Wicked Chocolate Cake.

I have always wanted to make a true American-looking cake. The kind that has different layers, a rich filling, glossy frosting and the perfect decoration. When Susanne asked me to bake for her wedding, I could not resist the triple challenge and make a wicked gluten-free, nut-free, dairy-free chocolate cake. The word started to spread among our friends that I was going to bring a healthy (probably uneatable) cake. I am glad to have proven the scepticals wrong! The cake turned out amazing (and was the first to go)!
Funny though, how we are all so different, depending on our background and culture. Listen to this: even though everybody loved the cake, most of the guests thought it was too tall! Because of it, they could only have a very thin slice, they commented, rather than a big sliver from a less tall cake... I guess  North American 'biggerness' in Europe just does not jive!

So far I have only posted recipes that have been tailored and tried out many times over the years. But I feel so much excitement about this pretty all-paleo chocolate cake, that I will post it right away -if you promise to accept there is room for improvement.

You need
•parchment paper
•a round 8 inch (20 cm) springform pan
•food processor
•sharp long knife

Ingredients for 1 cake base (you need 2)
•1/2 cup (120 ml) of sunflower seed oil (1)
•2/3 cups (94 grams) of coconut flour
•1/2 cup (50 grams) unsweetened good quality cacao powder
•1/2 tsp baking soda
•1/2 tsp sea salt
•6 medium sized eggs
•3/4 cup (180 ml) agave nectar
•1/2 cup (120 ml) water
•1 tbs vanilla extract

Ingredients for filling and frosting
•2 cups (500 grams) fat juicy dates
•1 1/2 cup (300 grams) of dark (70 % or more) chocolate
•1/2 cup (236 ml) of sunflower seed oil (1)
•pinch of black pepper

Ingredients for decoration
•20 strawberries

Baking the cakes
•Preheat the oven to 170C (350F)
•grease the pan and line bottom and sides with parchment paper (cut a round circle for the bottom and then a strip to cover the side. The grease will make the paper stick to the pan).
•combine the dry ingredients in a bowl and set aside
•whisk the eggs and once they are fluffy add the wet ingredients, bit by bit, letting them blend in nicely
•add the dry ingredients into the wet, allowing them to mix well till the batter has become a whole
•pour into the pan and make sure the mixture is spread evenly
•bake for 45 min (or until you insert a toothpick in the middle and it comes out clean)
•take it out of the oven and allow it to cool down for about 15 min. Then take it out of the springform, put it on a wire rack and allow it to cool completely.

Date jam
•put dates into a food processor and section them to a paste
•scrape the dates out of the processor and put them into a small pan
•heat the pan slowly and add some water (probably about a medium glass), bit by bit, till you reach the ideal consistency to spread and a bit more (when the date paste cools down, it will harden some. So do not let it cool down completely before you apply it to the cake).

Chocolate frosting
•melt the chocolate in a small saucepan at low heat
•add the sunflower seed oil bit by bit
•add a pinch of black pepper

Putting it all together
•slice each cake (now cool) in half
•spread one third of the date jam on one cake, top it with the next layer, spread the rest of the date jam on the next layer and top it with the fourth and last layer. Save the prettiest, flat layer for the top.
•cover the cake with the chocolate. If you like a 'thick' frosting layer like I do, you can cover the cake with some chocolate, let it set for a few hours, and then do it another time, etc. (I did this three times and it took approximately 3 hours for each layer to harden). If for some reason your chocolate layer does not harden but stays sticky and glossy, who cares! I love this look just as much or maybe even more.
•before the chocolate dries up completely, slice the strawberries in half and arrange them on top of the cake, making sure they stick.

Tips & remarks
•I bake in an electric oven where the heat spreads very evenly. I have baked in a gas oven before and notice that for some reason, there is some 'heat loss'. So I have had to increase the heat in a gas oven by 5C/41F
•Even though I always take the usual baking precautions, my cakes sometimes like to balloon a little bit in the middle. If this happens to you, don't panic! Once the cake has cooled down some, take a sharp knife and slice it flat!
•If for some reason your chocolate does not set and stays glossy and slippery, it will be difficult to keep the strawberries in place. Your 'back-up plan' could be to chop up nuts and sprinkle them on top (watch out for possible nut allergy among your guests). All nuts, dates and chocolate go great together. Actually I am thinking of sprinkling chopped (unsalted) pistachio nuts myself next time. I think the green colour will look spectacular on top of the brown chocolate! Unsalted pistachio nuts are difficult to find where I live. So I have sometimes bought the salted ones, rinsed them with water and let them dry. Worked like a charm.
•Take these cake layers as a point of departure and dare experiment with different kinds of healthy fillings, frostings and decorations!

(1) Paleo diets like to stay away from seed oils because of the way they are processed. You could use coconut oil instead (keep away from the ones that have been chemically deodorized). I till try this myself soon to find out how much it influences taste and let you know.