When I first married my Foreign Kiwi Husband (wow, almost 9 years ago), I knew I would be taking on some new Holidays traditions. As well as sharing my own! For instance, when we have Christmas in New Zealand, it is Summer. There is a Christmas BBQ with plenty of bloody Mary’s, Ginger beer, Pavlova (which is naturally gluten free, yay!), zesty salads, lamb, and all kinds of fruity chocolate Christmas Cake that taste like candy, or lollies (the Kiwi name for candy). It’s awesome! Growing up in Texas, the only Christmas cake I knew of was in the form of Chocolate Bundt Cake, or Oreo pie …cake? Ya, those were all new to the kiwi too. None of these cakes were paleo, or vegan, or even some what “healthy.” That is until I (I mean we) created our own traditions. A melting pot of traditions you might say. Ya, that’s our Crazy Cotter Household.
I know what you are thinking… “Um, Lindsay, how is an Italian Style Chocolate Christmas Cake a new Holiday tradition?” I’m not Italian. The Kiwi is obviously not Italian. But here’s the thing, our tradition is about trying NEW things and recipes. So whenever anyone shares a new Holiday Baking recipe with me, cake or pie, I make it (with a gluten free healthy twist). Some have TOTALLY bombed. Um, like trying to make a paleo pumpkin bundt cake (ugh, don’t even ask about that), but the majority have been AWESOME!
For example, the past two years I’ve had a dear Italian friend, who’s like a mom to me, share her family recipes with me. She often asks me how to we can make these recipes with better ingredients or gluten free. Hence the grain free Italian Almond Cake last year. I’ve also gone through our family cookbook to find new recipes. Remember that hot fruit bake? Yes, that one is EPIC and I made that last year for us too! But paleo and vegan friendly. You see where I’m going with this, right? It’s a new Tradition with NEW a Christmas Cake or Holiday Bake. Ohhh I rhymed!
As you can see, this year is no different. I am “revamping” a fruit cake. But not your grandma’s fruit cake or christmas cake. Nope, it’s PANFORTE, a dark CHOCOLATE Christmas Cake! The name alone is just way sexier, right? A festive Italian fruit cake with a toffee/candy like texture, rich dark chocolate, nuts, and fruit. You can play around with different types of fruit and nuts as long as you keep the measurements the same. For instance, instead of hazelnuts, I used macadamia nuts and almonds. I also used dried cherries and figs. OH MY!
The key to making this Chocolate Christmas Cake (Panforte) healthier is simply by using different sweeteners and fats.. My secret? Coconut oil, maple syrup, and dark chocolate baby! Cacao/Cocoa powder to top and mixed right in!
You can also sprinkle with powdered sugar or use a sugar free powdered sugar. I mentioned how to make sugar free powdered sugar in this cookie recipe, but there is also a sugar free confectioner sugar available.
We all have own version of healthy, but healthier to means using REAL ingredients that are not processed (if possible).
Thanks to Better Body Foods for letting me use their awesomely organic Coconut oil , vanilla extra, Cacao powder, and Coconut sugar to make this chocolate Christmas cake. The recipe came together perfectly and in no time! What wonderful REAL food ingredients! Check them out for yourself below. Oh and I should note, I find most pf these products at my local grocer (HEB) or at Walmart. Yup, SCORE!
Better Body Foods KEY ingredients for a Paleo and Vegan Chocolate Christmas Cake!:
Coconut Oil (their liquid or Extra Virgin both work in this recipe)
Now all you have left to do is slice it up and serve it up! I
I’m bringing this to our Christmas Eve Party but it also makes for a cute gift idea. You know how I love those easy DIY gifts. Just put in a tin box, put a bow on it, then BAM. GIFT IS DONE! At least that’s how I think. Haha!
If you cut these into thin slices or little block/squares it makes more that 15. The pictures below are thick slices that would serve 3 each.
Nutrition based on 18-20 servings.
What’s your favorite type of Christmas Cake? What Holiday traditions to you make.
I’m nosy! Plus I’d love more recipes to try out next year.
Fun times ya’ll, fun times.
I haven’t done any other Christmas shopping. DO you think my nieces and nephews will accept just cake or trail mix? LOL! Worst aunt ever. I know. Online shopping here I come!
This Italian Style Chocolate Christmas Cake recipe is sponsored by my friends over at Better Body Foods! Thank you for allowing me to share their wonderful products and talk about this caring company.