A number of us at Teeccino have given up sugar, both in pursuit of optimal health and let’s confess, weight loss for the bikini season. Even if bikinis are a thing of the past, appearing in any kind of a bathing suit is equally motivating!
Whatever that extra poundage is that you picked up this winter, now’s the time to get rid of it and the tried and true method of cutting calories brings results.
So what was I to make for Galen’s birthday, my son, who is also our Vice President of Sales? We love to celebrate birthdays at Teeccino to give us a moment to gather on a fun vibe rather than for taking-care-of-business meetings. We have no problem finding great things to drink around here between iced Teeccino and our Brew Lab’s Tea Nitro. But sweet desserts present a big challenge!
Ok, I hadn’t made a cake for some years. Maybe more that 15! I had to go buy cake pans, that’s how long it’s been. I was inspired by our flavor of the month: Chocolate Raspberry. If there’s one thing I adore, it’s that combination of fruity juicy raspberries sitting on top of delectable dark chocolate.
My Teeccino Chocolate Raspberry Cake turned out to be not nearly as big an effort to make as I had anticipated. The most fun was the decorating part. Here was my reward: people said, “Wow, I could eat this cake and not get a headache or a sugar rush!”.
Yes, I made it gluten free too. No gluten reaction, no sugar spikes and pure absolutely pleasurable indulgence!
Sugar-free and gluten-free cake tastes just like the sugary gluten kind!
Baking gluten free is not so hard these days. There are great gluten-free flour replacements to choose from if you shop at natural food stores. I chose Pamela’s® All Purpose Gluten-Free Flour because I know Pamela from trade shows. Like myself, she’s devoted her career to providing alternatives to people with sensitivities so I trust she makes the best gluten-free flour possible.
If you’ve been following my recipes lately, you’ve seen me use a product called Swerve® to replace sugar. Again from trade shows, I know Andress, who started Swerve® and has dedicated her career to meeting the needs of people who want to be sugar free.
This time I was so impressed with the results from Swerve, I dug into some research on what it is made from. I’d like to digress for a moment to share with you what I learned.
All about erythritol:
Swerve is made from erythritol, a sugar alcohol that is found in some fruits and vegetables like grapes, asparagus and melons. It is non-caloric because erythritol isn’t digested by our small intestines. Don’t worry though, you can’t get drunk on sugar alcohols!
Unlike other sugar alcohols such as xylitol, sorbitol and maltitol, erythritol isn’t digested by our microbiome in the large intestines. Thus it doesn’t cause a gas reaction like the other sugar alcohols sometimes do. It also doesn’t cause loose stools, another great advantage over its sugar alcohol cousins. Erythritol is absorbed in the blood stream and passes out of the body via the urine within 24 hours, undigested!
However, Swerve does have FOS in it. That’s an extract made from chicory root called fructooligosaccharides. It’s a fermentation of inulin, which naturally occurs in chicory root, a fact you may know from drinking Teeccino. It helps contribute to Swerve’s sweetness.
Like inulin, FOS is a prebiotic. It feeds your digestive flora, but some people are sensitive to it. If so, it may cause some gas. We always recommend taking a good probiotic for a couple of weeks and that usually eliminates the microbes that produce gas from inulin or FOS.
Erythritol is made from glucose that is typically derived from corn but can also come from cane or beet sugar. Now that’s something that I was concerned about since corn grown in the USA is mostly all genetically modified. Fortunately, the erythritol in Swerve is made from non-GMO corn and they are certified by the Non-GMO Project.
Swerve is not certified organic though. There is organic erythritol on the market but it comes from China. Swerve is made in the US from ingredients sourced here and from France. Organic erythritol is also made in a different manner from Swerve. I believe that the reason why Swerve isn’t certified organic is that in the fermentation process that Swerve uses with a yeast that convert the glucose to erythritol, a source for nitrogen is necessary. That nitrogen is synthetic and thus not allowed in organic products.
On the plus side, Swerve is sweeter than other erythritol brands made using a different process. It replaces sugar 1:1 whereas erythritol is typically about 70% as sweet as sugar. I’ve read lots of reviews on Amazon for various brands selling erythritol. It seems that there is a lot of variability in sweetness and granule size, even within the same brand. So I’m a fan of using Swerve as it is consistent in excellent quality and delivers the sweet punch we all desire!
Here’s the best things about erythritol: It tastes like sugar. No weird aftertaste like you get from stevia or monk fruit. Those two non-caloric sweeteners also don’t have the same ability to replace sugar in baked goods. Erythritol, on the other hand, can be used to brown and caramelize just like sugar. There’s both a granular and powdered version, perfect for baking. No other sugar alcohol has these properties so it really is the replacement of choice for a zero calorie sweetener in baked goods.
OK, on to making cake! Wait ’til you taste the delicious raspberry chocolate flavor that Teeccino gives to this cake. It makes it superlative! Grind the Teeccino all-purpose-grind to a coarse powder so it really can flavor the cake evenly.
