Coffee. Chocolate. Wrapped up in protein. In cake form. With frosting. MMMMMMMMM.
I always think protein cakes are a bit of an acquired taste. One that I, personally, have acquired in rampant abundance. Love them. But I usually assume the uninitiated won’t buy into it (e.g. my family who think I am weird and won’t mention my love of protein baking in polite company). But it’s not so, is it? Not if my family’s devouring of this little number is anything to go by. So this time, I’m posting it up here to share.
I’m crazy mad for chocolate. No question of that. Love my coffee too. But I don’t usually like to mix the two. Hate the whole mocha concept. Not a big fan of coffee flavoured chocolates either. Oh, and for any baristas out there, don’t you dare sprinkle my cappucino with that chocolate dust, OK? There would be consequences, and none of them pretty … But somehow, you mix them in a cake and HEY PRESTO. Awesomeness. Which is why you have to top them with some organic walnuts. Just to pole-vault over the line that separates awesomeness from the truly awesomely divine.
This cake is very moist and fudgy … a lot like an espresso fudgy brownie. Must be all that sweet potato goodness. But wait … the frosting …
Oh, my sweet lord, the frosting. I was eating the frosting with a spoon. Which may explain the slight under-frosting of the cake somewhat … I ate some of it before I got a chance to frost the cake. Too busy with the eating of the frosting
You can just make the frosting and eat that for dessert. Use it to fill stuff. Top stuff. Spoon it over fruit. Swirl in some nuts or chocolate! Eat it with a spoon …
It’s protein frosting fantasy.
I’m not a massive sweet tooth, so a warning to the sweet toothed diehards among you – you might need to add a little extra sweetener, but just don’t go making any rash assumptions about that, OK? Factor that into your macro count if you do. I also used frozen egg whites that I’d thawed overnight in the fridge. You can use fresh egg whites. It’s all good … either way it works beautifully.
You can substitute stevia for the coconut sugar in the cake but honestly, it doesn’t add much in the way of carbs. If you want more sweetness, you may want to add stevia or something else. Coconut sugar is low GI and has a nice toffee, brown sugar flavour that is really great even in small quantities. Plus, it’s got a whole swag of good nutrients in it that you don’t find in refined sugars or in artificial sweeteners (a major ewww on those).
The macronutrient profile? Yes, it’s all there, below the recipe.
So make, bake, enjoy!
Energy to move, power to lift.
You can bake this in either an 18cm or 20cm cake tin/mold, depending on how high you want the layers to be. I like thin layers so I use the larger size.
Makes 1 x 18cm or 1 x 20cm torte (serves 6)
Espresso Chocolate Protein Cake
185 grams egg whites
170 grams cooked sweet potato (boiled or steamed until tender)
20 grams coconut sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla
30 grams unsweetened cacao
30 grams pea protein powder (unflavoured or chocolate)
8 grams (1 tablespoon) psyllium
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/8 teaspoon sea salt
125 millilitres (1/2 cup) coconut milk
40 millilitres strong espresso, cooled or a few teaspoons finely ground coffee beans
Espresso Ricotta Frosting
200 grams non-fat plain yoghurt (a nice thick, tub-set one is perfect)
125 grams whole milk ricotta (shush, it tastes better)
50 millilitres strong espresso, cooled
35 grams casein powder (I used Professional Whey Micellar Casein)
1 teaspoon pure vanilla
1/8 – 1/4 teaspoon pure stevia extract powder (or other sweetener to taste)
a little extra cacao (optional)
fresh walnuts, shelled (optional)
Make the cake: Preheat the oven to 160℃. Line the base and sides of a springform tin with non-stick baking paper.
In the bowl of a mixer (or food processor), beat or process the sweet potato until smooth. Add the egg whites and whisk until frothy and light. Add the remaining ingredients and beat or process until the batter is smooth. Taste the batter to make sure it is sweet enough for you. If not, add a little more coconut sugar or sweetener of your choice, to taste.
Add the batter to the prepared tin and smooth the top. Bake for 40 – 45 minutes until risen and cooked. It will set and not rise very much, a bit like a brownie. I covered it with a layer of foil after 25 minutes to prevent the top from browning too much.
Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely in the tin. When cooled, remove from the tin and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before cutting horizontally into two layers. The easiest way to do this is to use a sharp serrated knife and rotate the cake as you cut through it.
Make the frosting: In a bowl, combine the yoghurt, ricotta, casein, espresso, vanilla, and sweetener. Stir gently until combined. This is important as casein powder has a tendency to just fly about all over the place. Once combined, whisk until the mixture thickens and takes on a lovely creamy consistency.
Use the frosting to sandwich the cake layers and frost the top and sides of the torte.
If you like, sift a little cacao over the top and add a few walnuts before serving.
If required, you can store the cake, covered, in the refrigerator for a couple of days.
The macros provided here are based on the cake layers and frosting. They don’t include the walnuts or cacao on top so you should factor that in, depending on how much you use. I’ve included the macros for the cake on its own, the frosting on its own, and the whole shebang!
I have also used average values except for the protein powders, as indicated above. I use Phyto Protein unflavoured pea protein so have based the macro count on that. I have used pure stevia extract in the frosting (trying to get used to it and it seems I am). If you use a different sweetener the macros will change accordingly.
For the ricotta and coconut milk, I have used full fat/whole milk versions. For the comparatively smaller increase in fat, they tend to have a better overall macro profile for protein, carbs and essential nutrients. Plus they taste better