Monday, January 30, 2012

Chocolate Peppermint Cake

Since I've missed the boat with most of my holiday recipes in the past, I've made a commitment to post something for Valentine's Day celebration before Valentine's Day. Actually, I'm cheating a bit...This is a recipe that I made a lot at Christmas time, but really it is suitable for a dessert any time of year. And it contains a lot of chocolate, so I figure it is especially suitable for Valentine's Day.

This has been voted by my family and friends as the best "Sheena Cucina" cake yet. I agree. This cake is so rich, fudgey, and moist, and although it is filling, it still often leaves you wanting more. To make this cake even more decadent I have created a chocolate-peppermint ganache to top it off. The cake itself is low in fat; most of its moisture comes from applesauce. You can serve the cake on its own, without the icing, it will still be delicious. However, I suggest that you indulge and serve the cake with this ganache.

This much-altered recipe was originally titled Peppermint Fudge Cake and it comes from Heather Van Vorous' book Eating For IBS. I have been making this cake for years directly from the recipe in this book. When I first realized that I had food allergies, I simply went without most of my old stand-by recipes. Because this cake is so delicious, I was determined to alter this recipe to suit my current diet, and yield a delicious cake. I have changed most of the ingredients and after many, many, many attempts I have finally perfected my version of this recipe. Enjoy!

Chocolate Peppermint Cake
1 1/2 cup sorghum flour
1/2 cup white bean flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
6 tablespoons cocoa powder (I prefer Navitas Naturals)
2 tbsps tapioca starch
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips (optional, but delicious) (I prefer Enjoy Life)

2 cups applesauce 
1/4 cup sunflower oil, or oil of your choice
1 tbsp pure vanilla extract
1 tbsp natural peppermint flavouring (I prefer Simply Organics)

Preheat oven to 325°/167°. In a large bowl, sift all dry ingredients together accept for chocolate chips. In a medium bowl combine wet ingredients. Add wet to dry and stir just until combined. Mix in chocolate chips. Pour into a greased non-stick bundt pan. Bake for approximately 55 minutes. Cool on wire rack for at least 15 minutes, then remove from pan. Alternatively you can bake this into cupcakes - bake for approximately 20-25 minutes. Serve cake/cupcakes warm or cold, topped with Chocolate Peppermint Ganache.

Chocolate Peppermint Ganache

1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
3 tbsps vegan butter
3 tbsps rice milk, or milk of your choice
1-2 tsps peppermint extract
A few pinches of salt, to taste

Combine chocolate chips and vegan butter in a saucepan or double-boiler. Melt over low/medium-low heat. Once melted, add rice milk and stir to combine. Remove from heat and add peppermint extract and salt to taste. Pour over cake and serve. 


- If you are allergic to any of the flours mentioned above, you can use your favourite gluten-free flour blend. I have also made this cake with brown rice flour in place of the white bean. While this still made a delicious cake, it was very crumbly. If you chose to omit the bean flour, you may want to add in some xanthan gum (about 1 tsp) or a different gum to help bind the cake. If you do use a gum to bind, you would probably be able to omit the tapioca starch as well.

- If you are allergic to peppermint extract, simply omit it. You will still be left with a delicious chocolate cake. 

- If you are allergic to apples, try substituting applesauce for another fruit puree like plum or pear.  I do not suggest you use banana because the banana flavour will interfere with the chocolate and peppermint. 

- If you are serving this cake for Christmas, you may want to decorate it with some crushed-up candy canes. It looks so festive!

Oops, I forgot to mention this in my initial post: 

- If you are sugar-free try substituting the sugar in the cake for coconut sugar, date sugar, stevia, agave, or another sweetener of your choice. I have only made this with sugar, but I'm sure you would have comparable results. If your sweetener is in liquid form you may have to adjust the baking time slightly. If you are using something like stevia (which is way sweeter than sugar, and cannot be replaced cup-for-cup) use proper measurements to ensure that you do not over-sweeten the cake.

- If you are sugar-free make sure you buy unsweetened chocolate chips for the ganache, and add sweetener as needed.


- If your bundt pan sticks a little, you may want to grease your pan and then dust it with cocoa powder to prevent your cake from sticking. 

- I searched for months to find a cocoa powder that was guaranteed gluten and wheat-free. As mentioned above, I used Navitas Naturals Cacao Powder (certified organic, kosher, gluten-free, vegan, and raw). You may also want to try Now Foods Organic Cocoa Powder (free of sugar, salt, starch, yeast, wheat, gluten, corn, soy, milk, egg, or preservatives) although I have not been able to purchase this anywhere in Canada.

I have linked this post to: Fat Tuesday, Slightly Indulgent Tuesday, Real Food Wednesday, Health 2day Wednesday, Allergy Friendly Friday. Check out the other great posts there!

*Please Note* These recipes are part of my personal allergy diet. Please remember that everyone's allergies are different.  If you are unsure about any ingredients listed in these recipes please check with your doctor before introducing.


  1. This cake is also delicious as cupcakes!!!

    1. Thanks Anonymous! I'm glad you enjoyed them, and will be sure to bake them again for you :)

  2. This looks amazing. I'm just beginning to dabble in gluten-free baking and this looks like a good start. My daughter has been asking for a chocolate cake. I think I'll try this one. Thanks!

  3. This looks SO yummy!! Pinning this! Thanks for sharing w/ Healthy 2Day Wednesday! Hope to see you back next week!

    1. Hi Erin, thanks so much, it is very, VERY delicious! I'm so happy to be able to share with Healthy 2Day Wednesday, so thanks to you for the opportunity! I love your blog :)

    2. I forgot to say thanks so much for Pinning my cake! I've joined your boards, you have some great stuff up.