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Use This Surprising Ingredient Instead of Butter and Oil for a Rich (and Healthier) Chocolate Cake

Many chocolate fans feel guilty about snacking on their favorite sweet treat. Chocolate isn’t inherently bad for you, of course. After all, no one can deny its mood-boosting powers after taking just one bite. Like anything else, though, you just have to make sure you don’t overdo it. And for those looking to add some nutritional benefits to the dessert, there’s a surprising ingredient that can easily be included into the mix: eggplant.

Ian Knauer, the former editor of Gourmet magazine and founder of The Farm Cooking School, revealed this surprising secret to making a decadent, gooey chocolate cake while speaking with Food52. He explained that the idea came about when his wife arrived home with a whopping 80 pounds of eggplant gathered from their farm. As he brainstormed how to make sure not a single ounce went to waste, he remembered how applesauce is commonly used in chocolate cakes to make them extra moist and more fudge-like. Knauer steamed one of the eggplants (about a pound’s worth) and used it to replace the butter and oil normally found in more traditional cakes.

Knauer uses eggs, honey, flour, and baking powder along with the dark chocolate pieces for his own recipe. Those who follow a vegan diet also caught onto an eggplant’s ability to make their cakes super luxurious without needing eggs or dairy. The folks at Fresh Planet Flavor have a similar recipe to Knauer’s, except they combine the eggplant with a banana.

The addition of an eggplant might seem silly or bizarre, but it definitely has fewer calories than the butter or oil you would normally use. According to the USDA, they’re also filled with plenty of fiber and nutrients like magnesium, calcium, and a hefty amount of potassium. Sounds like we’ve found the holy grail of desserts: absolutely guilt-free chocolate.

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