Sugar can go, lectins can go, dairy can go, gluten can go, but brownies… brownies can not go.
Brownies are essential to life; the idea of engulfing a brownie at the end of the day is enough to get me through a day’s work.
Brownies = Life.
Before we dive into this decadent, chocolate dessert, I’d like to share a few words on grains and use of sorghum in this recipe:
As stated in the About Us, most of our recipes are grain free, because most grains contain lectins, which wreak havoc upon our colon, small intestines, nervous system, and therefore, our brains. Nasty stuff, right?
Lectins do their work by cutting their way through the protective barrier of our gut wall, creating open wounds in place of healthy barriers, thus letting in stomach acid and more lectins, which are supposed to stay inside of our GI track, not inside of our bodies (that difference is very important).
From there, lectins attach onto healthy cells, preventing them from receiving the fuel they need from fats, protein, and other nutrients, as well as creating brain fog by intercepting signals sent from our gut bacteria with intentions of reaching our brains.
How does this happen? Once lectins enter our bodies – i.e. once they exit our gut via aggressive tactics – they latch onto our nervous system and dictate which messages our brain will receive. When our gut wants to send a signal to our brain to stop eating, for example, the lectins intercept that signal and tell it to fuck off, leaving you foggy headed and hungry for more lectin-containing foods.
I tell you this to explain what most grains to your body. However, there are certain grains that don’t contain any lectins. Naturally, these include sorghum and millet, but by removing the hull of brown rice, we end up with white rice: a product that is also free from lectins, albeit from human intervention. Thus, my friends, is why some recipes, such as this one, still include grains in them.
The grain we used for this recipe is sorghum, particularly sorghum flour, which is light, fluffy, and dry in texture, similar in consistency to a blend of cake flour and fine cornmeal. Sorghum creates a more desirable texture for brownies than cassava flour – a grain-free alternative made from dried yucca root – which leaves baked goods gummy and chewy, in my experience.
This brownie’s trick-up-its-sleeve is mashed sweet potato, which binds together the batter and creates a moist, fudgy texture. Other important additives include liquid stevia extract, which provides sweetness, and pure vanilla extract, which is chocolate’s right hand man.
As for frosting, we went with simple, vanilla whipped coconut cream. It’s cold, fluffy, and creamy nature is the perfect balancing act for these rich brownies. The night before you plan to make your frosting, simply put a can of coconut milk in the fridge, as well the bowl and beaters you plan to use to make your whipped cream because keeping the fats inside the coconut cream solid – that’s below 70° F – is crucial for this to be executed properly.
If you don’t keep your coconut cold, the result may look a little like our photos (oops!), which were taken thirty minutes after we removed the coconut cream from the fridge, leaving us with a decently runny mess… don’t be discouraged though, because as long as you frost your cake right after you whip up your frosting, you will have a product that is light, fluffy, sweet, creamy, and down right delicious!
It’s important to note that some brands of coconut cream whip up better than others; in recent months, Trader Joe’s changed their coconut cream formula, which doesn’t whip up well for this application, as reported by other bloggers, as well as my own trials. Online, I’ve seen people report good results with Thai Kitchen Full Fat Coconut Milk and 365 Full Fat Coconut Milk, which whip up nicely after the cream layer is removed after a night of chilling out. My recent go-to, however, is Let’s Do Organic… Heavy Coconut Cream, because the entirety of the product can be used (no solid cream layer has to be removed from a watery layer), and it whips up smooth and homogenous.
This brownie layered cake is fudge-y, lightly chewy, chocolate-y, indulgent, sweet, lectin-free, and – as always – vegan.
Like what your taste buds are tellin’ ya? Leave behind a nice rating, share your thoughts with us in the comments, or show us your creations by tagging @noeggsorham on Instagram.
If there’s a dish you’ve always wanted to see veganized, submit it here, and we’ll head to the lab, break out the test tubes, and whip out our culinary gadgets, so that in a couple of weeks there’ll be a recipe dedicated all to you!
All the best,
Ryan & Kim
Sugar Free Brownie Cake!
Decadent, fudgy brownies crafted from sweet potatoes, topped with vanilla coconut whipped cream and crushed nuts.
- 1/2 c sorghum flour
- 1/4 c + 2 tbsp cocoa powder
- 1/4 c arrowroot starch
- 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
- Heaping 1/4 tsp salt
- 1 c mashed sweet potato, peel removed (about 1 medium sweet potato)
- 3/4 c water (plus more for sweet potato)
- 1/4 c melted virgin coconut oil
- 1 1/2 flax eggs
- 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 1/4 tsp liquid stevia extract
Coconut Whipped Cream:
- 1 c coconut cream, chilled overnight
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/4 tsp liquid stevia extract
- 2 tbsp raw nuts, crushed (we used hazelnuts & almonds)
- The night before assembling your cake, place coconut cream, whisking beaters, and a medium sized bowl in the fridge.
- Peel and finely cube sweet potato. Transfer to a medium pot along with 1/2 cup of water and a lil’ pinch of salt. Set over high heat, place on a lid, and steam until fork tender – 10-15 minutes – adding another 1/4 cup of water if the rest of it evaporates.
- Pre-heat oven to 325° F.
- Coat a round, standard-sized, cake pan with melted coconut oil – about 1/2 tablespoon – and line bottom of pan with a parchment round (picture tutorial in post).
- In a medium bowl, whisk together sorghum flour, arrowroot starch, cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt. In a separate, larger bowl, whisk together flax egg, melted coconut oil, stevia, and vanilla until the coconut oil and flaxseed are homogenous. Add in water and mix until smooth.
- In a small bowl, mash sweet potato with a fork or potato masher. Measure out 1 cup and mix with wet ingredients until combined. Small chunks of sweet potato remaining are okay.
- Pour dry ingredients onto wet ingredients and stir until combined. Transfer batter to prepared cake pan and place in oven for 45-50 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean when inserted.
- Cool in pan for 10 minutes then remove to a plate or cooling rack (if you’re cool enough to have one of those – we don’t), and let come to room temperature; at least 1 1/2 hours.
- When your cake is cool, prepare frosting by combining coconut cream, stevia, and vanilla extract in your pre-chilled bowl and beat with an electric hand whisk or stand-up mixer, using chilled beaters, for 3-5 minutes or until stiff peaks are formed. Don’t beat for any longer than you need to, for the coconut cream could heat up and become runny. Place in fridge until ready to use.
- Cut cake into quarters. Place a very small amount of frosting on one quarter, top with another slice, and repeat until you come to the last slice. At which point, top with remaining whipped cream, spread down to the sides of the cake, and toss on crushed nuts. Serve immediately among yourself and three other hungry friends. Store any leftovers in fridge for up to two days.