Bitter Chocolate Hazelnut Cake! And, my first venture into yoga.

After my first son was born, nearly three and a half years ago, I bought a yoga mat and a pilates DVD. They both stayed in the packaging.

Exercise and I have always had a baaad relationship. I have a terrible fear of exercise, and when I have attempted it, tend to pass out from low blood sugar. My level of (un)fitness is often a surprise to others, because I am petite and have oddly muscly legs. People sometimes mistake me for a very short runner. Even in the midst of pushing out my second son, the midwife was telling me to focus on my breathing; “like when you go running.” I distinctly remember my husband laughing.

As I emerged from the fog of my second pregnancy and birth, my body has ached. I’m constantly stretching and twisting my body into strange pretzel shapes to work through my aches and pains, and so I thought, why not try yoga? I went looking for the yoga mat I had bought three years ago and discovered my husband had cut holes in it and turned it into a cosy for his giant beer-brewing urn. “But I was going to use it!” I told him. He just looked at me, with That Look.

Yoga mat aside, I had no idea where to start with yoga and felt a little overwhelmed. There are so many types! My only knowledge of yoga is from my rare Body Balance classes, and is limited to being a tree and a downward dog. I can’t attend regular classes because my husband is a shift worker, but my friend did get me on to an iPad App, Yoga Studio, which has a bunch of good quality and instructive videos – including for beginners. So I’ve decided to start at the beginning.

Things I have learned in my first venture into yoga:

  • Doing yoga on wooden floorboards is not very comfortable
  • Doing yoga on wooden floorboards while wearing fluffy slippers is not very practical
  • I need to get a yoga mat
  • I’m not sure my muscles have earned the right to be called muscles
  • My balance is very unbalanced
  • I want to do it again. In spite of all this, it did feel wonderful, to stretch out and let go. Onwards!

Meanwhile, a bitter chocolate hazelnut cake:

If you like very dark chocolate (the 85 – 90% variety) then this cake IS for you. The reason I have to emphasise that, is because this cake contains one very odd ingredient: Kidney beans. A whole can of kidney beans.

My recipe for this cake is a variation of one that is taking the Thermomix world by storm (but which can be made without a Thermomix). Although it contains an awful lot of kidney beans, you cannot taste them. They provide a lovely fluffy, almost whipped texture to the cake. Just don’t tell anyone the secret ingredient until AFTER they’ve enjoyed it. 😉

The original recipe is by Sarah Wong, also known as the Clever Cook. My variation is to add hazelnut, a ganache and nut topping, and adapt the cake to be very low in fructose: 6.5g of fructose in the entire cake (with ganache), which serves 12; compared with the original un-iced cake which contains 70g of fructose. However, this makes mine a bittersweet cake. Serve it on its own, with cream, or with my fructose-free vanilla ice-cream.

Bitter Chocolate Hazelnut Cake

  • 420g can of kidney beans, drained and rinsed well
  • 1 tbsp brewed coffee or water
  • 1 tsp vanilla powder
  • 125g butter
  • 5 eggs
  • 1/2 cup rice malt syrup
  • 1/2 cup raw cacao
  • 1/4 cup hazelnut meal
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp bicarb soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 100g 85% dark chocolate, grated or roughly chopped
  • 1/3 cup cream
  • 1/2 cup hazelnuts, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 cup macadamias, roughly chopped

1. Line a 23cm cake tin with baking paper. I use a springform tin, but that’s because I’m paranoid. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees celsius.

2. In a food processor, process the beans, coffee or water, 1 egg and vanilla powder until smooth. Set aside.

3. Cream the butter and rice malt syrup together in the food processor. Add the remaining 4 eggs and process until well combined.

4. Return the bean mixture to the food processor and process until well combined.

5. Add the cacao, hazelnut meal, baking powder, bicarb soda and salt, and process until well combined. Pour into the cake tin and bake for 30 minutes until skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean. Allow to cool for 5 – 10 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack to cool completely.

6. Combine dark chocolate and cream in heatproof bowl over a saucepan of simmering water. Stir until the chocolate has melted and ganache is smooth. Allow to cool slightly before spreading over the top of the cake. Top with chopped hazelnuts and macadamias.


    • Erin says:

      Thanks Marisa! I’m still loving the yoga (although keeping very much to the beginner combinations for the time being!). xx

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