Featured Ingredient: Acai
Harvested from the Amazonian rainforest, the deep purple acai berry is all the rage these days with respect to superfruits. While you should not believe the ridiculous internet claims about its weight loss and detox prowess, acai does have some serious nutritional might.
According to studies, acai has very high antioxidant levels meaning a daily dose can help mop up those disease-provoking free radicals. Very rare for a berry, acai contains some anti-inflammatory omega-3 fatty acids to boot. (But nowhere on the level of stuff like salmon and hemp). Further, a 2010 study in the journal Nutrition reported that supplementing with acai can improve cholesterol numbers.
In health food stores you can now find freeze-dried acai powder such as that from Navitas Naturals. The freeze-drying process does a very good job at preserving the flavor and nutrients of fruits. Speaking of flavor, acai is wonderfully tart with chocolaty and raspberry undertones making it a perfect candidate for adding to chocolate baked goods such as these extremely rich gluten-free chocolate cakes sans flour. You can buy almond meal/flour or make your own by grinding almonds in a food processor or Vita-mix.
Acai Flourless Chocolate Cakes with Acai Whipped Cream
7 ounces high-quality dark or baking chocolate, chopped finely
¾ cup brown sugar
2/3 cup sour cream
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup almond meal/flour
½ cup acai powder
½ cup cocoa powder
½ tsp salt
½ tsp cayenne (optional)
1 cup heavy cream
2 Tbsp acai powder
1 Tbsp powdered sugar
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place chocolate and brown sugar in a metal bowl or pan and place this over a pot of barely simmering water. Heat until chocolate is melted and sugar is incorporated, stirring often. Stir in sour cream and vanilla. In a large bowl, combine almond meal, acai powder, cocoa powder, salt and cayenne. Add the melted chocolate to the bowl and stir to combine. Add the eggs one at a time, stirring between each egg. Spoon the batter into 12 greased muffin cups and bake until firm to the touch, about 22 minutes.
To make the whipped cream, make sure bowl and beaters are cold. Add the acai to the cream and beat until soft peaks form. Add the sugar and continue beating to incorporate it. Serve cakes topped with whipped cream.