Cocoa squares with Himalayan salted ganache, candied ginger and chocolate curls

by Alice on febbraio 13, 2010

Cocoa squares with Himalayan salted ganache, candied ginger and chocolate curls


For the cake

200 g semi-whole wheat flour
80 g wholemeal flour
120 g almond flour
40 g unsweetened cacao powder, sifted
50 g muscovado sugar
half a teaspoon vanilla powder
2 teaspoons cream of tartar
1 tablespoon cornstarch
a pinch of whole sea salt
180 g barley malt syrup
100 ml extra virgin olive oil
200 ml almond milk, unsweetened and unflavoured
100 ml almond cream (or other vegetable cream, GMO-free)

For the chocolate sauce

300 ml almond milk, unsweetened
4 tablespoons rice malt syrup
2 teaspoons ginger juice
1 teaspoon natural vanilla extract
1 teaspoon dried ginger powder
a pinch of whole sea salt
3 tablespoons unsweetened cacao powder, sifted
half a teaspoon cornstarch, dissolved in 1 tablespoon filtered cold water

For the chocolate ganache

150 g dark chocolate (70% cacao), broken into pieces
200 g rice malt syrup
50 ml almond cream (or other vegetable cream, GMO-free)
half a teaspoon fine ground Himalayan salt

To complete

chopped candied ginger (candied with dark brown sugar), to taste
dark chocolate curls (made with a vegetable peeler dragged down one side of the chocolate block from top to bottom), to taste

Makes 16-20 squares.

Cocoa squares with Himalayan salted ganache, candied ginger and chocolate curls


Preheat oven to 180° C, lightly oil and flour a 20 cm square (stainless steel) cake pan, or alternatively, lay down a sheet of parchment paper on your cake pan. In a large bowl, sift together the semi-whole wheat flour, wholemeal flour, almond flour, cacao powder, muscovado, vanilla, cream of tartar, cornstarch and salt. Mix well.
Place the barley malt syrup, extra virgin olive oil, almond milk and almond cream in a bowl and stir well. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and whisk until the batter is blended. Make sure everything is well combined. Pour the batter into the cake pan and bake for about 50 minutes. The centre of the cake should be firm but still a little moist (use a wooden stick to check donness). Let cool before removing the cake from the pan.

To make the chocolate sauce, place the almond milk, rice malt syrup, ginger juice, vanilla extract, ginger powder and salt in a saucepan and start cooking over low heat. Add the cacao powder while you keep stirring. Cook for another 2-3 minutes, then add the cornstarch and cook for another minute or until the sauce is slightly thick (don’t stop stirring while it thickens). Let cool for a few minutes but not too long as the sauce will thicken a bit further as it cools.

When the cake has cooled, remove it from the pan and cut into squares. Poke a few holes in the squares, using a fork or stick. Pour some chocolate sauce over them little by little and let it soak in. Set aside for a while, to let cool again and let the sauce make everything moist. In the meantime you can make the chocolate ganache. Place the chocolate in a saucepan together with the rice malt syrup, almond cream and Himalayan salt and simmer over low heat, stirring constantly. Remove from the heat as soon as the chocolate has completely melted and everything is combined. Let cool for a bit then pour the ganache over the top of  the cake squares and garnish with the candied ginger and chocolate curls.

Posted in: autumn,baking,breakfast and brunch,cakes,chocolate,desserts,finger food,lunch-box,snacks,spicy,sweet,tea time,winter

{ 13 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Jennifer febbraio 13, 2010 alle 10:53

Mmmmm. This is a dream dessert! Magnificent.

2 Mihl febbraio 14, 2010 alle 02:14

These look totally stunning!

3 Meghan (Making Love In The Kitchen febbraio 14, 2010 alle 08:09

Can I be your Valentine? That looks amazing!

4 Nicole febbraio 15, 2010 alle 07:28

Ginger & chocolate what an inspired combination! Looks really delicious!

5 Erika from The Pastry Chef At Home febbraio 16, 2010 alle 23:19

Che bello! Your photos are gorgeous and making me so hungry! I usually bake with all the unhealthy stuff (white flour, sugar, etc) but I am always intrigued by recipes that use healthier ingredients without sacrificing beauty or flavor. I’m especially excited to try the Himalayan salted ganache – salt really brings out great flavor in chocolate.

6 Virginie P. febbraio 17, 2010 alle 12:53

It looks so good, on the photos as well as when reading the recipe and all these nice ingredients. What do you mean with almond cream? Is it a dessert cream or an equivalent of soy cream (like dairy cream, to cook salty or sweet dishes)?

7 Alice febbraio 18, 2010 alle 17:07

Thank you girls!

Virginie, almond cream is vegetable cream made with almonds (I use Ecomil brand, you might have it in France too). There’s no added sugar in it, but it’s naturally and slightly sweet as it’s made with almonds and it’s great for both sweet and savoury dishes. If you can’t find it in France and want to try it I can send you a carton (200 ml).
Of course, you can also make it yourself, I do sometimes, but it’s not always so practical.

8 Alessandra febbraio 20, 2010 alle 16:11

Fantastic photo! Can you tell me how small do you cut the squares? For such a cornucopia of flavours I would imagine very small portions, but I better ask :-)



9 Virginie P. febbraio 22, 2010 alle 12:45

You are so nice Alice. In fact my situation is more complicate as I live in Sweden for a while. It is funny because I just read a French cookbook mentioning this ingredient, so now we know there is almond cream in France. About Sweden I don’t know. I will search. I guess it is available as there is usually more vegan products in Sweden than in France. But as I didn’t know it could exist, I think I haven’t noticed it in the stores. I will tell you. It sounds like a very good ingredient, thanks for this discovery.

10 Alice febbraio 22, 2010 alle 14:33

Alessandra, those were about 4×5 (maybe 5×5). I would not cut them smaller (…nor bigger as the combination of flavours is very very intense)!

Virginie, enjoy Sweden! I love almond cream.

11 hannah febbraio 25, 2010 alle 19:57

these look amazing!

12 Virginie P. febbraio 26, 2010 alle 12:20

Hi Alice, I found Almond Cream in an organic shop. I can’t wait to taste it. Thanks again for the information.

13 Patty aprile 29, 2010 alle 12:55

Stellar recipe – I love your use of rich wholesome ingredients, as well as salt with chocolate. Beautiful photo too, I’m drooling over here. :) Thanks for sharing!

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