Even though Strawberry season is supposed to run until the end of February in New Zealand, there don’t seem to be many strawberries in the stores now so I thought I’d better hurry up and post this raw strawberries & cream ice cream cake recipe! That said, you could easily use frozen strawberries for this recipe or if you’re not really a strawberry fan, I think raspberries would work really well too.
This recipe started out as a raw cheesecake, but as it’s been so hot over the past few weeks we kept eating it while still frozen, and I realised it was actually a pretty amazing strawberry ice cream cake – minus all the dairy, eggs and refined sugar of course! So it’s entirely up to you how you eat this raw dessert cake and what you call it.
It has a base of cashew nuts which need to be soaked for a minimum of 2 hours beforehand (see notes at the bottom for more about soaking nuts), but that’s about the hardest part to this recipe. You will need a food processor to blend the ingredients for the “biscuit” base, which is made largely from almonds, coconut and dates. Ideally you’ll also need a high speed blender for the strawberries & cream filling however, if you have a really good food processor I think you would get a good result with that too. The main thing is ensuring the filling ingredients are blended finely enough so you don’t have chunks of cashews or strawberries throughout.
To decorate this strawberry ice cream cake, I made a raw strawberry sauce by simply blending fresh raw strawberries with a little pure maple syrup (see the note at bottom on how to choose a good maple syrup). If you have lovely sweet strawberries however, by all means leave out the maple syrup! Be generous as you pour this raw strawberry sauce over the cake and let it drizzle down the sides, then top with more freshly sliced strawberries. If it isn’t strawberry season when you’re making this then you could easily decorate it with freeze dried strawberries and edible flowers instead. If you decide to eat this as a frozen dessert, keep in mind once you decorate it you can’t easily freeze it again as the fresh strawberries on top will turn very icy and the freeze dried ones will go soggy. That said, you’re probably not going to need to refreeze it as it’s likely to be eaten well before it reaches the freezer again!
Did you like this recipe post? Any questions or comments about the raw strawberries & cream cheesecake? Leave a message in the comments section below, I love to hear from you!
Raw Strawberries & Cream Ice Cream Cake
Makes: 1 x 8″ cake (or 12 mini cheesecakes)
Prep time: 40 minutes Soaking time: 2-4 hours Chill time: 1 hour
1/2 cup desiccated coconut
1/2 cup raw almonds
pinch pink himalayan salt
6 medjool dates, pitted
1 Tbsp coconut oil, gently melted (see note below)
Vanilla Cream Filling
1 cup cashews, soaked
1/2 cup nut milk or coconut milk
1/4 cup pure maple syrup
1/2 vanilla pod, scraped (or 1/2 tsp vanilla powder)
pinch himalayan pink salt
1/4 cup coconut oil, gently melted (see note below)
1 cup cashews, soaked
2 Tbsp coconut milk
1 1/2 cups fresh strawberries, washed & hulled
3 Tbsp pure maple syrup
pinch himalayan pink salt
1/2 cup coconut oil, melted (see note below)
Start by soaking the cashew nuts. Place 2 cups of raw cashew nuts in a bowl, cover with filtered water and leave to stand for 2-4 hours. Drain off the water and rinse the cashews well.
Line an 8 inch springform tin with either non-stick paper or cling film (or for mini’s a 12 hole standard muffin pan).
To make the base, first gently melt the coconut oil by placing it in a heat proof bowl set over a pan of steaming water with the heat turned off (see note below). You might like to melt all the quantities of coconut oil together at this point and measure them out as required. Place the desiccated coconut, almonds and salt into a food processor and blend until the mixture resembles chunky crumbs. Add the medjool dates (ensuring you have removed the pitts!) and blend until they are well combined. Test the mixture by pressing between your fingers, if it doesn’t stick together add another date. Lastly add the melted coconut oil while the motor is running. Press the mixture into the lined 8″ tin (or if making mini’s, a spoonful of mixture into the bottom of each muffin hole). Place the tin in the fridge to chill.
