Cozy Kabocha Cake

There’s definitely some things I miss about home.

Steamy, luxurious baths not shared with dozens of other naked bodies. Warm, or just not ice-cold water in bathroom taps. Having an oven.

But one nice thing about living abroad is that you can really join with a community wherever you are—and here in Korea, we’re lucky to share our experience with plenty of other foreign teachers, including a considerable clan of friendly Canucks. And some are even kind enough to let you come over and play with their oven.

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Earlier this week, I posted a photo on Facebook of a “mystery” Korean ingredient I’d been playing around with in the kitchen (and have continued to do so all week!). The best guess was butternut squash… and it was quite close!

This stuff, my friends, is actually pure Kabocha flour—dried, ground kabocha squash, full of beautiful beta-carotenes and vibrant colour. Kabocha squash tastes kinda like a sweet potato-butternut squash-pumpkin smash-up. The sweet and starchy squash is quite popular over here—it’s a common topping for pizza, often found in tempura, or served as a mashed veggie side. In the fall the grocery stores sell them in bulk, and in restaurants they’re usually served with skins intact, something I found quite strange at first until I realized the skin is edible, too. Hello, bonus nutrients!

The flour, which I picked up in the baking section of HomePlus was the special, nay, magical, ingredient in this sunshine-shaded cake.

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And oh, the joys, oh, the solace, of an incredible—albeit out-of-season—baked treat, a taste of comfort served alongside a steaming cup of coffee. I think if I close my eyes and click my heels a few times I really might be home…

IMG_4372Chocolate-Chunk Kabocha Cake (vegan)

Adapted from Alien’s Day Out (also available to order in muffin form from her amazing vegan bakeshop!)

Makes one standard loaf or two small-sized loaves

Dry ingredients:

1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1/4 cup kabocha flour (or pumpkin powder)

1 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp baking powder

1 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp nutmeg

1/2 tsp salt

1/4 tsp allspice

1/4 tsp ground cloves

Wet ingredients:

7/8 cup water

2/3 cup sugar (I used cane sugar)

1/4 cup grape seed oil

1 tbsp brown rice vinegar

Add-Ins

dark chocolate bar chopped coarsely

1/2 cup walnuts

Preheat the oven to 350F or 175C and grease your bread pan with coconut oil.

Mix all dry ingredients in one bowl. Whisk together wet ingredients in another bowl. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and fold until combined. Stir in the chocolate chunks and walnuts (or whatever other add-ins you prefer).

Pour the mixture into the pan and smooth out with a spatula. Bake for 30 minutes, or until an inserted toothpick or fork comes out clean. Remove from oven and let the bread sit in the pan for 10 minutes before removing to cool on a cooling rack.

Proceed to gobble the entire loaf (among friends…) in two days and don’t feel sorry.

Rehab-Worthy Chocoholic Pie

I just had to make this after a friend posted a healthy chocolate mousse recipe on my wall the other day. I just kept dreaming of how perfect a pie it would make.

And then it suddenly struck that I had made an entire pie for no apparent reason.

Uh. Oh.

Good thing I have a larger-than-life boyfriend for a roommate. And a gym nearby.

In reality, though, this pie ain’t so bad for ya. The chocolate comes from raw cacao (in both powder and nib form), a certified superfood rich in antioxidants, and minerals like magnesium and iron (!). So for all those flexitarians worried about their iron consumption (myself included), a chocolate pie just may be included as a part of a balanced diet. (Take that, Hal Johnson and Joanne McLeod!) The fats in this recipe are from diversified and healthy sources—almonds, cashews, and the secret thickening ingredient, my beloved avocado (fun fact: I considered, for some time, naming this blog “Avocado Desperado.” In the end, it sounded too desperate.). And does it have refined sugar? Nope! Just got a few dates—kind of like my boyfriend’s favorite pick-up line. And no, I don’t have any raisins, either.

I realize now that I seem to have developed a penchant for posting snacks and desserts, particularly those involving chocolate. I swear, I do eat real food for most of the time. The cocoa-drenched aspects of my diet are just that much more interesting.

Like this.

No-Bake Chocolate Mousse Pie (raw, vegan, no refined/added sugar, gluten-free, soy-free)

For the crust… (nut/date/coconut template from CCK)

Ingredients:

1/2 cup raw almonds, soaked and rinsed (enhances digestability)

1/2 cup pitted dates, soaked and rinsed (makes them softer)

1/2 cup shredded unsweetened coconut

pinch of salt

Directions:

Process all ingredients in food processor—mixture should form clumps and stick together. Transfer into pie tin, press down with fingertips and refrigerate while you work on the delicious, chocolatey filling…

For the double chocolate filling (adapted from Dr. Oz)

Ingredients:

12 dates, soaked and rinsed

1 avocado, pitted

1/2 cup cashews, soaked and rinsed

1/2 cup raw cacao powder

3-4 tbsp filtered water

1/3 cup cacao nibs + additional for topping

Directions:

Process all ingredients up to cacao powder in food processor or high-speed blender and process until smooth, adding in water through the mouth as needed. Stir in cacao nibs. Pour mixture into pie crust and spread flat, sprinkling with cacao nibs if desired. Return to fridge to firm up for at least two hours.

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Hope you enjoy this extreme chocolate recipe, and also that you have been liking the new blog overhaul so far! Please feel free to comment with any questions, suggestions or general comments—I do value each individual piece of feedback! I’ve got a few more goodies on the go—have a happy holiday weekend (you Canadians!), and see you soon after! xx