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Eat Well Jul. 1. 2014
Desserts

Flourless Blackberry Chocolate Cake

Jul. 1. 2014
Desserts
McKel Hill

McKel Hill

MS, RDN, LDN, Dietitian

Is it lame to bake myself a cake for my birthday? Well, I totally am because today is my BIRTHDAY! Eeeek. I’m actually writing this blog post a bit in advance to give myself a week off the blog to take some much needed rest and relaxation time- perfect timing with my birthday, the holiday this weekend, and celebrating the big news I shared yesterday- the NUTRITION STRIPPED COOKBOOK!

Flourless Blackberry Chocolate Cake is the answer to everything I want this birthday. It’s gluten free, vegan friendly, healthy, but completely decadent and delicious tasting at the same time. You all know I’m a chocolate lover so this recipe came naturally when I was brainstorming what type of cake I wanted to make and share this birthday. I already have the popular Chocolate Coconut Flour Cake with Chocolate Mousse Frosting, but wanted to make a vegan friendly chocolate cake for you all to enjoy as well, plus this one has secret ingredients that none of my friends were able to pinpoint when tasting at our Nutrition Stripped Supper Club on Sunday.

This past year has been incredibly fulfilling in so many ways and so much goodness has happened with Nutrition Stripped and in general with life. I’m constantly enthralled by the kind emails and comments I receive from you all about how Nutrition Stripped has helped you eat more whole foods and incorporate more plant-based foods into your diet–I especially get all giddy when you share it with your friends and family or recreate the recipes and show me the pictures! Reflecting on this past year, I’ve grown so much not only as a person, but as a blogger, as a cook, a photographer, friend, and a coach.

I can tell you this much, this year is going to be awesome- with the big announcement I made yesterday, I literally couldn’t have asked for a better birthday present. I made this chocolate cake to share with friends at Arrington Vineyards this weekend, one of my favorite spots, while cracking open some red wine and enjoying newly developed recipes- one of them being this! I had everyone around the table guess what the ingredients were and I must say, I have some pretty smart friends who know what I have up my sleeve with trying to sneak veggies into desserts, but no one guessed right away… sweet potatoes! I’ve used sweet potatoes in desserts numerous times, one of the most popular being the Cinnamon Sweet Potato Truffle, but that’s a given as sweet potatoes are in the title. I love using sweet potatoes in desserts, vegan desserts especially, to give a lot of body, starch, and density to it while keeping it naturally sweetened and moist.

  

Bubbly blackberries. I saw these amazing blackberries last weekend at the market and I literally gushed with excitement thinking I had to use them, photograph them, and ultimately gobble them all up– they were gorgeous! Blackberries play a vital role in this cake, they’re used not only to give a subtle sweetness to the cake, but are important in the texture by keeping the cake moist and dense.

Most flourless cakes are more dense than your standard fluffy cake, so don’t be surprised if this cake doesn’t rise like most of your other store bought cakes, it’s not supposed to. It’s going to be a cross between a cake and brownie/fudge and trust me, you won’t mind a bit. It’s incredible. It’s also made naturally gluten free and many of the ingredients that make this cake are loaded with fiber, natural sugars to sweeten, cocoa powder, and chocolate chips to boost the antioxidants… right? The almond meal is used simply to give the cake a bit more stability, but I’ve made it without the almond meal and it still tastes amazing, just a bit more fudgy. I love baking this cake in my cast iron skillet for the rustic presentation of it, but you can use a standard cake round or square pan.

 

Serve // You have the option of leaving the cake as it and simply topping it with fresh blackberries, cherries, or peaches, and a sprig of mint or two, topped with my Coconut Whipped Cream, or you can get fancy and make my Chocolate Mousse Frosting to spread a thick layer on top of the cake. It’s best served warm after you’ve let it cool for about 20 minutes, the inside is still gooey and incredibly decadent. I love topping it with assorted fresh summer fruits since this cake is already so decadent and rich.

