Molten chocolate cakes, with tahini and olive oil ~ A Gluten-free, eggless, vegan recipe

My daughter and her friend study together sometimes for the approaching board exams.  She is in tenth grade and the Boards are a huge thing here in India.  I am sure many of you who have studied here will understand what I mean.  It was big when I was a student, but now the pressure for achievement has increased trifold.  To make it a more pleasurable and less pressured experience, Jr.H and her friend Aman thought it would be nice to study together, clarify their doubts and at the same time enjoy the small breaks in between.  The breaks usually revolve around eating.  Definitely an activity that needs all my devotion these days.

Yesterday Jr.H told me that Aman has noticed that ‘aunty’ has stopped making cakes and other nice things.  I have been cooking a lot lately and making so many soups to celebrate the Season, but then those are not counted as ‘nice things’.  Cakes, desserts and especially chocolate cakes are the only things that qualify as nice things.  So, it came as a welcome surprise to Jr.H when I looked at Beatrice’s blog, La Tartine Gourmande today and picked out a nice gluten free chocolate cake, and called her.

“How about that?” I said.

“That looks very good!  Will you be adding lots of bits of chocolate?” she asked.

I am not very fond of molten chocolate cake, so I said, “I think that will be too much chocolate.”

“There is no thing as too much chocolate,” the girl said with a stubborn look.  “You never make things you don’t like, and anyway you make this sort of cake all the time.  What is so special about this one?”

I scrolled down and showed her – Molten chocolate cake with tahini and millet.  She immediately scrolled up and looked at the pictures carefully.  “I can write down that recipe for you,” she offered, smiling.  I knew she would.

It was 3:30 in the afternoon by the time I got down to making the cake.  I knew the light wouldn’t be good enough to shoot but I had promised to make the cake and I did.  It was molten, gooey and very delicious.  I use tahini a lot in cakes, so it wasn’t new to me.  As I went about the cake I made became very different from the original recipe, but I knew it would be tasty.  Hazelnuts in chocolate can never go wrong.

It did not change my view.  The cake was too chocolatey, but both DD and her friend said I was wrong.   Maybe they were right afterall!  But next time I am using smaller ramekins or tea cups.  You could use dario moulds or any other small ceramic bowls instead of the ramekins.

I wasn’t very excited about taking photographs as the light was harsh.  There was a lot of molten chocolate on one side but I was already eating.

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Notes and suggestions:
I used bajra (pearl millet), but you can also use jowar (sorghum) or singhada (water chestnut).  I did not use dink (acacia gum) as we were having this in the ramekins itself.  If you would like to turn them out, it will be advisable to add a teaspoon of powdered acacia gum.

Please note that you just need to make sure that the batter is thick. You can add or reduce flour a bit to achieve this. You can also increase the bits of chocolate. I added very few pieces according to Jr.H. I was being prudent, or so I thought!

Gluten free, molten chocolate cake

Recipe: Gluten free molten chocolate and tahini cakes
Adapted from ‘La Tartine Gourmande

Ingredients:
Dark chocolate, chopped – 163g
Tahini – 2.5 tbsps or 50g.
(I used shop bought and mine had vinegar added. If you use homemade sesame paste, please add 1 tsp. of lemon juice or rice vinegar to the batter separately)
Olive oil – 1 tbsp. (Can be subbed with any neutral oil)
Raw sugar – 1/2 cup less 1 tbsp./ 44g
A pinch of pink salt or rock salt
Lightly toasted hazelnuts – 1/4 cup
Coconut milk (second extract) – 1/2 cup
Pear millet flour / Bajre ka atta – 62g / 3/4 cup add 1 tbsp.
Baking soda – 1/8th tsp.

Method:
Preheat oven to 160 deg. C.

Place chopped chocolate pieces, oil and tahini in a bowl.  Cook and melt chocolate in a double boiler arrangement or melt it in your microwave in spurts, at power (350) for a minute and a half, stirring twice in between.

In a mixer, run sugar, a pinch of salt, and the hazelnuts to powder them well.  Now add the coconut milk and run till well combined.

Remove into a mixing bowl.  Add the chocolate mixture to this.

Run the flour and soda together to distribute the soda evenly.  Add the flour, a tablespoon at a time to the bowl and mix gently till homogeneous.  The batter should be thick but pourable, and easily beatable.

Grease and flour six ramekins or any other moulds that you are using.  Divide half the batter amongst the ramekins.  Add pieces of reserved chocolate and divide the remaining batter in all the ramekins.

Bake for 20 minutes.  The tops may crack lightly and not puff as much as regular cupcakes.

Cool for 10-15 minutes and serve warm or cold.

Yes, there was a lot of molten chocolate when we dug into the cakes, only I didn’t have the patience to go back to the board!

Meanwhile, I did find time to go to the annual festival at Kala Ghoda.  I bought some junk jewellery, some props.  See them here.

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  1. I think I know what your daughter means when she says there’s no such thing as “chocolatey”! :) Have to try this out.
    A’s also complaining I’m not making anything she likes!

  2. This looks so good. I have baked with tahini before and I love the result.

  3. There is certainly no thing as too much chocolate! Looks lovely! :)

  4. Harini, the cake looks so decadent. I have never used tahini while baking. Does it lend it’s flavor? What’s the purpose of adding it? Is it a alternative for fat?

    • Hi Madhuram, yes, this one is very decadent. No, tahini does not lend its flavour at all unless the sesame seeds are rancid or old. This I know because I have tried with home-made sesame paste also. It serves the same purpose as nut butters do, like you rightly guessed, to reduce the amount of fat. :)

      • Thanks Harini. I had doubt about the tahini lending its flavor because hummus made with tahini does have a distinct flavor. I guess the tons of chocolate masks it. Have you tried tahini in a baking recipe which does not use chocolate and which is not a savory one? I think I will add some coffee to the recipe when I try it.

        • I have tried it when I am make tart base, Madhuram, but so far we haven’t detected any flavour. I agree it does have a slight flavour of its own, but that is something we seem to like. You mean ellu chaadam flavor, right?

  5. This is the 1st time i have heard of tahini in a cake but the pics look so yum…..

  6. i dont like too much chocolate in mine either.. just enough to give the taste..:) because a molten cake cannot be molten without the chocolate. your daughter now knows how to get what she wants:)

  7. I remember this recipe from Bea’s website. Yes “There is no thing as too much chocolate!”

  8. Wow! A vegan version! Looks amazing! I would love to try this out. I can replace the jowar/bajra with APF right? I’m not too bothered about being gluten free or not! :D

  9. There really is nothink like too much chocolate where kids and teenagers are concerned :P
    the cake looks absolutely scrumptious! and what harsh light?? the pics looks as fab as ever!!

  10. I never came across of tahini in cake. Chocolate is always glorious in baking, looks excellent this gluten free cake.

  11. I know what your daughter means, there is no such thing as too much chocolate for me either ;)

    I love the sound of this cake, it’s so unusual. I’ve never baked with tahini before. Can you taste it in the finished cake or does it blend in?

  12. “There is no thing as too much chocolate,” – ah, a girl after my own heart! ;-)

  13. never head tahini in a cake.. It looks delicious. I think I will give it a try.

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