Weekend Recipe: Layered Chocolate & Blackberry Cake

Photography © Carla Oates/The Beauty Chef

Sydney-based Carla Oates, otherwise known as The Beauty Chef, has been writing and teaching about organic beauty and health for the last 15 years. In her new book, Carla provides more than 150 of her favourite delicious, gluten-and dairy-free recipes that combine the joy of cooking with the science of nutrition. Serve this delicious layered chocolate and blackberry cake with cacao and cultured butter frosting with pride to sceptics and watch them eat their words. It looks and tastes just like a traditional chocolate cake, but nourishes, not depletes.


SERVES 10– 12

Coconut oil, for greasing

1 cup of blackberry and vanilla chia jam (refer to the recipe book)

Edible flowers, to decorate (optional)

Fresh blackberries, to decorate (optional)

Chocolate pumpkin cake

450 g peeled pumpkin, cut into chunks, or 250 g purée

6 medjool dates, pitted

125 ml boiling water

3 large eggs

80 g almond butter

80 ml maple syrup

60 ml macadamia oil, plus extra for drizzling

2 teaspoons vanilla bean powder*

100 g almond meal

35 g buckwheat flour

80 g cacao powder

30 g arrowroot

2 teaspoons gluten-free baking powder

½ teaspoon bicarbonate of soda (baking soda)

pinch of Himalayan salt

Cacao and cultured butter frosting

8 medjool dates, pitted

125 ml boiling water

100 g unsalted cultured butter, softened (refer to the book)

60 g cacao powder

1½ teaspoons vanilla bean powder*


Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F). Lightly grease and line a 20 cm (8 in) springform cake tin with baking paper. Place the pumpkin chunks on a baking tray. Drizzle with macadamia oil. Roast for 20–25 minutes, or until tender and caramelised. Set aside to cool. Reduce the oven to 170°C (340°F). Soak the dates in the boiling water for 10 minutes, or until softened. In a high-speed food processor, blend the dates and their liquid, the eggs, almond butter, maple syrup, macadamia oil and vanilla bean powder until smooth. Add the pumpkin and blend to combine. Transfer into a medium bowl. Place the dry ingredients in a medium bowl and stir to combine. Add to the wet mixture and stir to make a smooth batter. Pour the batter into the prepared tin. Bake for 50–55 minutes, until a skewer comes out clean when inserted into the centre to test. Leave in the tin for 10 minutes to cool slightly. Turn out onto a rack to cool completely. Once cooled, slice the cake in half horizontally.

Spread the blackberry and vanilla chia jam over the base. Sandwich the other cake half on top. To prepare the cacao and cultured butter frosting, soak the dates in the boiling water for 10 minutes, or until softened. Cream the butter in a medium bowl using an electric mixer, until pale and creamy. Remove the skins from the dates and place them, with their liquid, in a high-speed food processor. Add the cacao and vanilla and blend until smooth. Add this mixture to the creamed butter and mix until combined. Using a spatula, spread the frosting on top and over the cake, to completely cover. Decorate with edible flowers and fresh blackberries, if desired.


Refrigerate this cake until required. The frosting will begin to melt off the cake if left out, especially on a warm day.

* Available from health food stores.

 The Beauty Chef by Carla Oates (Hardie Grant, £25) Photography © Carla Oates/The Beauty Chef

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