Flourless Blackberry Chocolate Cake
Recipe Type: dessert, bakery
Author: McKel Hill, MS, RD, LDN
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 14+
A vegan and gluten free friendly rich flourless chocolate cake made with blackberries and fresh fruits. GF VGN Paleo
Ingredients
  • 1 cup fresh blackberry, pulsed (yield after pulsed)
  • 1 cup blackberries, garnish
  • 7 oz sweet potato, baked no skin
  • 1 cup dates, pitted
  • 1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 cup almond meal
  • 1/4 cup dark chocolate chips, melted
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil, melted
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
Instructions
  1. Bake sweet potato in the skin at 400° F for about 40 minutes or until soft. No skin, set aside.
  2. Preheat the oven to 325° F (175° C)
  3. Melt chocolate chips using the stove top (double boiler method) or in a microwave. Set aside to cool at room temperature.
  4. Add the blackberries to a food processor or blender and pulse until smooth- you don’t want to make a juice out of these just a really good pulsed mash with chunks. Set aside.
  5. In a small mixing bowl, combine water, baking soda, baking powder, and apple cider vinegar.
  6. Add remaining ingredients into a food processor and combine, dates, coconut oil, melted chocolate, and sweet potato. Scraping down the sides as needed. Add this mixture to the pulsed blackberries, cocoa powder, and almond meal and stir to combine. Stir in the small mixing bowl contents until everything forms a batter.
  7. Pour the cake batter into an 8-inch non-stick spring pan or cast iron skillet and bake it for 60 minutes.
  8. Let the cake cool slightly before removing from the cast iron skillet or cake pan.
  9. Enjoy with fresh fruit to garnish and coconut whipped cream or Chocolate Mousse Frosting.
Serving size: 1 piece (out of 14 servings) Calories: 200 Fat: 7 Carbohydrates: 30 Sugar: 20 Fiber: 5 Protein: 4

I hope you all love this chocolate cake as much as I do! Now off to enjoy the rest of today with my love and friends… and Zoey of course. Cheers!

Sending über amounts of love today,

xx McKel

The Recipe

Serves 14+

Print

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup fresh blackberry, pulsed (yield after pulsed)
  • 1 cup blackberries, garnish
  • 7 oz sweet potato, baked no skin
  • 1 cup dates, pitted
  • 1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 cup almond meal
  • 1/4 cup dark chocolate chips, melted
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil, melted
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda

Directions:

  1. Bake sweet potato in the skin at 400° F for about 40 minutes or until soft. No skin, set aside.
  2. Preheat the oven to 325° F (175° C)
  3. Melt chocolate chips using the stove top (double boiler method) or in a microwave. Set aside to cool at room temperature.
  4. Add the blackberries to a food processor or blender and pulse until smooth- you don’t want to make a juice out of these just a really good pulsed mash with chunks. Set aside.
  5. In a small mixing bowl, combine water, baking soda, baking powder, and apple cider vinegar.
  6. Add remaining ingredients into a food processor and combine, dates, coconut oil, melted chocolate, and sweet potato. Scraping down the sides as needed. Add this mixture to the pulsed blackberries, cocoa powder, and almond meal and stir to combine. Stir in the small mixing bowl contents until everything forms a batter.
  7. Pour the cake batter into an 8-inch non-stick spring pan or cast iron skillet and bake it for 60 minutes.
  8. Let the cake cool slightly before removing from the cast iron skillet or cake pan.
  9. Enjoy with fresh fruit to garnish and coconut whipped cream or Chocolate Mousse Frosting.

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Did you try it out?

Share Your Thoughts & Images

  • Happy Birthday!! This looks fantastic!! Sweet potatoes in birthday cake?? That is awesome!! I love sneaking veggies in where ever I can. I will definitely be giving this one a try!

  • Happy Birthday!!! This looks absolutely wonderful! I love a fudgy flourless cake!!

  • emily

    Happy Birthday!! I will be making this on Friday for sure…just need to find my dates after moving…everything is everywhere!

  • happy birthday! what an exciting week you’re having!

