Hazelnut Maple Chocolate Cake

Celebrated the world over for their health benefits and dynamic flavours, cultured and fermented foods are becoming everyday meal mainstays. In this extensive collection, fermentation pioneer Holly Davis shares more than 120 recipes for familiar—and lesser-known—cultured foods, including yogurt, pickles, kimchi, umeboshi, scrumpy, and more. This inspiring resource contains more than 100 photographs, plus plenty of helpful how-tos and informational charts offering guidance on incorporating fermented ingredients into the diet. With a luxe textured cover and brimming with engaging projects for cooks of all skill levels, this cookbook will be the cornerstone of every preserving kitchen.

Ferment: A Guide to the Ancient Art of Culturing Foods, from Kombucha to Sourdough is available at Amazon.com and Amazon.ca.

Hazelnut Maple Chocolate Cake

Ferment by Holly Davis

Photograph copyright © 2017 by Ben Dearnley

This naturally leavened cake has a lovely, fudge-like texture that is not overly rich. Using leaven as a rising agent conditions the flour to make it more digestible and creates a gentle lift during baking. Baking at a low temperature also keeps the cake moist and prevents it from doming or cracking. I refer to this as an “all-food” cake. Serve with cultured cream. 

SERVES 10–12 Ready in approximately 12–14 hours

3 ½ oz (100 g) pitted prunes

9 oz (250 g) just-boiled water

2 1/3 cups (300 g) unbleached white spelt flour

3 ½ oz (100 g) best-quality Dutch cocoa powder

pinch sea salt

1⁄2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

2⁄3 cup (125 g) light brown muscovado sugar

2 ¾ oz (75 g) ground hazelnuts

3 ½ oz (100 g) float-tested leaven

7 oz (200 g) maple syrup

1 vanilla bean, seeds scraped, or 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

9 oz (250 g) unsalted butter, ghee, or coconut oil, melted and then cooled to room temperature

5 eggs (weighing approximately 2 oz/60 g each), beaten



3 ½ oz (100 g) dark chocolate (at least 70% cocoa solids), broken or chopped into small pieces

½ cup (175 g) raw honey, at room temperature

Tiny pinch fine sea salt

Soak the prunes in the boiling water for about 10 minutes, or until softened. Grease a 9½ in (24 cm) springform cake pan with butter and line with parchment paper.

Sift the flour, cocoa powder, sea salt, and cinnamon into a large bowl. Add the sugar and ground hazelnuts, and combine. Pour in the leaven and use your fingertips to rub it into the dry ingredients, forming a slightly crumbly mixture.

Put the prunes and their soaking water into a blender or food processor and blitz with the maple syrup, vanilla, cooled melted butter, and eggs to form a smooth mixture.

Make a well in the dry ingredients and pour in the wet mixture. Gently fold together the ingredients until no dry bits remain, but don’t overwork. Pour the mix into the prepared cake pan and cover loosely with a damp cloth. Let it rise in a fairly warm spot for 6–10 hours (ideally at 75–82°F/24–28°C). The mixture is not likely to rise much at this stage (it will rise when baked), but if you break the surface you may see small pockets of air.

Preheat the oven to 300°F (150°C). Cover the cake with a sheet of foil and bake in the center of the oven for 1½ hours. Uncover and test by inserting a skewer into the center – if it comes out clean but with a few moist crumbs attached, it is ready. If not, leave uncovered and continue to bake for an additional 30–40 minutes, testing again after this time.

Remove from the oven and let it cool in the pan for a few minutes. Carefully remove the cake to a wire rack and allow to cool completely.

While the cake is cooling, make the raw honey glaze. Melt the chocolate in a bowl set over a saucepan half-filled with simmering water (make sure the base of the bowl does not touch the water). When the chocolate is melted, take off the heat and let it cool briefly. Add the honey and salt and stir to combine.

While still warm, pour the glaze over the cooled cake and let it set for about 1 hour before serving.

Recipe reprinted with permission from Chronicle Books

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.