Raw Chocolate Brownie Mousse Cake with Dark Cherries

Raw Chocolate Brownie Mousse Cake with Dark Cherries

Raw Chocolate Brownie Mousse Cake - gf/vegan

 

One of my all time favourite recipes to demonstrate at workshops is my raw chocolate avocado mousse. Everyone’s always so surprised how easy the recipe is and even more so at how amazing it tastes, despite being made from avocados!

I don’t make this mousse very often because, frankly, it tastes too good and I eat it way too fast. I’m still working on a sugar free/low fructose version, but I did create this sweet potato chocolate mousse last year which I think tastes pretty damn amazing considering it’s completely sugar free!

This recipe came about when I had the inspired idea to pair my epic chocolate mousse recipe with a raw chocolate brownie base. Even though the cake has two layers it’s quick to make as they’re both made entirely in a blender. If you want to save further on washing up you could just wipe out the food processor bowl between layers as they’re essentially all the same ingredients.

The raw chocolate brownie base is held together and sweetened by Medjool dates and I’ve given four options for the sweetener in the raw chocolate mousse topping. Coconut nectar or rice syrup are the lowest fructose options, followed by pure maple syrup and lastly raw honey. All work equally well, but will give slightly different flavours. If you don’t have a preference about the seetener then I think pure maple syrup has the best flavour.

I topped this chocolate mousse cake with fresh cherries because they’re in full season at the moment, but you could easily top it with fresh berries of your choosing. If fresh fruit isn’t available to you, you could try drizzling it with a berry coulis or simply serve it naked in it’s full chocolate glory.

 

Raw Chocolate Brownie Mousse Cake

 

Most raw desserts are so nutrient dense you often only need a small slice to satisfy, and this one is definitely no exception.

Avocados are the main component in both the mousse and brownie base and are a brilliant plant based source of omega-6 fatty acids which are vital for the nervous system and brain. They’re amazing for your skin, reducing dryness and thereby providing anti-aging qualities. And not so well known are their anti-inflammatory properties which are amazing for soothing the gut.

Brazil nuts provide the texture for the brownie base and are one of the best sources of selenium which is essential for thyroid hormone synthesis. They’re also a great source of magnesium which is required by all the muscles in the body including the heart.

Dates glue the base together, and while they do contain a fair amount of fructose (the least desirable form of sugar), they also contain a high amount of fibre which slows down it’s absorption. They’re also a great source of potassium, iron, calcium, phosphorus, vitamins A and B6.

Raw cacao powder provides the intense chocolate flavour in this cake and is extremely high in antioxidants – even more so than your standard blueberry! Anti-oxidants are essential for reducing the harmful effects of free radicals which cause cell and tissue damage. Raw cacao is also one of the richest plant based sources of magnesium, a great source of calcium, and is full of mood enhancing neurotransmitters.

Last but not least, the fresh cherries that decorate the top are an amazing liver tonic, cleanser and rejuvenator, and a great source of iron and zinc. When choosing cherries look for ones with the darkest colour as these are the most potent.

As you can see this cake is full of amazing nutrients, but let’s not forget the taste! Smooth rich chocolate mousse atop a moist dense brownie base, finished off perfectly by the tart cherries. This cake is pretty damn amazing.

 

Raw Chocolate Brownie Mousse Cake

Makes: 1 x 15cm cake (serves 8-10 people)
Prep time: 30 minutes

Brownie Base

1 cup brazil nuts
1/4 cup desiccated coconut
1 ripe avocado
7 medjool dates, pitted
1/2 cup raw cacao powder
1/4 tsp vanilla powder
pinch sea salt
1 Tbsp coconut oil, gently melted

Chocolate Avocado Mousse

1 large ripe avocado
5 Tbsp raw cacao powder
5 Tbsp pure maple syrup, rice syrup, coconut nectar or raw honey
2 Tbsp almond milk (or milk of your choice)
1 tsp vanilla powder
2 pinches of himalayan pink salt
3 Tbsp raw cacao butter (or cold pressed extra virgin coconut oil)
1 punnet fresh cherries (raspberries or strawberries)

Line a small 15cm cake tin with baking paper.

