Maverick Life


Celebration showstopper — try this chocolate and raspberry layer cake from ‘Natural Cakes’ by Giovanna Torrico

Celebration showstopper — try this chocolate and raspberry layer cake from ‘Natural Cakes’ by Giovanna Torrico
‘Natural Cakes’ by Giovanna Torrico. (Photo: Supplied / The Reading List)

Healthy cake? Count us in! ‘Natural Cakes’ is for novice and experienced bakers alike who are looking to move away from artificial food dyes and overprocessed sugars.

With over 70 stunning recipes, Natural Cakes celebrates a healthy diet, even for the sweetest things in life.

Cakes are the utmost symbol of celebration and add sweetness to our lives beyond the sugar used to make them.

Natural food dyes like turmeric and beets can lend supernatural hues to any batter or frosting. Buckwheat and brown rice flour give nuttiness and texture. And sweeteners like coconut sugar and date syrup add depth of flavour.

As author Giovanna Torrico points out, healthy doesn’t need to mean cutting out sugar completely, nor does it need to be lacklustre.


Chocolate and raspberry layer cake

This is the perfect birthday or celebration cake and it is really simple to make. Soft chocolate sponge with avocado chocolate mousse and topped with fresh raspberries: it is a real showstopper cake to impress.

Prep / Cook time

10 min. / 30 min.

Serves: 10



vegetable oil, for greasing

1 cup (160 g) rice flour

½ cup (85 g) cornstarch

²⁄³ cup (90 g) arrowroot

1½ teaspoons baking soda

²⁄³ cup (50 g) raw cacao powder

¼ teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon xanthan gum

1½ cups (250 g) coconut sugar

½ cup (120 ml)

coconut oil

1¼ tablespoons apple cider vinegar

Seeds from 1 vanilla bean


To decorate

1½ recipes Chocolate Mousse (see below)

9 oz. (250 g) raspberries



Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C). Grease and line two 8-inch (20 cm) round cake pans with parchment paper.

In a bowl, sift together all the dry ingredients.

In another bowl, mix the wet ingredients together with two cups (500 ml) water, add to the flour mixture, and stir until combined. Divide the batter between the pans and bake for 30 minutes or until risen and firm to the touch.

Leave to cool in the pans for 5 minutes and then turn onto a wire rack to cool completely.

Sandwich the cakes together with half the Chocolate Mousse and raspberries. Spread the other half of the mousse on top and sides and top with the remaining raspberries.

Cake will keep for 1–2 days in the refrigerator, stored in an airtight container. Allow to come up to room temperature before serving.

Avocado and chocolate mousse

Makes: 12 oz. (340 g)


2 ripe avocados (240 g), peeled and pitted

Pinch of salt

6 Medjool dates, pitted

5 teaspoons coconut sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

¹⁄³ cup (90 ml) almond milk

2 tablespoons coconut oil

²⁄³ cup (60 g) raw cacao powder



Place the avocados, salt, and dates in a food processor or blender and blend until smooth.

Add the sugar with the vanilla, milk, oil, and cacao powder and blend again until completely combined, scraping down the sides occasionally. Taste and add more sugar, if necessary.

Keep in an airtight container in the fridge for three days. DM

Natural Cakes by Giovanna Torrico, is published by Hardie Grant (R475). 

Visit The Reading List for South African book news – including recipes! – daily.


Comments - Please in order to comment.

Please peer review 3 community comments before your comment can be posted


This article is free to read.

Sign up for free or sign in to continue reading.

Unlike our competitors, we don’t force you to pay to read the news but we do need your email address to make your experience better.

Nearly there! Create a password to finish signing up with us:

Please enter your password or get a sign in link if you’ve forgotten

Open Sesame! Thanks for signing up.

A South African Hero: You

There’s a 99.7% chance that this isn’t for you. Only 0.3% of our readers have responded to this call for action.

Those 0.3% of our readers are our hidden heroes, who are fuelling our work and impacting the lives of every South African in doing so. They’re the people who contribute to keep Daily Maverick free for all, including you.

The equation is quite simple: the more members we have, the more reporting and investigations we can do, and the greater the impact on the country.

Be part of that 0.3%. Be a Maverick. Be a Maverick Insider.

Support Daily Maverick→
Payment options

MavericKids vol 3

How can a child learn to read if they don't have a book?

81% of South African children aged 10 can't read for meaning. You can help by pre-ordering a copy of MavericKids.

For every copy sold we will donate a copy to Gift of The Givers for children in need of reading support.