Being single (and in no way bitter about it… haha), I um’d and ah’d about whether to post something valentines related. But then I realised my relationship status has nothing to do with enjoying cute looking baked/chocolaty treats this weekend.
I saw a post on Facebook for these tasty looking truffles and absolutely had to have them. But could I make them a little healthier?
The video begins with a red velvet cake made from a box mix. Now if you know me, you’ll know that I am not a fan of box mixes. I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with them, but I personally don’t like them. I think a fresh mix tastes better and I get a great sense of satisfaction from creating something completely from scratch.
That’s really how my passion for baking and cooking grew. When I was away at university, I took to the kitchen as a way of dealing with stress and anxiety. I’d pick a recipe, go shopping for the ingredients and then for a few hours, just focus on trying to make my dish look like the one in the picture. There were some utter fails along the way, but it was a great form of escapism for me. I found it truly relaxing and of course my housemates/the boys that lived across the road were happy.
So I looked up a few red velvet recipes and considered which elements could be made a little healthier. I focused on three: the sugar, the fat in the cake and the cream cheese. I decided on honey instead of white sugar, coconut oil instead of butter and quark instead of regular cream cheese.
The first two don’t really need any explanation. Firstly, we’re always hearing about the need to reduce our sugar intake and Change4Life’s most recent campaign ‘Sugar Smart’, is the latest public health initiative that looks to help families cut the amount of sugar they ingest. Secondly, if you haven’t heard about the miracle that is coconut oil, then I don’t know where you’ve been! Eat it, moisturise with it, clean your teeth with it, put it on your hair, it does it all haha.
But quark is a lesser-known gem. It is a fantastic substitute for cream cheese that’s lower in fat and more importantly to some, high in protein. The Lake District Dairy Co make a great vanilla flavoured one, which I found in my local Sainsbury’s.
Now that I’ve given you all that information, here’s the recipe…
Ingredients for the cake:
345g cake flour (I used McDougall’s Supreme Sponge Flour)
240ml coconut oil
4 large eggs (room temperature and separated)
240ml buttermilk (room temperature)
2tbsp cocoa powder
1 & 1/2tbsp vanilla extract
1tsp baking soda
1tsp white vinegar
6tbsp red food colouring
Preheat oven to 180°C.
Start by sifting all the dry ingredients (except the baking soda) into a bowl and then in a jug, mix the buttermilk with the food colouring. Set both aside.
Next, separate the eggs and whisk the yolks with the oil, vanilla extract and honey. Then, alternate the addition of the dry ingredients and the buttermilk you set aside. I did it in thirds starting with the dry ingredients.
In separate bowl, whisk the egg whites until they form firm but soft peaks and then fold into the cake batter. This helps to add some of the lightness you loose at the beginning by not having the whipped butter. Lastly, mix the baking soda and vinegar and throughly combine with the cake batter.
As you’re only going to crumble the cake later, use any tin(s) you have to hand and bake for 20-30mins. The baking time will depend on the size/depth of the tin(s) you choose so keep an eye on the cake. I used a brownie pan and it took 25mins (the last 5mins with the oven off)
Once the cake is baked, cool in the tin for 10mins, on a wire rack for 20mins, then wrap in cling film and cool in the fridge for about 40mins. You’re almost done.
Here’s a picture of the cake once it was done.
You can see how light it looks. I was so happy so see how nice it turned out with the coconut oil.
Ingredients for the truffles:
Red Velvet cake
250g vanilla quark
400g white chocolate (I used Green & Black’s)
From this point on, it’s just like the video on Facebook. Crumble the cooled cake into a bowl, mix in the quark (after giving it a quick stir), and roll into bite sized balls.
Carefully roll the cake balls in the melted chocolate. I then placed them on a tray covered with cling film and sprinkled freeze dried strawberries on top. Then chill for a few hours.
Done! As, you can see from the picture at the start of the post, I served mine up to the family with dark chocolate dipped strawberries.
Just a few points to note:
- I’ve yet to master redness in Red Velvet. The few times I’ve tried, the cakes have come out brownish. Maybe this is where a box mix might have an advantage but I’ll always still prefer to do it all myself. So if anyone has some advise regarding this, I’d thoroughly appreciate it.
- The cake wasn’t that sweet on its own but as it was going to be coated in chocolate later, I was ok with this. I was after all aiming to reduce the sugar content.
- Taste wise, it didn’t really taste like a ‘traditional’ red velvet cake, apparently butter is a large part of the taste. But I was aiming to make a healthier cake and it was still nice and light so I’m happy.
Now of course, I mentioned at the start that these truffles are valentines themed. But lets face it; you can make them any time you want, with both yellow and chocolate cake. If you do, I hope you enjoy them as much as we did and I’d love to know what you think of the recipe.
Happy Valentines Weekend 😃.