of Regime-Change Chocolate Torte

When I promise the universe a luscious chocolate cake, the universe knows I will deliver. For years I’ve been making a dense flourless chocolate torte called Winning Hearts and Minds Cake. The singular reason it brainwashed so many hearts and minds was the lethal combo of its two main ingredients – butter and sugar.

Following the first anniversary of the Arab Awakening, there has been more unrest in the streets. So yesterday I called in the black ops and ordered up some regime change.

The butter and sugar, fatcat rulers of another era, are gone. They’ve been replaced by someone in plain-clothes, someone subtle but clever, someone eternally undernoticed and underappreciated.

One powerful word, people. AUBERGINE.

Calling it “eggplant” hurts its feelings, so let’s stick with the poetic French aubergine. It’s in need of all the image and branding consulting it can get, because it’s one of those vegetables that we would rather look at than eat.

So, what better thing to do than steam it til it’s melty and soft, and transform it into a beauty of a cake by sending it off to the ball with some very dark chocolate. Not only is this cake virtually fat-free, it’s also gluten-free.

I’m in the business of regime takeover, and I’m a pretty damn good fairy godmother too.


REGIME-CHANGE CHOCOLATE TORTE

Adapted from Harry Eastwood’s Heartache Chocolate cake, in Red Velvet & Chocolate Heartache

GATHER

2 smallish aubergines (about 400g/1lb.)

300g very dark chocolate

200g fluid honey

3 medium eggs, slightly beaten

1/2 t fresh orange zest

50g pure cacao powder

60g ground almonds (I ground them myself)

2 t baking powder

1/4 t salt

Strawberries and creme fraiche to serve

Preheat your oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4. Lightly grease a springform cake tin.

Steam the aubergines by peeling, chopping roughly, and microwaving in a covered bowl for 8 minutes until limp. Discard any water in the bowl, then purée the aubergines with an immersion/stick blender. While still hot, add the chocolate and stir until melted. Let cool.

Whisk in the honey, eggs and orange zest.

Stir in the cacao powder, ground almonds, baking powder and salt.

Pour into the greased springform tin, slide it onto a lower rack in the oven, and bake for 30 minutes, or until a skewer comes out just barely clean. Let it cool in the tin.

This torte is even more fudgy and delicious after a night in the refrigerator, but the masses are likely clamoring for their cake, so feel free to serve it up right away with strawberries and/or crème fraîche.

Long live the aubergine!

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