I apologise at the outset to the readers who will inevitably ask whether this recipe can be made eggless. The short answer here is no, as eggs are what lend structure to this molten chocolate cake, adding to its smooth richness. It’s unapologetically-rich and devilishly-decadent, yet healthy-ish too!
I wouldn’t go so far as to call it guilt-free, as to be honest “guilt-free” is a label I don’t really abide by. Why should one feel any guilt at all when indulging in any manner of treat, whether healthy or not?
Back to the healthy-ish ingredients. This fondant is gluten-free (using a bit of almond flour instead of all-purpose) and baked without any refined sugar (I’ve used ground coconut sugar which is low on the glycemic index and softly sweet). It’s also dairy-free, swapping butter for Ahuacatlán Avocado Oil.
If you haven’t started cooking or baking with avocado oil yet, it’s time you did. Avocado oil is similar to olive oil and coconut oil in that it has been extracted directly from the fruit (rather than chemically processed from seeds) and has a host of heart-healthy benefits and good fats too. It imparts a buttery richness but unlike olive oil or virgin coconut oil, it doesn’t have a distinctive taste which could overpower the other ingredients. As such, it’s the star ingredient in this swoon-worthy dark chocolate fondant!
While not quite an ingredient, you will also require ramekins (small glazed ceramic, porcelain, or glass dishes designed to withstand high temperatures). If you don’t have any on hand, you could attempt using muffin pan cups (make sure you dust with cocoa powder to prevent the fondants from sticking) – the cakes will just be smaller in size but more in number.
On to the recipe. It renders intensely-rich fondants, which are cakey on the outside but break apart to reveal a gloriously-gooey chocolatey centre. Bon apetit.
Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free Dark Chocolate Fondant (Free of Refined Sugar)
Makes 2 -3 (depending on the size of ramekin)
- 1/2 cup dark chocolate / bittersweet chocolate, chopped (be sure to use good quality chocolate with minimum 70% cocoa solids; I used Callebaut)
- 2 large eggs
- 1/4 cup avocado oil (I used Ahuacatlán Avocado Oil)
- 1/4 cup almond flour (I sourced mine from Zama Organics)
- 1/4 cup coconut sugar, finely ground * (I used organic coconut sugar from Praakritik, grinding it until it got to a very very fine consistency; you can do this by giving it a quick whizz in a mixer/ bullet mixer).
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract (I used Sprig‘s Extract of Natural Bourbon Vanilla)
* You could also experiment with your choice of finely powdered sweetener. Demarara sugar, finely ground, could work just as well.
- Preheat the oven to 200°C and start by greasing 4 small ramekins. Don’t skip this step if you want to turn your fondant out neatly out onto a serving plate after. There is no need to grease if you are using silicone ramekin moulds.
- Start by creating a double boiler. Heat about 2 inches of water in a saucepan. Once simmering, reduce the heat to medium low and add a heat-proof mixing bowl on top (placing it carefully so that the base is not touching the water). Add the chopped chocolate to the bowl and stir/ whisk regularly until it melts. Once melted, remove from heat and set aside to cool.
- Using a hand-held (or stand) mixer, beat the eggs and ground coconut sugar together until the mixture is light and foamy (a few minutes at the very least). Then add in the vanilla extract and avocado oil and beat again.
- Add the cooled melted chocolate and beat on a low speed to mix in. Finally, fold in the flour until just combined – don’t overmix!
- Spoon the batter evenly across the ramekins. Place them on a baking sheet and bake for 8 – 10 minutes (mine are usually done at 8 or 8½ minutes).
- Be sure to remove the ramekins as soon as the edges look firm and the centre tops are set but soft and almost jiggly. If you end up over-baking, these fondants will be devoid of their gooey centre.
- We often end up eating the fondants straight from the ramekins; but if you’re feeling fancy, simply run a knife around the sides, smartly turning out the fondants onto a plate. Serve at once with a scoop of vanilla ice cream or a swoop of crème fraîche. A simple dusting of icing sugar (sifted on top with the help of a sieve) looks just as impressive. Enjoy!
Note; if you have used muffin pan cups, release the fondants with the help of a spoon, inverting each (placing upside down) on plates.
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