Flourfree chocolate torte with lemon vanilla chai icing, swirled with dark chai ginger caramel

No flour, no baking, no gluten, simple, but rich and flavourful, the cake part of this torte is lovely all by itself. This makes 4 larger portions or up to 8 small slices.


For the cake
1/2 cup whole grain, brown teff
2 cups water
50g bittersweet chocolate (I use an organic, fairly traded bar)
1/4 cup coconut sugar
A pinch coarse sea salt

For the icing
1T plant-only shortening
1T plant-only margarine
6T powdered sugar (I use an organic brand) (1) (2)
1t lemon juice
1 chai tea bag and 1T reduced tea (explained in the directions)
1/4 cup boiling water

For the caramel
1T reduced chai tea (as noted)
1T coconut sugar (2)
1/2t plant only margarine
1T unsweetened soy milk
1/4t fresh ginger, minced


First make the cake part of the torte, then the icing and caramel.

In a small sauce pan with a lid, toast the teff for 2 – 3 minutes. Add the water and bring to a simmer. Cover, reduce heat to low, and simmer 20 – 25 minutes or until the teff is thick, the water has been absorbed and the teff pulls away from the sides when stirred. Stir periodically until the last 5 minutes or so, and then stir frequently to avoid sticking.

When the teff is ready, add the coconut sugar and sea salt and stir to combine. Simmer on the lowest possible heat for 3 minutes, stirring continuously. Add the chocolate and stir continuously until melted.

If you haven’t worked with chocolate much, this is the most delicate step in the recipe. Don’t add water, don’t change the temperature or do anything that may cause the chocolate to seize. Just keep stirring. When the chocolate has melted, pour the resulting batter into a 3″x9″ loaf pan. Refrigerate 20 minutes uncovered. Cover loosely and let cool 1 hour to setup.

When the cake has setup, make the icing and the caramel. Bring 1/4 cup water to boil, and steep the tea for 5 minutes. The tea makes a big difference to the taste. Use a tea with good, strong flavours that you like. Start the icing while the tea steeps. Add the margarine and shortening to a bowl to warm up a a little.

When the tea has steeped,remove the bag and give it a good squeeze. in a small sauce pan, reduce the tea by about half. Pour 1T or so of the tea into a small cup to cool. Add the coconut sugar, margarine, ginger and soy milk to the tea left in the pan. On medium heat, bring to a simmer and reduce to about 1 1/2 – 2T caramelized syrup over medium low heat.

The mixture will bubble and take on a noticeable shine as it caramelizes. Reduce heat to low once the process starts and stir constantly to avoid scorching the caramel. Once you have a dark,melted caramel texture, remove from heat let cool while you make the icing.

Whip the margarine and shortening until smooth (I use a fork). Add the icing sugar, and whip. Add the 1T cold tea you set aside from the caramel and lemon juice, and whip. Keep whipping until smooth peaks form in the icing (this should only take a couple of minutes). Add more powdered sugar 1t at a time if it’s too thin.

Turn out the cake carefully, ice the top, and drizzle with the caramel in a lattice if you like, or drip caramel onto the icing and swirl. Let stand for a few minutes to settle. Eat immediately for the richest flavour or refrigerate, very loosely covered.

  1. Some white sugars are still bleached with animal bone charcoal. Organic sugars typically are not.

  2. I find this type of icing very sweet. If you want to reduce cane sugar, you can replace the icing here with my walnut date fudge frosting or something similar. Since it’s a single layer torte, the frosting should be fine, but it won’t have the magical staying power that saturated fat, sugar and corn starch do. You can also replace the caramel with my chai date caramel recipe (although you’ll have leftovers).

For the fudge
3T warm water
1/4 cup dried,soft dates, pitted and chopped
1/4 cup chopped walnuts
1t lemon juice
1/2t vanilla extract
1/4t coarse sea salt

Soak the dates and walnuts in the warm water for 5 minutes. Add the remaining ingredients except for the seal salt. Blend until smooth and creamy. Add 1T warm water if too thick, or an extra date and some walnuts if too thin. Add the sea salt and let stand 10 minutes to setup.

For the data caramel
1/4 cup boiling water
1 chai tea bag
1/4 cup dried, soft dates, pitted and chopped
1/4t fresh ginger

Steep the tea as above and the dates and ginger in the warm water. Remove the bag. Blend the chai with the dates until smooth. Add 1t frosting. Stir to combine and refrigerate for 5-10 minutes to thicken.

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