Of all the things that can be made vegan, or even vegetarian for that matter – my favorite to play with is cake. Something about the prettiness of a cake, the elegance.
Sure you can make a pretty mean looking burger, get mouths watering and imaginations wandering about exactly how flavorful it’ll be, what the crunch factor might be on the pickle or the spice in the oozing drippy sauce. Yes, you can really do wonders when it comes to making vegan and vegetarian food look and sound incredible. A cake however, well cake is so much more artsy than a burger.
Maybe because cakes are delicate, the time and precision that goes into crafting a cake is somehow more impressive to me. Perhaps it’s just that the older I get the more and more I find myself turning to a little something sweet after dinner and cakes just happen to be fun to make. Who knows!
The bottom line is, for me, cakes are an absolute pleasure to make.
Raw cakes are fun and inventive, one of the greatest ways to boost creative juices – for me – is to brainstorm raw cake flavours, colours and textures. Smooth? Crunchy? Is that a soft caramel ripple? Or a hunk of brownie? The possibilities are endless and that makes me one happy camper. If you’ve been seeing raw/vegan cheesecakes popping up in books or online and you’re too afraid to try making one yourself – step right on outta that comfort zone.
For any raw vegan cheesecake newbies – this babe is made almost entirely of nuts. Yep, you got it! Nuts! Some berry powders, healthy oils, dates + rice syrup and there you have it. A beautiful, solid yet soft, completely vegan cheesecake.
Being that it’s made of nuts, you can bet it’s gluten free; it’s also refined sugar free. Sweeteners are your choice – depending on where your preferences might lie – honey for those wanting the benefits of the hive and don’t mind the critter impact. Agave or rice syrup for those who want to stick completely animal-product-free. Personally I really like to use honey in raw cakes, obviously I understand that de-veganizes them but properly sourced honey has a place in my personal diet. I tend to prefer the lower processing, raw honey being the winner of the three sweetener choices in that regard. This cake however, was sweetened with brown rice syrup. Feel free to switch it up however you like!
Crusts can also be a total creative adventure, no different than the filling! Google raw cakes, you’ll find brownie crusts, nut crusts, cookie crusts, solid chocolate crusts. You name it. The crust on this cake is something reminiscent of a shortbread cookie, a little bit of coconut flour to give it a crumb and help balance out the buttery texture in the macadamias.
The one thing I will mention to you before you go out and start excitedly buying up nuts to blitz into impressive cheesecakes, for the best results you’ll want to find yourself a high speed blender. The creamy richness, not impeded even slightly by an unblended piece of cashew is important if you’re creating a smooth ripple-less cake. Not as important if you’re putting a hazelnut ripple, or a cacao nib mint crunch or something like that. Something to keep in mind.
- Shortbread Base:
- 10 Dates
- 1 Cup Macadamia Nuts
- 2 Tablespoons Coconut Flour
- Pinch of Salt
- ⅓ Cup Melted Cacao Butter (coconut oil will work too)
- Blueberry Ombre Filling:
- 3 Cups Cashews - Soaked at least 6 hours
- 1 Can Thick Full Fat Coconut Cream
- Juice of 2 Small Lemons
- ½ Cup + 1 Tablespoon Brown Rice Syrup
- ½ Cup Melted Cacao Butter
- ½ Cup Melted Coconut Oil
- 8+ Tablespoons of Blueberry Powder
- 2 Tablespoons Acai Powder (optional, used only for colour)
- First off prep a 6" spring form cake pan by rubbing solid coconut oil onto the base, then lining the sides with wax paper
- Melt the cacao butter or coconut oil for the crust in a heat-proof bowl over warm water
- Pour some more warmed water over the dates and allow to soak - this will make them easier to feel for pit fragments (pit if they're unpitted) and to blend
- While the dates are soaking, blitz the macadamias in a food processor, you're shooting for a bit of crunch so blitz until a semi fine crumb
- Add the dates to the food processor and pulse until the macadamias and the date begin forming a paste
- Add the coconut flour, continue mixing, and then the oil
- The crust mixture should be uniform with no bits of dry coconut flour
- Press the crust mixture into the bottom of your prepared pan and place in the freezer to set
- To make the filling:
- Add the soaked cashews, can of coconut cream, lemon juice and brown rice syrup to a high speed blender
- Blitz, you may need to use the toggle, until smooth and creamy
- Add the melted cacao butter and coconut oil
- Pour the cashew mixture in equal parts into four bowls
- Leave one bowl creamy white, mix 2 tablespoons of blueberry powder into one bowl, 4 tablespoons of blueberry powder into the next, and the last bowl mix in the remaining blueberry powder as well as the acai powder
- Remove the crust from the freezer, pouring in all but 2 tablespoons of the the darkest mixture onto the crust - return to the freezer until just set (about 15-20 minutes). Leave the few extra tablespoons in the bowl for later
- Continue the process of layering each colour once the one before it has set until you're left with only the creamy white layer - use the whole bowl, do not reserve any of the creamy white unless you want creamy white stars as decoration.
- Return the cake to the freezer to set for 10 minutes or so
- Add the varying colours of filling that were reserved to a piping bag or pen and place in the fridge until firm enough to pipe
- Once firm enough, pipe desired designs onto the cake and place the cake in the FRIDGE to set over night.