To make the brownie layer, place the brazil nuts in a food processor and blend until they resemble coarse breadcrumbs. Combine with the desiccated coconut, place into a bowl and set aside.

Gently melt the coconut oil by placing in a small heat proof bowl set over a pan of steaming water with the heat turned off. Combine the chopped dates, avocado, cacao powder, vanilla and salt in the food processor and blend to a smooth chocolately paste (this tastes amazing!). Add the melted coconut oil and blend to combine. Lastly add the brazil nuts and coconut oil and pulse until just combined.

Press the brownie mixture evenly into your lined tin and place in the fridge to chill while making the chocolate mousse layer.

To make the mousse gently melt the cacao butter by placing in a heatproof bowl set over a small pan of steaming water with the heat turned off. This ensures the temperature of the cacao butter doesn’t go above 46ºC and all it’s antioxidants are preserved.

Place the avocado (peeled and stone removed) in a food processor along with the cacao powder, pure maple syrup, almond milk, vanilla and salt and blend until smooth. Slowly add the melted cacao butter with the motor running until it is all incorporated. Spread the mousse over the brownie layer and return to the fridge to chill.

Prepare the cherries by washing well and allowing all the water to drain off, then giving them a light dry with a tea towel. This ensures when you place them on the cake they don’t drip creating water marks down the cake. Remove the cake from it’s tin, place on a serving plate and top with cherries (or fruit of choice).

This raw chocolate mousse brownie cake will keep chilled for up to 5 days or 1 month in the freeze when sealed well.

 

Raw Chocolate Brownie Mousse Cake

Zesty Raw Lemon & Coconut Cheesecake

Zesty Raw Lemon & Coconut Cheesecake

Zesty Raw Lemon & Coconut Cheesecake

 

The inspiration for this zesty raw lemon & coconut cheesecake came from one of my favourite organic, raw food eatery’s called Greenleaf Organics. Their version was almost like a lemon custard slice. The lemon filling had an amazing consistency which (after failing to replicate it with my usual ingredients) must have been achieved with a gelling agent like Irish moss. Although my version doesn’t contain Irish moss or have quite have the same custard-like quality, it’s still beautiful in it’s own right. It has a very delicate, light texture, with a fresh lemon flavour, which is quite different to the usual heavier style raw “cheesecake”.

The base is made from brazil nuts, coconut, medjool dates, coconut oil and lemon zest. Brazil nuts are the best dietary source of the selenium and are also a good source of magnesium. Selenium is an antioxidant and is important for tissue elasticity and preventing free radical damage to cells. It also boosts the body’s immune response against infections and cancer cells and plays an important role in thyroid function and fertility. Magnesium is essential for bone health and 300 or so biochemical reactions in the body, which essentially means magnesium is involved in the proper functioning of nearly all the systems in the body!

Medjool dates act as a sweetener and binding agent in this cheesecake base. Dates are a whole food sweetener that contain beneficial amounts of the minerals zinc, iron, potassium, magnesium, phosphorus and calcium, they also contain vitamins B6 and A and soluble dietary fibre.

The lemon coconut filling is made from soaked cashew nuts, coconut milk, lemons, cacao butter and coconut oil. There are a couple of important reasons for soaking the cashews. Firstly, it makes them much easier to blend and creates a lovely creamy result and secondly, soaking removes the natural enzyme inhibitors which allows the cashews to be digested much more easily by the body.

 

 

Lemons, even though very acidic themselves, have the opposite effect on the body once their minerals are absorbed into the blood. These minerals act to alkalise the blood and in turn reduce the acidic load, which is the ideal situation for the blood. In this recipe I have specified organic lemons particularly because the zest is used. If you don’t have organic lemons, just omit using the zest

Coconut oil is a great source 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’s 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.

And lastly raw cacao butter is the pure cold pressed oil of the cocoa bean and is very high in antioxidants. Antioxidants are so beneficial because they reduce the inflammatory action of free radicals, which helps prevent disease and slows the ageing process.

So as you can see this raw dessert is full of nutritional value, and because it’s also high in protein you’ll only need a small serving to satisfy.

I hope you love this recipe and if you post any pictures to social media I would love to see them! Tag @swoon.food #swoonfood so I can find them. Enjoy!

