Let Them Eat Cake! And I Ain’t Talking The Gluten Free, Grain Free, Vegan, Paleo Variety

Cake- it’s one of life’s simple pleasures. Until you mess with it so it doesn’t even resemble cake.

Use rice malt syrup, add beetroot, mashed up beans, make it raw, sugar free, sub applesauce for butter. These are just some of many variations on the traditional cake. Don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing wrong with trying to make a cake healthier, but I think it’s about time we chill out about cake a little.

It saddens me that there seems to be so much anxiety around a simple thing. Eating a “normal” slice of cake does not make you less of a person that your friend who used “clean” ingredients.

We don’t just eat for nutrition, we eat for pleasure. And I think that’s a really important concept to remember. In my house, we don’t need a reason or occasion to make cake, if we feel like we want some cake, we make it. Why? Well, because it’s darn delicious, that’s why. We eat mindfully and intuitively and don’t deny ourselves of the pleasurable foods that we desire.

By adding vegetables and beans to our cakes we are sending some unhealthy messages to ourselves and our families. We are sending the message that beans and vegetables are only tolerable if they are packaged in a sweet treat, that we can’t lean to like and appreciate vegetables for what they are. We are in essence giving ourselves permission to eat a kilojoule dense food on a more regular basis just because it is “clean.” No matter your stance on rice malt syrup and coconut oil, you can’t deny that these are kilojoule dense ingredients.

I’m a firm believer in leaving salad ingredients for main course and mindfully eating a sensible portion of a cake or dessert that you really enjoy rather than one you just tell yourself you like because its “healthy.”

So without further ado, here is my signature chocolate cake recipe.

Chocolate Ganache Cake


Are you into chocolate? Then have I got a recipe for you! This is a chocoholics dream, chocolate cake with chocolate ganache and chocolate icing. Be aware of portions-although I promise a small piece will be more than satisfying.

Chocolate Cake

  • 125g butter
  • 1 c sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence
  • 1 c milk
  • 2 tsp vinegar
  • 1 ¾ plain flour
  • 1 tsp bi carb soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 2/3 c cocoa
  • ½ cup hot water


  • 110g dark chocolate
  • ½ cup cream


I don’t have a set recipe for icing. I place icing sugar, cocoa, butter (all varying quantities) and a dash of milk in a mixer and mix until combined. Use your preferred icing recipe.


Start by making the ganache. Heat cream in a saucepan over medium heat until warm. Do NOT boil. When warm add chocolate and stir until smooth. Transfer to a bowl and cool in the fridge. This make take several hours. You want the ganache firm but spreadable.

Then make the cake. Cream the butter and sugar. Add eggs and vanilla and beat well. Mix the cocoa with the hot water to make a smooth paste and add to the mixture.

Sift flour, bicarb soda and baking powder into a bowl. Place milk in a separate bowl and add vinegar to the milk to sour it.

Add the flour and milk alternatively, mixing well until all incorporated.

Bake in two shallow pans (or one large pan-adjust cooking time) at 180C for 30 minutes.

When the cakes are cool, spread one with ganache, this will be the bottom layer. (if you baked your cake in one pan, cut it in half and apply ganache to one side.) Place the remaining cake on top. Then spread with icing. I like to ice the sides as well as the top, but you don’t have to.

Now you have a beautiful cake to share with your friends and family!


5 thoughts on “Let Them Eat Cake! And I Ain’t Talking The Gluten Free, Grain Free, Vegan, Paleo Variety

  1. chemire says:

    I agree 100%. So many people seem to not realize that eating healthy doesn’t mean you have to jettison everything that’s tasty. Real food in sensible portions is all it takes.


  2. Bec says:

    I love a good chocolate cake and can’t wait to try your recipe. As a dietitian and mum of four young children, I disagree that it sends unhealthy messages to include vegetables and legumes in foods like cakes though. I love finding ways to include extra nutrition in our treat foods. A lovely moist chocolate bean cake or carrot cake are actually 2 of my favourites. When I was working in aged care and when doing menu assessments, this was actually one of our recommendations to get extra fiber and vegetable serves offered to nursing home residents. Mindfulness still needs to be practiced, no matter what we are eating, as you said, and a chocolate cake is great as a treat, but don’t rule out the others either, as they can come in handy 🙂


    • Courtney says:

      Bean cake? Hmm sounds interesting have you got a recipe?. I see where you are coming from and of course I cannot come at this from every angle- there is a time and place for where we do need to pop as many nutrients as we can into food. I rather like the idea for your nursing home residents- I might have to file that gem away if I need it later. Where I’m coming is food fear and anxiety. I have unfortunately seen many a friend who cannot give themselves permission to eat cake unless it has beetroot in it or is made from rice malt syrup. This is one of my very early blog posts so reading it retrospectively there are some improvements that could be made but I do stand by my philosophy of enjoying sometimes food for what it is. Each to their own though!


      • Bec says:

        Just google Magic Bean Chocolate cake and you will get a few varieties based mostly on a can of kidney beans and about 5 eggs, plus butter, sugar and cacao, etc. Beautiful moist cake. Perfect for my kids lunch boxes, (and when topped with a gooey chocolate (and date and cashew) cream icing), to fuel my nut hating 5 year old for some of her school day. (Yes, I still offer her nuts and seeds, etc as well, and encourage her to eat that sort of food, as they are often served as part of salads, etc for family meals).

        But like you I love a chocolate cake and heck, sometimes, that is all you want 😉 as well as that iced coffee (please don’t hold the cream!!).
        Keep having fun with food! 🙂


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