Easter Dessert with a Healthy Twist….

As we hit the Easter celebrations, if you’re preparing to entertain the family for Easter Sunday lunch, you might be wondering what to make for dessert that is light yet indulgent, easy to do, and people-pleasing with a seriously healthy edge.

For me, a cake using healthily alternative ingredients like ground almonds, polenta and dark chocolate is a great compromise. Yes, it contains sugar, butter and a really saucy sauce, but as I’m always fond of saying, balance is everything!

As a celebratory dessert, eaten occasionally not every day, this is perfectly guilt free. Make the cake for birthdays and you keep those healthy ingredient swaps that add up over the year. The only downside is that you might already be sick of the sight of chocolate…..

Happy Easter, all!

Chocolate Cake with Salted Caramel Sauce

For the chocolate cake:

150g dark chocolate, minimum 70% cocoa solids
150g ground almonds
100g polenta
1 tsp gluten ­free baking powder
225g caster sugar
225g butter, softened, plus extra for greasing
3 large free ­range eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract

For the salted caramel sauce:

100g butter
150g soft dark brown sugar
3 tbsp golden syrup
150ml double cream
1 tsp vanilla extract
generous pinch of sea salt, to taste

Preheat the oven to 180C/160C Fan/Gas 4. Butter a 20cm/8in round springform tin and line the base with baking parchment. Melt the chocolate gently in a heatproof bowl set over a pan of barely simmering water. Set aside to cool slightly.

In a bowl, mix the almonds, polenta and baking powder. Beat the sugar and butter in a separate bowl until the mixture is light and pale. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition, then fold through the melted chocolate until completely combined.

Add the dry ingredients to the chocolate mixture and fold in until just combined. Finally add the vanilla extract and fold through gently. Pour into the tin and bake on the middle shelf of the oven for about 40 minutes, or until a skewer comes out clean.

When cooked, remove carefully from the tin and leave to cool slightly on a wire rack. Make the sauce by putting the butter, sugar and syrup in a saucepan. Bring to a gentle boil, and cook until the sugar has dissolved. Take off the heat and add the cream, vanilla and salt, then whisk. Bring back to a gently simmer, then cook for a few minutes, or until sticky and thick.

Cut the warm cake into slices and serve with a little crème fraîche to cut through the richness and a drizzle of sauce. Enjoy!

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