I am not one to pretend I'm starting off the New Year by proclaiming I am giving up sweets. I love them. I come from a long line of sweet women whose creative culinary talents fully utilized the traditional staples of flour, butter and sugar with amazing results. My contribution to the next generation is how to get your sweet fix by using wholesome plant based ingredients and to enjoy them in moderation. Go ahead, eat this for breakfast and enjoy every bite.
This celebratory recipe (think: Valentine's Day) is a bit more time consuming and involved than my usual recipes but it is worth every minute. Please don't let that scare you! It's really 3 recipes in one. (YES! Bonus!) This recipe is loosely adapted from a recipe by Emily Von Euw, a rockstar in the raw culinary world.
Equipment: food processor, blender and 10" springform pan Yield: makes one 10" cake with about 12-14 servings
Raw Cacao Crust 2 cups raw pecans, soaked overnight in pure water for 4 hours then drained and rinsed and patted dry 2 cups pitted dates 4 tablespoons raw cacao powder 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon big pinch of fine Himalayan or sea salt
Line the bottom of a 10" springform pan with a circle of parchment. Place the dry pecans in a food processor and pulse a few times to form a fine meal. Add the remaining ingredients and process until incorporated and so the ingredients will stick together and form a ball. Press the crust into the bottom of the pan. Set it in the fridge while you make the caramel and the cream.
Coffee Caramel Sauce 1 cup brewed espresso or other strong coffee (I use decaf and my son says, "Decaf espresso, Mom? What's the point?" The point is the flavor, young Padawan learner, not the buzz. I invite you to decide!) 1/2 cup pitted dates 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon fine salt (see types above) 1 tablespoon almond or cashew butter
Soak the dates in the coffee for at least 30 minutes. Drain the coffee into a cup an reserve. Measure out 1/3 cup of coffee and place in blender with remaining caramel ingredients and blend into a smooth liquid. You can add more coffee or pure water one tablespoon at a time to thin the caramel or add more nut butter or dates to thicken it. Set the caramel aside. Don't bother washing your blender and get ready for the filling of your dreams.
Coffee Dream Filling 4 cups raw cashews, soaked in pure water for at least 4 hours then drained and rinsed 4 tablespoons coconut oil, melted 1/3 cup (or more) of reserved coffee-date soaking liquid 2 tablespoons (or more) pure maple syrup 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract big pinch of salt (see types above)
You may have to do the cream in 2 batches depending on the size of your blender so to be on the safe side, divide the ingredients in half and place them in the blender and process until very smooth and very creamy, using a spatula to scrape down the side occasionally (turn your blender off first!). Add more coffee or maple syrup or pure water (depending on your tastes) to it to the consistency of thick, but very soft, soft-serve ice cream. Set this batch aside in a separate container and process the second half of the ingredients to the same consistency. Add the two batches together in the blender, again adding whatever liquid you need to make it process and combine. Check the sweetness and the flavor as you go and adjust and blend with more maple syrup or coffee or water.
Assemble the cake by removing the pan of crust from the fridge and spread the cream filling over it, smoothing the top. Place in the fridge or freezer while you make the chocolate sauce.
Basic and Beautiful Raw Cacao Sauce 1/3 cup coconut oil, melted 1/3 cup maple syrup 1/3 cup raw cacao powder, sifted or lumps broken down
Place all ingredients in a small bowl and combine with a spoon or small whisk until super silky smooth. Set aside.
Hang on, you're in the home stretch!
You can either drizzle the caramel and chocolate on while the cake is in the pan or drizzle them on after you spring the collar off and set the cake on a plate. I like to freeze the cake overnight to allow the flavors to mature and then remove it from the pan the next day and then drizzle the 2 sauces (which should be stored in the fridge) on top of it, letting them flow freely down the sides. If you do this, be sure to bring the sauces to room temperature so they will drizzle and flow. Let the cake sit in the fridge the day you are going to serve it and allow it to stand at room temperature at least 20-30 minutes before plating it so you will get the full dreamscape of flavor. This cake will keep about a month in the freezer (pretend it's not there or you will eat it every day until it's gone) and about 4 days in the fridge.
The caramel sauce will keep about 2 weeks in the fridge and the chocolate sauce will keep about a month. Enjoy them on sliced fruit or in smoothies.