This chocolate cake has a few unusual things about it: There is a fair amount of oat bran in it. It also uses two apples that you puree with some molasses and coffee first. Lastly, there are a few healthier substitutions that keep it from being too decadent: whole wheat flour instead of cake flour, olive oil instead of butter, and truvia instead of a more conventional sweetener. I think the reason why it works is that the cake still turns out moist but not too dense, and you still get great chocolate flavor from the cocoa and chocolate chips.
This is based on a recipe called “Yes-Chocolate Cake!” from a cookbook, Lean and Luscious and Meatless by Bobbie Hinman and Millie Snyder, which in turn was adapted from a book called Oat Cuisine. The original recipe called for applesauce, apple juice, and maple syrup, which I changed to two pureed apples, coffee, and a lesser amount of molasses, in order to add truvia into the mix. The rest is almost the same except I increased each ingredient by 30 percent for a fuller, larger cake. I can’t believe I’ve had this book for almost thirty years. I think I’ve only made about four things from it, and this was the only dessert from the book that I’ve tried, and remembered that it was worth keeping. I still prefer regular chocolate cake, but this is a quick and healthy alternative.
healthier chocolate cake
2 medium apples, peeled, cored, sliced or quartered
3 Tablespoons blackstrap molasses
3 Tablespoons coffee
1 cup whole wheat flour
3/4 cup oat bran
7 Tablespoons unsweetened cocoa
1 and 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1 and 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup truvia
3 large eggs
3/4 cup vegetable oil
1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
3/4 teaspoon almond extract
a few Tablespoons bittersweet chocolate chips, for topping, optional
Heat oven to 350 and line a 8-inch square pan with parchment paper or spray with baking spray.
Peel, core and quarter apples and place in a food processor and add the molasses and coffee into the processor. Process on high, stopping the processor if needed to scrape the bottom and stir in order to get any big pieces of apple processed. When mostly smooth with only some small chunks of apple, stop the processor and set aside.
Stir together the whole wheat flour, oat bran, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and truvia (if not using truvia, use a 1/2 cup of brown sugar) in a medium bowl with a whisk several times. Set aside.
In another bowl, beat the eggs and the oil for about 3 to 5 minutes until very light and foamy, then add the vanilla and almond extract and continue to beat for about a minute more. Next, add the apple/molasses mixture and beat for about a minute more, until combined and mixture is an even light beige color with no darker streaks.
Add this wet egg/apple mixture to the dry flour mixture ingredients in the other bowl and fold and stir only until all the flour ingredients have been moistened, making sure to scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl in case there are dry pockets of the flour mixture within the wet batter. Do not overmix.
Pour into the prepared pan and level with a small offset spatula, or the back of a spoon. Sprinkle with some chocolate chips if desired.
Place in the center rack of the oven heated at 350 degrees F. and bake for about 30 minutes until a toothpick stuck in the center of the cake comes out clean or with just a few crumbs.
Remove from the oven and let cool on a wire rack until cooled completely before slicing into even squares or however you’d like to portion them out.