Tuesday, 29 September 2009

Chocolate and Aubergine Cake

I don't know if anyone else has noticed but cakes incorporating vegetables seem to be in vogue all of a sudden, even Matthew Wright ate a courgette cup cake on The Wright Stuff the other day. We're all familiar with carrot cake and even beetroot and chocolate cake, but Harry Eastwood's book 'Red Velvet and Chocolate Heartache' takes the vegetable cake to a new level.

She uses a huge range of veg, aubergine, parsnip even potato and turnip. I've only tried 2 recipes so far but what I'm quite impressed with the subtly and sophistication of her cakes. I was expecting endless variations of carrot cake, ie fairly chunky crumbed, wholemeal, spicy doorstops but her Chocolate Chip Cupcakes and Heartache Chocolate cake couldn't be more different. Dense, squidgy and intensely chocolaty, you'd never guess the moist texture was down to microwaved aubergine.

My only slight complaint is her rather irritating habit of personifying her recipes, for example Heartache Chocolate Cake (the aubergine one) is "...sad. It's dark and drizzling down the window panes. She puffs her chest in hope when she goes into the oven; she then breaks, like a chest heaving a sob" Am I the only one rolling my eyes and muttering "it's a cake for God's sake"? Maybe that makes me an old curmudgeon with a soul as bitter as a kumquat. Who knows?

Heartache Chocolate Cake
400g aubergine
300g good dark chocolate
50g cocoa powder
60 ground almonds
3 medium eggs
200g clear honey
1/4 tsp salt
1 tbsp brandy

Pre-heat the oven to gm4/180C/350F. Line a 23cm, 7cm deep, cake tin with baking parchment and oil lightly. Stab the aubergine a few times, put in a covered bowl and microwave for 8 minutes. When it's cool enough to handle, slip the skin off and blend to a puree. Mix the chocolate into the aubergine and leave while the heat melts the chocolate.

Meanwhile whisk all the other ingredients together, then mix in the chocolate and aubergine. The recipe says bake for 30 mins but this seems to be quite variable. Rachel said hers was over cooked after 30 mins but mine was still squidgy after 50 mins so keep checking and take it out when it still quakes a little in the middle.

Leave to cool in the tin for 15 mins or so and then turn out and enjoy, enjoy, enjoy!


  1. Sounds fantastic. I'm a huge fan of aubergine, but fail to convince most of those around me that it is the most amazing veg. I love the way the texture changes depending on how it is cooked. Perhaps the chocolate cake version will be the answer.

  2. I'm a bit funny with aubergine, v much depends on how it's cooked. I like it baked so that it's still quite moist.

    In this cake you honestly can't taste it one tiny bit, although the seeds pop up occasionally which look a bit odd. Would be good to serve to an aubergine hater and then do a big reveal!

  3. I have no idea if I like aubergine but intend to plant it next year so this is definitely one to give a go...you can never go wrong if you add chocolate...that's my motto!!

  4. Aubergines are not my fav. veg. but with chocolate I think I could be persudaded otherwise. Sounds great.

  5. Sounds utterly gorgeous, I have that book and have been looking over the recipe since I bought it. I love aubergines.

    BTW I've just come back from a holiday in North Norfolk, a truly beautiful place. I've blogged it too :)

  6. We don't get up to North Norfolk very often, we're in the south of the county and it's easier to travel east and go to the Suffolk coast, or Great Yarmouth to visit the in laws. I do love Blakeney though.

  7. This kind of cake (veg instead of butter/oil) is also very good for recovering anorexics/current dieters who don't want to add fat to anything they eat.

  8. I just made this cake....and its fabulous, like a really chocolatey brownie. I served it with strawberrys and everyone loved it, then I told them about the aubergine and they were shocked. I think I might just buy the book and ignore the irritating bits!

  9. Glad you enjoyed it, we've not had it for ages now I'll have to make it again when our allotment strawberries ripen.

  10. i dont have a micro wave - any ideas how to cook the aubergines in the oven?

  11. Could you steam them? Roasting them in the oven would probably give them a smoky taste and boiling may make them too watery.

  12. If i steam them - they would be too watery??? Going to put them in a foil and put in oven. Wont roast hopefully, but Ill let you know how it goes!!

  13. I was wondering how long this cake lasts? I'm guessing it's the kind of cake that won't last long in most households merely due to it being too delicious, but I'd appreciate it if anyone who has managed to resist temptation could let me know as I need to make a gluten free cake for a friend and this looks great! I'd just like to be able to cook it a at least a couple of days in advance. Alternatively, I might make a cake several weeks in advance and freeze it, so if anyone's tried freezing this cake I'd like to know how that turned out.


  14. I think you should be fine with a few days. It took us a couple of days to chomp our way through it and we lived to tell the tale!

  15. I'm not really a big fan of Aubergines but I am willing to see what it tastes like in the chocolate cake. I will get the ingredients on my next shop and give this a go, thanks for this recipe. I will let you know how I get on.

  16. I'm allergic to nuts, but want to try this recipe. Can I replace it with ground flax seed or something?


  17. No idea I'm afraid, I've never cooked with ground flax seed. Maybe someone reading will know.

  18. so hyped to make this!
    going to be yummy!!
    i'm making it with annabelle and george