    – christina http://www.cityloveee.blogspot.com

  • Casey

    Is there a difference between using cocoa powder and cacao in this recipe? Please let me know, thanks!

  • nosogirl

    Happy Birthday! This looks fabulous. One question…could I sub canned sweet potato puree for the baked sweet potato? I’m guessing yes since the sweet potato gets put into the food processor, but thought I would ask since I’m a follow-a-recipe-to-a-tee kind of girl. Thanks!

  • Happy Birthday!!

    This is the only cake I’ve ever seen online that i’ve actually wanted to make! I’m already requesting it for my birthday later this month – thank you!!

  • Happy Birthday!!! What a fabulous cake 🙂

  • I’m going to make this for my boyfriend’s birthday next week. So yummy! And happy birthday McKel, stay amazing 🙂 Much love to you from NYC! xoxo

    • Perfect! He’ll love it! My man has been eating it all up just as much as I have been this week, make sure you have friends nearby to share or else you’ll be eating it all— not a bad thing 😉 xx

  • Happy birthday! Yum, that looks delicious. Sweet potatoes in dessert are always a winner.

    Robyn x

  • Happy Birthday! And it’s totally legit to bake yourself a birthday cake. I do, and throw my own party to boot! Enjoy your cake!

    • Thank you for the birthday wishes! And I’m glad you agree with my self-cake baking haha. 😉

  • Happy Birthday! I’m already in love with this cake and will definitely try it! Since I recently started trying all kind of recipes I’m a little bit worried about my weight (chuckle)

  • great healthy recipe!

  • merilyn

    one word … YUM! thankyou … m:)X

    • merilyn

      HAPPY BIRTHDAY! <3

  • Rita

    Happy belated birthday! This cake looks deelish! Quick question though, are the chocolate chips necessary, or can they substituted for cacao nibs or eliminated completely? Thank you!

  • Paula

    Happy Birthday! I really want to make this today! Can I ask if you think it’d work in cupcake forms? I don’t have a cast iron skillet and wanted to share with some friends and thought why not cupcake forms? Any thoughts/suggestions? Would it bake differently?

    • Hi Paula, thank you so much! Yes, try it out in cupcake tins, I love using the cast iron for the presentation but you can use a regular cake pan 😉 You may have to adjust the time, just pay close attention to the inside of the cake by using a knife to check for moistness

  • Eva

    Happy birthday! I’m making this for the 4th of July. Thank you for such a healthy, yet rich, chocolate cake. My father-in-law will love it!

    • Thank you so much Eva! I hope you love it and thanks for sharing it with your family and friends- trust me, they’ll love it 🙂

  • This looks delicious. I’m obsessed with your coconut flour cake so I trust this one will be equally as amazing 🙂

  • Jena

    This cake looks delicious! I went out for my own birthday last night and enjoyed a flourless chocolate cake at the restaurant. It inspired me to look for a recipe to try to make my own and a friend pointed me to your website. Perfect! My only issue is that almonds make my belly upset. You say that you can leave them out and it should work out fine, but do you have any suggestions for possible replacements?

    Thank you!

    • Thank you Jena, it really is amazing! You can leave the almonds out and try using half of the amount in oat flour, but you can easily skip the almonds entirely and have it be a very dense fudgy cake 😉

  • Amal

    Hello, I was wondering if the chocolate chips were necessary?? I would love to bake this for my daughter’s birthday next week! Thank you!

    • Hi Amal,
      You don’t have to use them, but you’ll be missing out on the rich chocolate flavor 😉

  • Jayne

    Hi Mckel! So excited to try this recipe out this weekend for the family! I have a quick question though. I am using raw unsweetened cacao pwder, which is much stronger than unsweetened regular cocoa. Should I still use one cup, or should I reduce the amount? Thank you!

    • Great question Jayne, I’d start out using 1/2 and taste test along the way- OR you can use the full amount of cocoa powder and decrease the amount of melted dark chocolate! Always taste test, that’s your answer 😉

  • Rae

    Could you replace the almond meal with flax?

