Sometimes only chocolate will do. I actually don’t bake chocolate items all that often, but some days . . . it absolutely must be done. Last weekend was such a case.
I wanted chocolate cake. But I didn’t want a giant, frosted chocolate cake. I wanted something smaller, something that I could pull apart with my hands as I ate it. Perhaps a bit denser then a layer cake, but still soft and spongy.
I also wanted add-ins. I was imagining some sort of treat baked into the chocolate batter, something that would compliment the chocolate flavor without taking it over. I was inspired! But I needed a basic recipe to start with.
Enter one of my most trusted food blogs. Smitten Kitchen has yet to lead me astray. Everything I have made from this fantastic site has been tasty and satisfying. So when I was able to find this recipe for Chocolate Yogurt Snack Cakes (originally from David Lebovitz’s The Sweet Life in Paris), I knew I had my starting point.
I made several adaptations to the recipe in order to create the kind of cakes I particularly wanted and they came out wonderfully. I love the texture of these snacking cakes, as well as the versatility. They feel appropriate for just about any time of day – perfect for a sweet treat at breakfast, a snack throughout the day, or a light post-dinner dessert.
Adding the dried cherries really did add something special to the flavor of these, I think. I used a moderate amount so they didn’t overwhelm the other components, leaving chocolate as the stand out ingredient. The flavor, though, that the cherries contributed was lovely. The combination of the almond oil and almond extract also imparted a deeper flavor to the cakes, though if you’re not a fan of almond flavor, you could easily substitute a different oil and omit the extract. I’m actually curious how orange extract would be in these, in place of the almond. I may have to test that out soon!
Cherry Almond Chocolate Snacking Cakes
Makes 12 cakes
- 6 oz semi-sweet chocolate (baking squares or chips will work)
- ¼ cup almond oil
- ¼ cup unsweetened apple sauce
- ½ cup plain yogurt (I used non-fat Greek)
- 1 cup sugar (I used turbinado)
- 3 tblspns egg replacer, combined with 9 tblspns water (or 3 large eggs if you prefer)
- 1 tspn vanilla extract
- ½ tspn almond extract
- 100 grams whole wheat pastry flour
- 100 grams spelt flour
- 1 ½ tspns baking powder
- ½ tspn course salt
- 1/3 cup dried cherries
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Coat muffin pans with cooking spray.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the flours, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together egg replacer with water (or eggs) until just combined. Add applesauce, yogurt, sugar, vanilla and almond extract. Stir until well combined.
- Chop the dried cherries into small pieces.
- Melt your chocolate with the almond oil. You can do this in a heatproof bowl over lightly boiling water on the stove, or in the microwave (as I did). Combine the chocolate and oil in a microwave safe bowl and heat for 30 seconds. Stir. Heat for 20 more seconds. Stir again. Repeat until the chocolate is completely melted and combined with the oil.
- Create a well in the center of the flour mixture. Pour in the yogurt mixture and stir together until just combined. Then, pour in the melted chocolate and continue to stir until all the dry ingredients are well incorporated. Finally, fold in the chopped dried cherries so that they are distributed throughout the batter.
- Spoon batter into muffin cups (about ¼ cup batter in each cup). Bake for approximately 20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.
- Let stand for 5 minutes in the tins, then remove and allow to cool on a wire rack.
– You could certainly use other flours in these. I particularly liked the combination of the whole wheat pastry flour, which I think contributed to a lighter texture, with the spelt flour, which complimented to the nutty undertones of flavor.
– Add toppings if you like. A dusting of powdered sugar, a glaze, or a ganache would be lovely. I just wasn’t in the mood!