the base by carefully wiping with a damp kitchen towel and place the iced cake into the fridge or freezer for 15-20 minutes to firm up.
3) Warm the keto chocolate drip ganache until it's between 28-32 Degrees Celsius. Pour a ladleful of ganache into the middle of the chilled cake placed on a turntable. Using the back of a tablespoon, spread the ganache to the edges of the cake and push a little bit over the edge in close intervals to get beautiful drips down the sides. You want to do this at a steady yet speedy pace so that the ganache doesn't set before you get to do the drip.
4) Place the cake in the fridge/freezer for the ganache to set. Whilst it is setting, prepare a piping bag with your favourite star-tip nozzle (mine is a medium fine star savoy nozzle from my handy Jem nozzle set).
Fill it with a few ladles of the buttercream. Once the ganache is set or almost set, bring it back out of the fridge and sprinkle with the chopped hazelnuts along the edge. Pipe swirls and stars on top with the buttercream and fill the centre with more nuts should you wish.
Now, dig right in totally GUILT-FREE!
This cake serves 12 portions. If you are on a restricted diet, you could always use a diet app (eg: MyFitnessPal) to check on the calorie content per serving and macros. It is definitely high in fat and protein, but very low carb and absolutely no sugar. If you are making this for a friend or family who is on a restricted diet, they will love you for this! And I hope you love ME for this too :)
As always, if you have any questions, just hit me up below in the comments. If you've made this and want to show off, please do tag me on Instagram @angesdesucre #angesdesucre so I can coo over your keto creation.
Lots of love,
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