Aubergines. What do you mean, "aubergines?!?!?"

First of all, an apology: I’ve been loafing around on foreign beaches for a few weeks and have consequently been a little lax in updating the blog. Thank you, however, to those of you who have emailed – in your thousands! – expressing concern for the silence and frustration at the lack of epicurean bons mots to help you through the humdrum existence of your lives.

Panic over. I am back!

And what better way to celebrate than with a cake? Chocolate, of course. So without further ado, and while Mrs Drooling struggles to load four suitcases of lightly soiled clothes into the dishwasher, to the kitchen!

Unfortunately post-holiday supplies have not been replenished, and there is no butter in the fridge. And no sugar in the cupboard. Could cause a few problems if we are to rustle up a decent cake.

In all times of crisis you could do worse than look in the garden for inspiration, so (rather than go to the corner shop) I pop down to the vegetable patch. And there we stumble upon the perfect solution. How could I have been so stupid! Of course! We don’t need sugar or butter to bake a cake. The greenhouse is full of aubergines!


(And for US readers, yup, aubergines really are eggplants, and not some weird limey name for butter-and-sugar trees).

I realise that at this stage you might be thinking that all that French sun has affected Drooling in more ways than just the deep mahogany tan, but bear with me here.

Before we set off I bought a rather odd cookbook, Red Velvet and Chocolate Heartache, after reading a review in The Guardian. The basic premise is you can bake most sweet things by replacing the butter, and to some extent the sugar, with vegetables. The natural sugars and other stuff in the veggies will do the same job, but will be much better for you: think carrot cake.

I should say at this point that the book is written in eye-wateringly winsome prose, but a few recipes in and I can confirm that the principles are sound. The above cake was kncoked up using aubergines and honey instead of lardy butter and sugar. And it tasted delicious!

The cake comes out of the over looking remarkably glossy – not the dull  matt brown of your average sponge – and it’s very moist. Harry Eastwood notes that there’s no point in sticking a skewer in your cake to check if it’s done, as the vegetable intrusion means you get a moist end product, and she’s not wrong.

But this doesn’t give you a soggy, leaden lump. Instead you’re left with something more like the lovechild of a Victoria sponge and a Chocolate Mousse. Hard to resist, huh?

Anyway, without further ado here’s the recipe:

Chocolate Heartache Cake


400g aubergines

300 dark chocolate

50g cocoa powder

60g ground almonds

3 eggs

200g runny honey

2tsp baking pwoder

1/2 tsp salt

Cook the aubgerines in a covered bowl in the microwave for 8 mins. Drain and skin them and puree the squishy stuff. Add the chocolate to the warm aubergine and drool while it melts. Whisk everything else up in a different bowl. Add the chocolate-and-aubergine mixture to this and mix well.

Pour it all into a 23cm diameter cake tin (ideally loose-bottomed) and bake in the oven (180c / 350f / gas mark 4) for 30 minutes. Let it cool in the tin for 15 mins and then stick it on a cake rack. Eat.

On the ipod while cooking: Nothing. It broke while on holiday. Boo hoo.