Chocolate Chip Coffee Cake

Cookie, Cake, Bar, or Brownie?
These treats are having an identity crisis. The batter is thick and can be baked in the shape of cookies, cake, or bars. The result is dense and flavorful and holds together firmly no matter the baked shape which makes it perfect for finger food. The batter is dark because of the buckwheat flour and brown sugar and it is filled with ‘never too many’ mini-chocolate chips.

My original plan was to create a dessert or snack cake that could also be an occasional breakfast treat; special in a donut-kind-of-way, but much healthier. That is why I call it ‘Chocolate Chip Coffee Cake’. It can be enjoyed any way that you prefer to present it.

Using doTerra Essential Oils in the Kitchen: I have been experimenting with these since last year. They are so versatile; especially the spice and herbal ones. In this recipe I was trying to mask the back note of quinoa flour with ground cinnamon. The bottle of Cinnamon Bark oil sitting on the counter triggered one of those ‘what if’ moments that turned out to be a huge success. Oddly enough I don’t taste cinnamon at all – maybe you will. Multiple taste testers have raved about ‘the brownies’ but as you read the ingredient list the only chocolate is the chocolate chips. Marvelous, mysterious, and wonderful; I just had to share it!

The Technique: Truthfully, there are many more steps here than I usually tolerate. When a recipe has several things going on (as this one does) I divide it into tasks that may be completed separately, in different time slots that can occur on possibly different days depending on other obligations. My final round of testing was completed as five tasks.
1) Prepare the egg substitute/binder with flax, chia, and water. Assemble it in a small jar or bowl that can be covered and put it in the refrigerator. Allow it to come to room temperature before using it!
2) Measure and mix together the dry ingredients in your mixing bowl. I cover this with a clean cotton dish towel that I reserve for baking. I have several old soft towels that I reserve just for this purpose. They are also used to lightly cover baked goods while they are on the cooling rack.
3) Prepare your baking pan by lining it with parchment paper! No icky sprays or greasing and flouring the pan – this gives you handles to more easily remove your cake from the pan to cut, wrap, and freeze or as squares to arrange on a serving plate. .
4) Prepare the liquid ingredients, mix with the dry ingredients, and bake. Coconut oil is interesting in the way it can morph from liquid to solid at a temperature that is comfortable for humans. This recipe calls for the it to be liquid for ease of mixing – the density of the batter can be adjusted with water but you do not want to wrestle with cold coconut oil.
5) This batter definitely needs some resting time. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and chill the dough until the next day. Or you can leave it at room temperature for 4-6 hours. Buckwheat flour changes texture when it is given time to absorb the liquid ingredients and rehydrate those little ground up seeds – so do not neglect this step!

List of Ingredients:
Binder/egg replacer:
1 tablespoon flax seed
1 teaspoon chia seed
6 tablespoons warm water

Dry Ingredients:
1 cup (120g) organic, certified GF buckwheat flour
1 cup (112g) organic, certified GF quinoa flour
1/2 cup (60g) certified GF tapioca starch
1 teaspoon xanthan gum
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon fruit pectin powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Wet Ingredients:
3/4 cup softened coconut oil
1 1/2 cups (288g) organic coconut palm sugar, powdered
(or substitute an equivalent amount of organic light brown sugar)
2 tablespoon pure vanilla
2 drops of doTerra cinnamon bark oil
1 tablespoon agave syrup
1/2 cup water

Chocolate Chips:
1 10-oz bag Enjoy Life dark mini-chocolate chips

The Leavening Agent:
4-6 tablespoons water, as needed
1 teaspoon baking soda

Task #1 – Grinding:
Grind the flax seed and chia seed together in a coffee grinder that is dedicated to baking tasks. Mix the powder with the 6 tablespoons of warm water in a cup and set aside for at least an hour. You can actually do this ahead of time and keep it in the fridge until you are ready to use your eggy binder substitute. Remove from the fridge and take it to room temperature before using – coconut oil solidifies rather easily so you do not want to add this mixture when cold.

Powder your coconut palm sugar in the coffee grinder so that it dissolves easily. Otherwise it is rather coarse-grained and reluctant to cooperate with the other ingredients. The coffee grinder does not have to be cleaned from the flax and chia but do clean it after powdering the sugar. Coconut palm sugar is used in Task #4.

Task #2
Whisk together the flours, tapioca starch, xanthan gum, sea salt, fruit pectin, and ground cinnamon in a bowl large enough to contain the dry ingredients. These flours do not need to be sifted. ALSO: the baking soda does not come in here.

Task #3:
Prepare your cake or brownie baking pan by placing two strips of parchment paper crosswise to line the pan. The edges on the side of the pan will give you a handhold to easily remove the baked goods from the pan. If you are baking this as cookies just line the baking sheet with one piece of parchment.

Baking Pan Lined with Parchment

Line the Pan Crossways with Parchment

Task #4:
In your large mixing bowl, beat the liquid coconut oil, coconut palm sugar (or brown sugar), vanilla, doTerra cinnamon bark oil (careful, this is potent), and agave until combined. Add in the prepared egg replacer and continue beating. Add the 1/2 cup water.

Add the liquid ingredients to the dry ingredients a little bit at a time and mix with a sturdy spoon to combine; Stir hard until a thick dough forms.

Add in the chocolate chips by hand, stirring even harder. If it is too difficult then add several spoonfuls of water until the batter is of spreadable consistency.  Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and chill the dough until the next day. Or you can leave it at room temperature for 4-6 hours. Buckwheat flour completely changes texture when it is given time to absorb liquid ingredients and rehydrate those little ground up seeds!

Add the Chocolate Chips

Stir in the Chocolate Chips

Task #5 – Ready, Set, BAKE:
Be sure the dough is at room temperature. If necessary, remove the dough from the fridge and allow it to stabilize at room temperature. Preheat the oven to 350*F.

Mix 4 tablespoons of water with the baking soda. Stir quickly into the batter. Add 2 more tablespoons of water if needed to make spreadable dough – yes, it is dough, and NOT batter. Because this is a vegan recipe an ‘oops’ of extra liquid can be handled with more baking time. Dump the dough into the prepared pan and work it out to the corners, patting it evenly into the pan with a spatula. Dip the spatula in water if the dough is too thick and sticky.

Really Thick Batter

This Batter Is Really Thick – Like Dough

Bake in the center of the oven for 20 to 25 minutes, until the cake tests done by touch or you can test it with a very thin knife. Turn off the oven and leave the cake alone for 10 more minutes using residual heat to complete the baking process. Place the pan on a cooling rack or cutting board to cool. As soon as the pan is cool enough to your touch, use the edges of the parchment to remove the cake/brownie from the pan. Once out of the pan it cools faster plus you have more control over cutting. It is much easier to cut this when it is completely cooled because of the melted chocolate chips. You may even want to put it briefly in the refrigerator or freezer if you are short on time.

Beautifully Baked

Out of the Oven – Beautifully Baked

If baking cookies you can see the edges turning brown so just touch the cookies to see if you want them baked longer. They are not temperamental; if not cooked enough just put them back in the oven to bake a little longer.

This recipe makes about 20-24 2”X2”pieces of cake. It is very rich, chocolate filled, and satisfying. With just two of us at home I usually wrap pieces in squares of wax paper and freeze most of it unless baking for a social event. Of course we have to leave out a few pieces for quality control! 🙂


Wrapped in Squares of Wax  Paper

Packaged in Squares of Wax Paper

Gretchen @gfedge
Rita @greendesignlife
Teresa @TravelingRD

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