Gather the following ingredients:
- 2 1/2 cups Swerve granulated sugar replacement
- 2 2/3 cups Pamela’s gluten-free baking flour or whole wheat pastry flour
- 1 1/3 cup cocoa powder
- 3 Tbsp baking soda
- 1 1/2 Tbsp baking powder
- 2 tsp Teeccino Chocolate Raspberry grounds (grind into a powder in a nut & seed / coffee grinder)
- 1 1/2 tsp salt
- 3 eggs or for a vegan cake mix 3 Tbsp ground chia seeds with 3 Tbsp water
- 1 1/2 cup buttermilk or non dairy milk like almond milk mixed with 1 tsp apple cider vinegar
- 1 1/2 cup brewed Teeccino Chocolate Raspberry
- 3/4 cup melted butter or vegetable oil
- 3 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 pints of fresh raspberries
- 1 cup softened butter or non-dairy butter replacement
- 3 1/2 cups Swerve confectioners powdered sugar replacement
- 1/2 cup cocoa powder
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 4 Tbsp Califia Almond Creamer
- 1/2 cup bittersweet or dark chocolate chips
- 2 Tbsp butter or non-dairy butter
- 3 Tbsp Califia Almond Milk Creamer
Making the Cake:
Preheat the over to 350ºF. Grease the two 9″ round cake baking pans. Dust with cocoa powder to make it super easy to get the cakes out of the pans.
In a large bowl, sift together flour, cocoa powder, Teeccino grounds, baking soda, baking powder and salt.
In another large bowl, mix with a whisk or electric mixer, eggs, buttermilk, melted butter or oil, brewed Teeccino, and vanilla.
Using the whisk or electric beater, slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet, mixing thoroughly. Beat for 2 minutes. Add more brewed Teeccino if necessary to achieve a pourable batter. You may have to adjust the flour / liquid ratio depending on the type of flour you use as different flours will require different amounts of liquid.
Pour the batter into the 2 baking pans, dividing it evenly. Shake the pans to even out the batter all around the pan.
Bake for 30-35 minute. Test with a toothpick. When it comes out clean, remove the cake from the oven.
Let the cake cool in the baking pans. If you’re in a hurry, after 10 minutes you can remove the cakes and cool them on a rack.
Making The Frosting:
Prepare the frosting using an electric mixer and a bowl.
Cream the butter with the powdered erythritol and cocoa powder. I started with a fork to break up the soft butter and incorporate the sugar so the powdered .
Next, add the vanilla extract, salt and creamer. Mix thoroughly with an electric mixer for 3 minutes or so until smooth. Adjust consistency if needed by adding more creamer to make it more spreadable or more sugar if it’s too thin.
(So sorry, I was too messy to take a photo and make the frosting at the same time. It’s easy thought so you’ll do fine!)
Making the Ganache:
On the stove top in a small pan, melt the butter and chocolate chips, stirring with a wooden spoon or spatula to keep them from burning. You can also use a double boiler so you don’t have to watch them so carefully.
Add the creamer until you get a consistency that will dribble off the end of a spoon or through a cake decorator.
Decorating the Cake:
This is where you get the most nervous. Never fear! If I can produce a gorgeous cake, so can you!
Select a beautiful cake dish / platter and place the first layer on it.
Spread the frosting across the top of the bottom layer.
Place raspberries all over the frosting in circles that spiral into the center of the cake.
Use a cake decorator to pipe ganache around the raspberries. This is the fun part where you get to lick your chocolaty fingers! I used a simple cake decorator with a plastic baggie and metal tips from Wilton. There are lots more sophisticated cake decorator kits out there and I may invest in a better one for next time. But the simple kind works though it was messy!
Place the 2nd layer on top of the raspberries and frosting.
Spread frosting over the top of this cake layer just like you did the first one. Decide if you want to frost the sides of the cake or leave them unfrosted.
Decorate the top of the cake with raspberries. Using your cake decorator tip again, dribble the ganache around the raspberries and over the frosting. Let it drizzle down the sides of the cake too!
Making smaller 3” round cakes:
I had 2 different birthday parties to make cake for. The first time for our office party, I cut out 3 smaller 3” round cakes from the 9” cake layers using a round metal canister that I happened to have in my cupboard. They were really darling! I had fun decorating them differently to see what looked best.
The second time, Galen had a big party at home with 50 or so people. I didn’t tell anyone that the cake was either gluten free or sugar free. I wanted to see what people would say about it. OMG, they raved and were shocked when I told them there was no sugar in the cake and that the flour was gluten free. They couldn’t believe how delicious and moist the cake was. Needless to say, none was left!
Go for it!
On the next occasion in your life that deserves a cake for celebration, i guarantee this cake is a winner. Oh, did I say? The Chocolate Raspberry Teeccino infused the whole cake with a delicious raspberry flavor. Really a hit!!