MEXICAN HOT CHOCOLATE CAKE with Cacao Nibs and Nuts
Warm and stimulating Mexican hot chocolate, which is typically enhanced with ground cinnamon and chiles, provided the inspiration for this gluten-free cake. Chia gel helps bind the batter of this dark-chocolate confection, which is topped with chopped nuts and cacao nibs. Serve with a scoop of your favorite vegan ice cream on the side.
¼ cup warm water
1½ teaspoons chia seeds
3 cups almond flour
6 tablespoons cacao powder or unsweetened cocoa powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
¾ teaspoon cayenne or chipotle chile powder
½ teaspoon sea salt
½ cup agave nectar or maple syrup
6 tablespoons canola or other oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1⁄3 cup coarsely chopped nuts (such as almonds, Brazil nuts, hazelnuts, pecans, or walnuts)
¼ cup cacao nibs
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly oil a 9-inch square baking pan or mist it with cooking spray.
Put the water and chia seeds in a small bowl and whisk vigorously to combine. Let rest for 10 minutes, until the mixture thickens into a gel.
Put the almond flour, cacao powder, baking powder, cinnamon, cayenne, and salt in a large bowl and whisk to combine. Add the chia seed gel,
agave nectar, oil, and vanilla extract and whisk to combine. The batter wil be very thick.
Transfer the batter to the prepared baking pan. Scatter the chopped nuts and cacao nibs over the top and use a spatula to gently press them into the batter. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let cool completely before slicing and serving.