What’s your favourite raw “cheesecake” flavour?

Leave me a comment down below, I’d love to hear from you!

 

Zesty Raw Lemon & Coconut Cheesecake

 

Zesty Raw Lemon & Coconut Cheesecake

Makes: One 10cm x 25cm loaf tin / approximately 8 slices
Prep time: 1/2 hour Soaking time: 4 hours Chill time: 1 hour

Base

1/2 cup desiccated coconut
1/2 cup raw brazil nuts
pinch pink Himalayan salt
5 medjool dates, pitted
zest of 1 organic lemon (see note above)
1 Tbsp coconut oil, gently melted (see note below)

Lemon Coconut Filling

1 cup cashews, soaked (see note below)
2 organic lemons, juiced (plus zest of 1)
1/4 cup drinking coconut milk (or nut milk of choice)
1/3 cup pure maple syrup, rice syrup or raw honey
pinch himalayan pink salt
1/4 cup coconut oil,  gently melted (see note below)
1 Tbsp cacao butter, gently melted (see note below)

Start by soaking the cashew nuts, place them in a bowl, cover with filtered water and leave to stand for 4 hours. Drain off the water and rinse the cashews well.

Line a 10cm x 25cm loaf tin (or tin of your choice) with a double layer of cling film and set aside.

To make the base, gently melt the coconut oil by placing it in a heatproof bowl over a pan of steaming water with the heat turned off (see notes below). Place the desiccated coconut, brazil nuts and salt into a food processor and blend until the mixture looks like chunky crumbs. Add the medjool dates (ensuring you have removed the pitts!) and blend until well combined. Add the lemon zest now if you are using. Lastly add the melted coconut oil while the motor is running. Press the base mixture evenly into the prepared tin, then place in the fridge to set.

To make the lemon coconut filling, first gently melt the coconut oil and cacao butter by placing it in a heatproof bowl over a pan of steaming water with the heat turned off (see notes below). Place the soaked and drained cashews into a high speed blender (e.g. Vitamix/Blendtec) along with the lemon juice, zest (if using), coconut milk, pure maple syrup and sea salt, and blend until smooth.

Add the melted coconut oil and cacao butter gradually through the top of the blender while the motor is running. These should blend in completely and you should end up with a smooth lemon cream. Pour the lemon coconut filling onto the prepared base, smooth with a spatula and place in the freezer to set for a minimum of 1 hour.

Transfer the lemon coconut cheesecake to the fridge a few hours before you want to serve it. To serve lift the cheesecake out of the tin using the cling film, place on a chopping board and peel back the cling film. Cut into slices, place on serving plates and decorate with freeze dried berries of your choice. Once defrosted the raw cheesecake will keep covered in the fridge for up to 5 days.

 

Zesty Raw Lemon & Coconut Cheesecake

 

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 this cheesecake filling are therefore activated. If you also wanted to activate the nuts in the base for this recipe they would need to be soaked and then dried. Ideally this would be in a dehydrator at 46ºC 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 46ºC so the nutrients remain unaffected by heat and the food still deemed raw. However high fat nuts like brazil and macadamia nuts don’t show any significant nutritional benefits from this intensive process, so there are no real advantages in activating these.

Note on melting raw ingredients: to ensure ingredients remain in their raw form and their nutrients fully intact, they must not be heated above 46ºC. 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 46ºC.

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 is 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 harvested from maple trees by extracting the sap, 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 natural phenols which acts antioxidants as well as small amounts of the minerals calcium, potassium, iron, manganese and zinc, unlike refined sugar which is literally empty calories. Pure 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.

Note on raw honey: raw or unprocessed honey is a wholefood sweetener that has a higher fructose content than pure maple syrup but it also contains more antioxidants and has antibacterial and antifungal properties too. Raw or unprocessed honey can usually be found at farmers markets and specialty food stores. Most of New Zealand’s Manuka honey is also minimally processed and contains much of it’s inherent nutrients and protective properties. Beware of liquid honey’s, especially the types in squeezy bottles as these have been refined and often don’t contain any beneficial properties.

Zesty Raw Lemon & Coconut Cheesecake