Labor Day Loaf (dairy-free, gluten-free, no refined sugar)

August is coming to a close and soon autumn will start creeping upon us. University has already started in the US and I’ve been watching the new freshmen move into their dorms and my roommates into their houses and it’s been painful. I’m counting down the days until I can busy myself with university work, my new jobs and my sports teams once more! As I look towards Fall, my palate has been gravitating towards cosy flavours and this sweet potato loaf is the epitome of Autumn! Filled with gooey dark chocolate, pecans, lots of cinnamon and nutmeg and maple syrup, it’s a heavenly loaf that warms you through to the bone. I know America is still super warm, but in England the weather is already turning rainy (when is it not) so I ate this while watching the rain fall on a grey Saturday afternoon. If your Labor Day is as grey as today, then this is the perfect cake to bake, best served warm with a maple coffee and book on the side. I guess you could say this loaf is ‘cinn-ful’… get it? Sorry not sorry…

DSC_0147This time last year, I spent my Labor Day on the beaches of Lake Monroe in a bikini with a picnic, slowly tanning (some of us burning) and playing ball in the lake water. This year’s Labor day is going to be a lot more politically charged with the presidential election, but the day off is still a great early break from classes, whilst it’s still fun and games and before papers truly set in. This year, I will be spending my Labor Day on the beaches of Jeju Island in South Korea, as I close my summer break with a holiday to Asia to see family for the first time in a decade for Chuseok, Korean Thanksgiving and I can’t wait!

labor day 3labor dayI actually adapted this recipe from a banana bread recipe by Zanna Van Dijk, because bananas don’t last long in my house and I wanted a base that would work in a similar way to bananas. I knew that pumpkin could be changed out for banana so why not sweet potato? I also didn’t have any sugar in the house so I tried to make it low fat and sweeten it with natural sweeteners instead, and it came out really well! The sweet potato makes it fudgy and gooey when it’s freshly baked, and sets up into a soft, almost mousse like cake, that, mixed with the chopped dark chocolate and the crunchy pecans on top has a really nice balance of flavours and textures. I was really scared this loaf wouldn’t work because I really deviated from the recipe and changed a lot of factors, but it actually turned out great, and didn’t need any tweaking or to make a second batch, which was perfect as this loaf used the last of my eggs! For the dark chocolate I used a lime and sea salt one from Montezuma, and it made an amazing addition to the loaf. If you can find flavoured dark chocolate, it’ll work a treat in this. Anyway, enough chat, here’s the recipe:
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I made it more indulgent with a molten chocolate nut butter core!

Ingredients:
260g mashed sweet potato (can switch for pumpkin)
4 tbsp dairy free yoghurt
4 tbsp maple syrup/honey
2 tsp stevia (optional/to taste)
2 tsp vanilla
1 egg
2 egg whites (or one whole egg)
130g/2 cups oat flour (can be subbed for almond flour)
1 tbsp cinnamon
1 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp mixed spice
1 tsp baking powder
100g 70% dark chocolate, chopped
1 tbsp coconut oil softened/melted
pinch salt
(Optional: nut butter mixed with cocoa for a molten centre, I used Jim Jams 83% less sugar Hazelnut Spread)

Directions:
Preheat the oven to gas mark 4/180°C/350°F. Grease and line a loaf tin.

In a large bowl, mash the sweet potato well. Add your sweeteners of choice, salt, vanilla, baking powder, spices and softened/liquid coconut oil. Mix in one egg, the yoghurt, and half of the oat flour until combined. Add the rest of the egg and flour, then fold in the chopped chocolate.

Spoon into the greased tin and smooth out. The batter won’t rise very much so get it as smooth as you can. Top with pecans and walnuts. To make more indulgent, add in a core of nut butter by filling the tin with half the mix, spooning the nut butter along the centre, then covering with the rest of the batter.

Bake for 40-50 mins or until a skewer comes out clean. If a few crumbs come out on the skewer but no batter, give an extra 5 minutes so that the loaf sets up better as it is on the moist side.

Turn out of the pan, slice, and serve warm with more nut butter, chocolate syrup (I use Sweet Freedom’s Choc shot) or yoghurt on the side.

DSC_0162DSC_0154If you’re craving autumn flavours, you’ll love this warming loaf! Let me know if you make it and how you’re sitting down to eat it: is it cold outside? do you just love cinnamon like me? do you miss America as dearly as I do?

Until next time,

Love Sian xxx

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