    • Rae

      flax meal, that is.

    • Not quite, the flax meal will require more liquid because it’s more absorbent than the almond meal. If you don’t have almond milk you can, as noted, not use it and it’ll be more dense like a brownie.

  • Jenifer Van Winkle

    Just checking, use the sweet potato skin and all? I want to be for SURE to use an organic one, if so…

  • Alia

    When it comes to almond meal, do you typically use the meal you end up with after making almond milk, or do you buy almond meal? I’d prefer to use my leftover milk-meal, as I haven’t yet found a really satisfying way of using it up, but I wonder whether the moist mash that comes out of my nut milk sack is going to do the same thing in a recipe that the Bob’s Red Mill version version would.

    I just discovered your blog, and am reveling in your recipes! Both my boyfriend and I suffer from sever reactions to gluten, and learning what to avoid in order to avoid getting sick has been a real challenge. Happily, we both love cooking creative things from scratch, so in some ways, I feel going gluten free has been a fun blessing. Your recipes all look like the sorts of things that will suit our lifestyle. I also really appreciate your sensitivity to those who suffer or have suffered from eating disorders. So much love to you, my new favorite stranger!

    • I enjoy using homemade almond meal (grinding almonds) or store bought almond meal. I also use almond flour in baking as well. I’m happy that you’ve stumbled upon Nutrition Stripped and made some of my recipes (all are gluten free) for you and your boyfriend to enjoy! Thank you for all your kind words and support xx m

  • Sophie

    Hi, just wondering if you can use blueberries or raspberries instead of blackberries? Happy belated birthday!

  • Sarah

    Hi,
    First time to your site. I made this cake last night for a dinner party and it was a big hit. I loved it and have been considering making a firmer commitment to low-sugar, wheat free cooking. The only changes I made was to substitute 1 cup smashed frozen bananas for the blackberries in the cake (had lots of old bananas I wanted to cook) also almond flour was expensive so I went with gluten free flour instead. This cake was amazingly chocolately and moist with just the right amount of sweetness. Excited about trying some other of your recipes!

    • I’m so glad you enjoyed it Sarah and thanks for sharing it with your friends- so glad you’ve joined the NS lifestyle 😉

    • Charlotte

      Sounds like the exact substitutions I’ll be making as I’ve got loads of bananas sitting around! Did you not use any blackberries then? I may try to mix the two – what do you think! Also, did you use the same amount of GF flour as the recipe stated for almond flour?
      Thank youuu!

  • JOY

    My, oh My! This seems like a wonderfully nourishing and delish dessert recipe that is flourless (other than the ground almonds for almond meal), allergen-friendly without dairy, eggs, or gluten, and is naturally sweetened to boot- my kind of treat! 🙂

    I look forward to trying this recipe when berries are in season again! 6-7 months to go! 😉

    Thank you for sharing such a beautiful delight for us to try! 🙂

  • Charlotte

    I cant wait to try this! Do you think it is possible, in light of speeding up prep time, to cut up the sweet potato into smaller chunks before baking them?
    Thank you! 🙂

  • Audrey

    Received a big bowl of blackberries from a friend. Looked for a gluten free receive on how to use these delicious berries. Made the cake. The chocolate flavor was great. Would love to make it again, but would like to remove the seeds. Will it change the end result too much?

    • No you can always remove the seeds just by straining and the texture will be the same – sans seeds 😉

  • Paige

    Hi there, I’m wondering if your cast iron is an 8inch. I can only seem to find a 10″ . Where did you find yours?

    • You can use a 10 inch, it’ll just be a little thinner or you can double the recipe. You can find them in all sizes on Amazon!

  • Louise orga

    Hi Mckel
    I just made this for my boyfriends bday and it was great but there were only 6 of us and the richness of it meant no one went for seconds!! How do will it keep and what’s the best way? Not sure I need any more treats for a little while after Easter!!

    • McKel Hill

      So happy you shared this with your friends! I would keep it in the fridge for up to 1 week or freeze it for a month and thaw in the fridge 😉