To make the vanilla cream layer first gently melt your coconut oil if you haven’t already. Place the 1 cup measure of soaked and drained cashews into a high speed blender (e.g. Vitamix/Blendtec) along with the nut or coconut milk, maple syrup, vanilla and sea salt. Blend until smooth, you may need to use your blender stirring stick to ensure it’s evenly blended. This should blend really easily but if you do find it taking a little longer make sure you don’t over heat (i.e.cook!) the mixture as the blender blades can create a lot of heat. If it starts to feel warm place the jug in the fridge for 10 minutes or so. When the mixture is smooth add the melted coconut oil gradually through the top while the blender is running. Pour the vanilla mixture into the 8″ tin (or divide between the muffin holes) and smooth the top. Place back in the fridge to chill while you make the strawberry layer.
To make the strawberry layer, gently melt your coconut oil if you haven’t already. Place the 1 cup measure of soaked and drained cashews into a high speed blender (e.g. Vitamix/Blendtec) along with the strawberries, milk, maple syrup and salt and blend until smooth. You may need to use your blender stirring stick to ensure it’s evenly blended. This should blend really easily but as above, if you do find it taking a little longer make sure you don’t over heat (i.e.cook!) the mixture as the blender blades can create a lot of heat. If it starts to feel warm place the jug in the fridge for 10 minutes or so. When the mixture is smooth add the melted coconut oil gradually through the top while the blender is running. Gently pour the strawberry mixture on top of the vanilla layer and use a spoon to swirl the two together. Cover the top with cling film and place the strawberry ice cream cake in the freezer to set, approximately 1 hour.
To make the fresh strawberry sauce, place the strawberries and pure maple syrup into the blender and blend until smooth.
To serve, remove the cheesecake from the tin and peel off the paper or cling film. Place on a serving plate, drizzle with strawberry sauce and decorate with freshly slice strawberries. This ice cream cake will keep 1 month in the freezer if well sealed, and once defrosted it will keep in the fridge for up to 5 days in a sealed container.
Note on activating nuts: activating is the process of soaking nuts (or seeds) in water to remove the natural inhibitor enzymes on their skins to make them more digestible. The cashews in the cheesecake filling of this recipe are therefore activated. If you also wanted to activate the cashews and almonds in the base for this recipe they would need to be soaked and then dried. Ideally this would be in a dehydrator at 41ºC for 1 1/2 – 2 days, or in an oven on the lowest fan bake setting with the door ajar for about a day. The aim is to keep the nuts below 41ºC so the nutrients remain unaffected by heat and the food still deemed raw.
Note on melting raw ingredients: to ensure ingredients remain in their raw form and their nutrients fully intact, they must not be heated above 41º. When melting raw coconut oil or raw cacao butter, do so by placing the bowl of ingredients over a pot of steaming water with the heat turned off. This should ensure the ingredients do not heat above 41ºC.
Note on choosing coconut oil: it is important which type of coconut oil you choose. A lot of the cheaper coconut oils are heat or chemical processed which destroys the inherent nutrients that have made coconut oil so popular recently. Look for ‘cold pressed, extra virgin, organic’ or ‘unrefined raw’ coconut oil. Even though it may cost a little more, it is WAY better for you. Coconut oil contains high quantities of lauric acid which has anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, anti-viral and anti-inflammatory properties. It boosts your immune system and metabolism, lowers blood pressure and helps with the absorption of minerals. Even though coconut oil is a saturated fat, it is considered a ‘heathier’ fat because lauric acid is a medium chain fatty acid. This means it’s easily digestible and processed by your body in the same way as carbohydrates, as a direct source of energy.
Note on choosing maple syrup: make sure you get the real deal! There are quite a few maple syrups out there that are just maple flavoured sugar syrup, full of additives and often high fructose corn syrup. Pure maple syrup lists only “pure maple syrup” under ingredients and is made by a natural process of extracting the sap from maple trees, evaporating off excess water and filtering to remove impurities. Pure maple syrup is an unrefined sugar and has a lower glycemic index than refined sugar. It contains minerals and antioxidants such as calcium, potassium, iron, manganese and zinc, unlike refined sugar which contains none. Maple syrup is still a form of sugar however, so while it is better choice than refined sugar it is still best used in moderation. Feel free to use less in this recipe if it suits your tastes and if you do decrease the amount of maple syrup, replace the quantity you leave out with an equal amount of coconut milk.