Raw Chocolate and Raspberry Lava Cakes

Raw Chocolate and Raspberry Lava Cakes

Raw Chocolate and Raspberry Lava Cakes

 

We don’t usually celebrate Valentine’s Day. Not because we don’t like the idea of a day celebrating love, but because it seems crazy to spend triple the amount on flowers, or dine in an overflowing restaurant from a set menu we wouldn’t otherwise choose.

So instead we made a pact to celebrate Valentine’s day whenever we feel like it which means I get beautiful flowers throughout the year… (erm….) and go on lots of date nights to new restaurants… (ok we do that part).

That said, this year I decided it might be fun to have a picnic on Valentine’s, day so I ordered one from our favourite local raw food cafe, Little Bird Organics. Because sometimes even the most capable like to have food prepared for them – especially on Valentine’s day!

As it happened, the desserts in the picnic I ordered were these raw chocolate and raspberry lava cakes, which have been on my “to create” list for ages!

Of course I have no idea what their actual recipe is, but it probably involves activating nuts and organic ingredients, which isn’t always possible for the home cook. So here’s my simplified version which I’ve also made very low in unrefined sugars, it’s also dairy and gluten free, and very quick easy to make!

 

Raw Chocolate and Raspberry Lava Cakes

 

The chocolate cake is essentially a raw chocolate brownie. Brazil nuts, which are a great source of selenium and magnesium, act as the “flour” along with desiccated coconut. Raw cacao powder provides the chocolate element and is packed with essential antioxidants. Dates are a fantastic source of fibre, iron, potassium and magnesium, and provide the sweetness along with a little rice syrup which is a very low glycemic sweetener. Lastly, avocado acts as the glue holding it all together, and is a great source of omega 6 fatty acids. For a more in depth explanation about why these ingredients and nutrients are so good for you, check out this similar raw chocolate mousse cake recipe here.

The red lava centre is a raw raspberry chia sauce which is simply raspberries blended with chia seeds and a little rice syrup. Raspberries are very rich in antioxidants which are key in preventing the ageing process. They’re also an excellent source of iron, magnesium, selenium, zinc, molybdenum, potassium, chromium, and calcium.

These little lava cakes are amazing served simply on their own. But if you want to dress them up you could serve them with a sprinkling of freeze dried raspberries, a swirl of leftover raspberry chia sauce, fresh berries and a dollop of your favourite coconut yoghurt or nice cream.

I hope you enjoy this nutrient dense sweet treat, and would love to hear any questions or comments – simply leave me a message in the section down below and I’ll get back to you asap. Enjoy!

 

Raw Chocolate and Raspberry Lava Cakes

 

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Raw Chocolate and Raspberry Lava Cakes

Makes: 6 cakes
Prep time: 30 minutes

Raw Chocolate Cake
1 cup (150g) brazil nuts
1/2 cup (60g) desiccated coconut
1 ripe avocado
3/4 cup (70g) raw cacao powder
6 medjool dates, pits removed
1 Tbsp rice syrup
1 tsp vanilla powder
pinch Himalayan pink salt

Raw Raspberry Chia Sauce
1 1/2 cups fresh or frozen raspberries (defrosted)
1 Tbsp white chia seeds
1 Tbsp rice syrup

To Serve (optional)
Freeze dried raspberries
Fresh berries
Coconut yoghurt or Nice cream

To make the raspberry chia sauce place all the ingredients into a high speed blender and blend until smooth. Set aside while making the raw chocolate cake.

Line 6 holes of a standard muffin pan with a double layer of cling film. This prevents the cakes from sticking and allows you to lift them out easily at the end.

Place the brazil nuts in a food processor and blend until they resemble coarse breadcrumbs. Transfer them to a bowl, then add the desiccated coconut to the food processor and blend until it just starts to break down. Transfer the coconut to the bowl with the brazil nuts and set aside.

Combine the avocado, cacao powder, dates (pits removed!), rice syrup, sea salt and vanilla in the food processor and blend to a smooth chocolate paste. Add the brazil nuts and coconut and pulse until just combined.

Press tablespoonfuls of raw chocolate cake mixture into the lined muffin hole and press it up the sides, forming an approximately 8mm thick shell. When you have all 6 holes lined you should still have enough mixture leftover to create 6 circular “lids” of the same thickness.

Pour the raspberry chia sauce into the centre of each chocolate cake shell and fill to just under the rim. They should hold approximately 2 tablespoons of sauce.

Place the chocolate lids onto each cake and press the edges down to form a tight seal ensuring the raspberry chia sauce won’t escape.

Place the chocolate lava cakes in the fridge to chill for at least half an hour before serving. To serve, lift the lava cakes out of the tin, place on a plate and peel off the cling film. Serve sprinkled with freeze dried raspberries, fresh berries and/or your favourite coconut yoghurt or nice cream.

These lava cakes will keep in a sealed container for up to 5 days in the fridge or 1 month in the freeze.

 

Raw Chocolate and Raspberry Lava Cakes

 

 

Raw Strawberries & Cream Ice Cream Cake

Raw Strawberries & Cream Ice Cream Cake

Raw Strawberries & Ice Cream Cake

 

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 a strawberry fan, 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! Of course, minus all the dairy, eggs and refined sugar. So it’s entirely up to you how you eat this raw dessert cake and what you choose to 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’ll 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 that you don’t have chunks of cashews and strawberries throughout.

 

Raw Strawberries & Ice Cream Cake

 

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 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 re-freeze it as it’s likely to be eaten well before then!

I hope you give this saucy little ice cream cake a try, and if you post any of your creations to Instagram or Facebook I would love to see them, tag me @swoon.food #swoonfood. Enjoy!

 

Any questions or comments about this raw strawberries & cream cheesecake?

Ask me in the comments below, I love to hear from you!

 

Raw Strawberries & Ice Cream Cake

 

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

Base

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)

Strawberry Filling

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.

 

Raw Strawberries & Ice Cream Cake

 

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.

 

Raw Strawberries & Cream Ice Cream Cake