My Happy Birthday Chocolate Millet Cake I decided to compose my own birthday cake this year, and it might become a tradition. I might even start receiving requests for birthday cake compositions! Who knows? I’ve been curious if I could break the ingredient barrier and make an outstanding cake out of whole millet. My son and I tried last year, and failed miserably. The millet tasted lumpy and dry. But, I know more about millet a year later, and decided to try again, and miracle of miracles it's worked. It’s a very good chocolate cake, and I'm ultra critical of cakes.
What made it work this time?
Toasting the millet to bring out the flavor
Making a porridge out of the millet and letting it thoroughly fall apart. Making a fermented mash for a cake, with fat and sugar in the mash!
Fermenting the batter, so it enzymatically supports the structure and flavor development of the cake
Adding flax and potato starch to offset the dry nature of millet and provide more glue for the cake's structure
Using raisins to create sweetness, without sacrificing minerals
Adding spices, enough salt and a pinch of cayenne to intrigue the tongue
Beating the batter into lightness
Using whole cane sugar, sea salt, butter, freshly ground spices, and undutched cocoa for their superior flavors.
A different rhythm for baking The recipe may seem complicated at first glance, but actually it's quite easy. Once you get the hang of it, it’s relaxing to only need to do a bit of the baking process at one time. If you start it in the evening you can finish it in the morning or afternoon. You can use any sourdough starter but it should be firm and not wet. Just add flour to your starter to make it firm. This cake doesn’t need any more liquid! Let me know how it goes, I’d love to hear from you.
Sourdough Millet Chocolate Cake Gluten free Millet/Sourdough/Low Sugar/Whole Grain Serves 10-12 This is a rich moist, chocolaty cake with subtle spice notes. It’s not too sweet, and has a light crumb. It’s definitely a celebration cake. It will amaze your guests, if you tell them, that it’s made with whole millet. They'll be even more amazed that it’s sourdough, and has only ½ the sugar of a regular cake. The ganache frosting is made with millet milk! It’s naturally gluten free, but try it even if you can eat gluten! It can be made with coconut oil and is eggless if that’s the way you fly.
Ingredients For Step One ¾ cup /150g millet 1 cup/ 125g raisins 1 cup/ 226g unsalted butter or coconut oil ¾ cup/ 130g unprocessed cane sugar 1 teaspoon cinnamon pinch of cayenne 4 ½ cups/1 litre water
Instructions For Step One Toast millet in a heavy bottomed skillet on medium heat for 4-5 minutes. It will smell toasty and start to pop. Add all step one ingredients to a rice cooker and set it for the regular cycle. You are making a millet porridge. If you're cooking without a rice cooker: add everything to a pot and cook on low, stirring occasionally until you have a soft porridge about 20-30 minutes. Let porridge cool to blood warm. I spread mine out on a parchment lined cookie sheet to cool. This porridge is yummy, so it’s ok to snitch a few spoonfuls.
Ingredients For Step Two ½ cup/ 113 g firm sourdough starter 4 tablespoons/ 30g ground flaxseed ½ cup/ 90g potato starch
Instructions For Step Two I used a food processor, a blender would also work Grind flaxseed, add the potato starch, flaxseed and sourdough starter to the food processor and spin until fine. Add the cooled porridge and process for 2 minutes until very smooth. Put batter into a bowl and ferment at room temperature overnight or 8-12 hours. It will taste only slightly sour when fermented and won’t be bubbly, because it's hard work to ferment in lots of fat. Ingredients For Step Three 1 cup/ 100g undutched cocoa ½ teaspoon baking soda 1 teaspoon sea salt 1 ½ teaspoon baking powder 3 whole cloves ground 5 whole allspice berries ground 1 teaspoon vanilla extract Tip: Grind spices with some of the cocoa to create more volume in the grinder.
Instructions For Step Three Preheat oven to 350F/176C set rack in middle position Line two preferably removable bottom round cake tins with parchment paper, butter the tins. Grind spices with some of the cocoa and set aside Add vanilla to the fermented batter and stir in Mix all dry ingredients together Sift ⅓ of dry ingredients at a time into fermented batter and stir between. With a hand mixer beat batter for 2 minutes on high speed Divide the batter evenly between the two cake tins and bake for 30 minutes. A knife may come out slightly wet when you test the cake but the cake will set more as it cools. Cool completely, while you make the ganache.
Finishing Un-mold the first cake round onto a plate or cake stand, turning it upside down so that the parchment is face up. Pull parchment off, spread a thin layer of ganache on between the layers. Stack the second cake round, also upside down, pull off the parchment and spread remaining ganache on the top and sides of the cake. Make it beautiful, sing a song, have fun, and wipe the edges of the plate of excess ganache when you’re done.
Chocolate Ganache Ingredients ¼ cup /56 g unsalted butter ½ cup/ 118 ml millet milk ½ cup/ 50g undutched cocoa 1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract Pinch of sea salt 2 tablespoons honey or to taste
Instructions for Chocolate Ganache Melt butter in a saucepan over low heat or over a double boiler Stir in cocoa, add millet milk, and pinch of salt and honey Ganache will thicken quickly don’t let it get too hot or it will break, take it off the heat and add vanilla. Use for cake at room temperature With Love Enjoy!