After my mom was diagnosed with cancer in 2007, I quit sugar cold turkey. I went six months without eating much sugar at all, unless it came from fruit. During that time my palate changed and I stopped craving it. It’s amazing how our bodies work that way. Then I got pregnant and all bets were off, but that’s another story.
So I know that I can go without sugar and sweets. I’ve done it and I know my body would adjust and stop craving sweet things.
My husband Tim is a whole different story. He has no desire or any intention of giving up his sweets. If I don’t make them for him, he’ll get them on his own. Which of course means he’ll either buy cookies and cakes with an insane amount of sugar from our local bakery or even worse, candy bars that are filled with questionable chemical preservatives.
For the sake of my husband’s health and a happy marriage, my solution is to make him the best-tasting healthy treats I can. That means the treats need to be made:
- Without white flour. Discovering whole wheat pastry flour has opened up a whole new world, but I’ve also experimented with other flours such as brown rice, coconut, and garbanzo bean flour.
- Low sugar. I don’t use refined sugar in my baking, but do use natural sweeteners, such as honey, maple syrup, agave nectar, stevia, xylitol, and fruit. I try to make my treats low-sugar even when I’m using natural sweeteners because as they say, sugar is sugar.
- A balanced amount of fat and calories. I’m not anti-fat by any means, but I do know that the amount we get can easily add up if I use too much oil or butter in my baked goods.
This dark chocolate brownie cake recipe is an indulgence, but one that I can feel good about. I used whole wheat pastry flour, sweetened it with xylitol (you can substitute sucanat or other sugar) and reduced the amount of oil or butter needed by using some pureed prunes. The prunes also make it moist, sweeter, and add fiber. Bonus! I cheated a little by using a sweetened dark chocolate bar, but you can use unsweetened chocolate if you prefer. Your brownie cake will just be significantly less sweet. I think the antioxidants in the dark chocolate make up for the sugar, right?Print
Healthy Indulgence: Dark Chocolate Brownie Cake
A healthy treat to satisfy all sweet teeth
- Prep Time: 20 minutes
- Cook Time: 60 minutes
- Total Time: 80 minutes
- Yield: 9 pieces 1x
- Category: Dessert
- Cuisine: American
- 4 tablespoons coconut oil, melted (or use butter, softened)
- 1 1/2 cups pitted pruned (dried plums)
- 1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
- 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1/4 cup xylitol (can substitute sucanat or natural cane sugar)
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 3.5 ounces dark chocolate, chopped (you can substitute regular, bittersweet, or unsweetened chocolate if you prefer)
- 2 eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Heat the oven to 350 degrees and grease an 8 or 9 inch square baking pan. Get your little one something to do. Meghan worked on her fine motor skills by transferring beans to an egg carton.
- Don’t ask why she isn’t wearing pants. You can’t make a 2-year-old wear pants who doesn’t want to. Okay, back to the recipe!
- Put the prunes and 2 cups of water in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat so that it is bubbling gently. Cover and cook, stirring now and then, about 15 minutes, until the prunes are very soft.
- Meanwhile, combine the flour, cocoa, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl. Whisk well so there are no clumps.
- Chop your chocolate.
- When the prunes are ready, add half the chopped chocolate (you don’t have to be precise here) to the prune mixture and stir off the heat until the chocolate has melted. Transfer the prune mixture to a food processor and puree. Add the melted coconut oil, eggs, and vanilla and process until smooth and creamy.
- Add the prune mixture to the flour mixture and sitr just to combine.
- Someone was anxious to help.
- Stir in the remaining chopped chocolate.
- Turn the batter into the prepared pan and bake until the middle is set, 35-45 minutes. Let the cake cook in the pan for 10 minutes, then invert onto a wire rack to cool for at least another hour before serving.
Adapted from The Food Matters Cookbook by Mark Bittman
- Serving Size: 1 piece
- Calories: 250
- Sugar: 13g
- Fat: 12g
- Fiber: 5g
- Protein: 5g
Keywords: healthy brownie
Waiting is the hardest part!
Store at room temperature, covered with wax paper, for up to day or 2; use plastic wrap and it will keep for an extra day or so. But it won’t likely last that long, anyway!
The result is a part-brownie, part-cake delight. The final stats aren’t bad, either:
Fat: 12 grams
Fiber: 5 grams
Protein: 5 grams
Sugar: 13 grams (partially from the chocolate bar, partially from the prunes)
These stats are great compared to a traditional piece of brownie cake, which will normally have around 400 calories, 25 grams of fat, and 30 grams of sugar.
Question: Are you a dark chocolate lover?