At the end of the hallway she turns and says, ‘Have a piece of cake for me, all right? The chocolate. It’s delicious.’ She smiles a strange, twisted smile, and adds, ‘I love you, you know.’
And then she’s gone.
Veronica Roth, Divergent
One of the things I love most about the Divergent trilogy is the food. (I can’t say much about the story itself, though that’s something for another time.) In contrast to the bleak environment the characters are in, the food tastes good and gives them something to look forward to (well, perhaps with the exception of Abnegation food). Plus, the food actually sounds like something I’d eat. I won’t ever say no to chocolate cake.
Other than the fact that I love chocolate and cake, the Dauntless chocolate cake, so lauded by the Dauntless initiates and “alumni”, is definitely the highlight of Divergent, which is why I have chosen to recreate it here. It’s the catalyst for Tris’s realisation that her mum was from Dauntless. It’s also a symbol of hope; when Tris is down, her friends try to cheer her up with cake or cake batter. Call me reading too much into the story, but anything to justify baking (and eating) chocolate cake goes for me!
The chocolate cake here is dense, moist and bold, which suits the (false?) bravado of the Dauntless. It’s also minimalistic, in that it’s not decorated or frosted, but simply dusted with cocoa powder or confectioners’ sugar. I can’t imagine the Dauntless spending the time to frost a cake. Besides, the fluffiness of frosting and Dauntless seem at odds to me. It’s a bit like an elephant trying to wear a tutu (not the best analogy, but you get my drift). Ganache I can imagine the Dauntless eating, but this cake is chocolatey enough to skip the ganache. It’s that rich.
If you’re looking for fluffier cake, you might not want to try this cake. Why not try this chocolate cake or this red velvet cake instead?
But back to the chocolate cake. You’ll never know that it’s healthy if you didn’t bake it: this cake is made without refined sugar, flour and butter. Instead, there’s honey to replace the sugar, and avocado to replace the butter. Don’t worry, you won’t be able to taste the avocado: I hate avocados myself, and only eat it if I can’t taste it. The richness of the chocolate here completely covers the taste, and the cake even tastes faintly buttery (probably due to the avocados, though I try not to think about them).
This cake is so much healthier than commercial chocolate cakes if purely for selfish reasons: I don’t exercise nearly half as much as the Dauntless and can’t afford to eat too many slices of this without an impact on my waistline. Anyhow, since the book doesn’t give any more details other than the fact that it’s a chocolate cake, that leaves me free to do what I want with it.
I’m Erudite through and through, but this cake might just be enough to convince me to join Dauntless.Print Recipe
Dense, moist and decadent, there’s no question that this is a Dauntless dessert. You’ll never guess that there’s no butter, flour and sugar in this cake!
- 100 g avocado
- 187.5 ml (3/4 cup) honey
- 150 g good quality 70% cocoa baking chocolate (see Recipe Note Pt 1)
- 35 g (1/3 cup) cocoa powder
- 2 teaspoons instant espresso powder (optional)
- 4 large eggs, lightly beaten
Pre-heat oven to 180ºC. Liberally grease bottom and sides of 20cm x 20cm (8″ x 8″) cake pan with butter and line bottom of pan with parchment paper (do not skip this step, or the cake will stick to the pan); set aside.
Melt baking chocolate in a saucepan over low heat, whisking continuously to avoid the chocolate from burning.
In a blender, blend the avocado and honey until smooth.
Whisk in the avocado puree, cocoa powder, espresso powder and eggs until a smooth mixture is formed.
The espresso serves to enhance the chocolate taste of the cake; it won’t make the cake taste like coffee!
Turn batter out into the prepared pan, ensuring that it is evenly spread out, and bake for around 30 min. Don’t overbake or the cake will dry out; pull the pan out as soon as the centre has set, and a toothpick inserted into the centre comes out with moist crumbs attached.
Allow cake to cool in pan for 10 min before turning out.
Refrigerate the cake overnight (leaving it overnight enhances the chocolate taste) before slicing and serving. Optionally, dust with cocoa powder, powdered sugar or granulated sugar (I dusted mine with granulated sugar to give it that extra crunch) before serving.
Use good quality chocolate and cocoa powder; I use Valrhona.