Healthy Chocolate Ganache Cake (with fresh berries)

Over the last few years we used to custom order our children’s birthday Cake at Whole Foods bakery. Not because I dont bake, but simply because with 3 little kids time was precious and some things I just had to outsource.
We had some great experiences with Brazilian cake decorator there, who created some pretty amazing cakes with custom ingredients (2/3 less sugar, fresh berries for filling, no canola oil)and outstanding designs. But he moved and we did not had much success with getting what we wanted after that. Plus we would be able to put loads of berries ( our kids main requirement for a successful cake!) and have total control over our ingredients for a fraction of price.
So as our big girl’s 7th birthday was approaching we decided to create healthy chocolate ganache cake with fresh berries, according to her request. And it was total success — we even did not have left-overs!
So here is this super simple recipe we are happy to share with you.
  • 1 cup sunflower seed oil, plus a little extra to oil the pans
  • 2/3 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 2 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  • 4 teaspoons distilled white vinegar
  • 4 cups unbleached all purpose flour
  • 1 cup brown rice flour
  • 1 cup whole wheat pastry flour

(Or if you would rather go with just one flour, I would suggest just 6 cups unbleached all purpose flour)

  • 2 cups brown sugar ( we actually used less, just 1 cup)
  • 4 cups of water
  • 1.5 cups unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 4 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 3 cups bittersweet or semisweet chocolate chips
  • 2 cups organic full-fat sour cream (don’t use low fat, it would not have the texture needed!)

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Oil  your cake pans.

In a large bowl, whisk together 4 cups water, oil, applesauce and vanilla. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, cocoa and salt. Add flour mixture to oil mixture, whisking just until combined.  React soda with vinegar over the mixture (make soda foam as you add vinegar to it — kids would love to help with that!   Mix batter really well and pour evenly into the prepared pans.  Bake until cakes just bounce back when touched in the center and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out cleans, about 40 minutes. Set aside to let cool completely.

Melt chocolate in a small saucepan over medium-low heat, stirring frequently, until just smooth, 2 to 3 minutes. I usually put small saucepan in a large pot with boiling water for a few minutes.  When completely melted , add sour cream and stir really quickly to fully combine it.

Loosen edges of each cake with a knife. Place 1 cake layer (bottom side up) on a large plate. Top with half of the frosting and combination of fresh berries. Then put another layer and frosting, carefully covering the sides as well. Now decorate generously with fresh berries of your choice. We used raspberries and blackberries.  Let sit for at least 1 hour to allow frosting to set and then you can serve it or put it in the fridge. We loved it after about 30 minutes in a fridge.