Plummy Blueberry Cherry Cake

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIt’s been a while since I’ve made one of my famous raw cakes, much to the distress of my poor husband, who then has to resort to junk-food sweets to stave off his inner sugar-monster. Part of the problem has been my new blender. I was kind of dreading facing the reality of having swapped out a seriously mean machine for a pathetic piece of you know what.

It’s part of being a mum. When your son says how much he loves and misses the blender (after he moves out) and you know he probably won’t eat fruit otherwise, it’s hard not to resist giving him the mean machine. The things that love does. Sigh.

So I went shopping for a new blender/food-processor and was mildly traumatised to discover they no longer stock Ninjas. Honestly, what is wrong with these people?! The best they could come up with was a Nutribullet, and me, not knowing any better, bought it. To be fair, I LOVED the book and recipes that came with it, but that ‘thing’ is completely incapable of whizzing a frozen banana, even when you chop the banana into small pieces… which takes all the fun out of fruit smoothies for me.

Sauces, though, it can handle with fair aplomb, and I’m eternally grateful for the lemon tree in my back yard, which, when added to any nut, with a dash of salt and some water, makes for a delicious sauce, cream, dressing, liquid cheese, (whatever fancy name you want to give it) depending on the consistency, ratio of ingredients and what herbs you add. My favourite herb to add is basil (think pesto) but I made a pretty good pasta sauce the other night using tofu, macadamia nuts, lemon, salt and fresh mint.

Cakes. What about cakes? That was the big question and I wasn’t feeling confident. I told myself to try whizzing the dry ingredients first, but as usual I was multi-tasking and force of habit got the better of me. Before I knew it, all the ingredients were thrown in, which would have been a non-issue if I was using a Ninja (I really miss that thing).

Before I started, I raided my fridge, freezer and cupboards for possible ingredients. Then I sat down with pen and paper and mocked up a plan. I put my ideas in the left column and left space in the right column for the inevitable modifications. Impatient as I am, I’m a complete sucker for a three-layered raw cake. I decided to use less dates because even my sweet-tooth husband says my cakes are too sweet, and the end result has been a resounding success.

I was grumpy about the whizzer not being able to blend properly without me adding a lot more liquid than I’m used to using, but the resultant consistency was lovely. My cakes are usually freezer cakes, pulled out for 5-10 minutes to defrost slightly, but we’ve decided this one is best stored in the fridge, because the softness of the top layer is fantastic at that temperature. Obviously they won’t store as long in the fridge, but this will be polished off within days anyway!

Here’s the recipe below. If your blender is pathetic like mine, you might need to add more non-dairy milk if you want a smoother finish. My husband and I prefer a more chunky consistency because we enjoy the different textures and flavour surprises. A chunky base is particularly satisfying, so I never over-blend the base.

BOTTOM LAYER

1/4 cup of oats (skip this, obviously, if you are sensitive to oats!)

7 x medjool dates, pitted

1 cup of almonds

1/2 cup of walnuts

1 tablespoon of coconut or any other non-dairy milk, or water

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERABlend your ingredients together. You can actually use any nut, these are just my favourites. If you have a brilliant whizzer-upperer, you don’t necessarily need any liquid, but if you do, using creamy liquids like coconut milk or nut-milks, often makes for a better consistency than adding water. I used coconut as my liquid throughout each layer. Decadent bliss!

Spread your blended mix into the bottom of a dish. If you want to, you can press whole blueberries into this later, like I did. It can help to put the dish in the freezer while you are making the next layer, to firm it up a little.

MIDDLE LAYER

1/2 cup almonds

1/2 cup of macadamia nuts

6 x medjool dates, pitted

1/2 cup of coconut or any other non-dairy milk, or water

1/2 to 1 cup of blueberries

Blend everything up! Use more liquid if the consistency isn’t as smooth as you’d like it to be. An optional extra might be a dash of vanilla essence, or if you love vanilla beans like me, the inside of one vanilla pod.

Pop the dish back in the freezer while you make the last layer.

TOP LAYER

1/2 cup of walnuts

1/2 cup macadamia nuts

1 plum, chopped into pieces

1/2 cup of cherries

And however much liquid (non-dairy milk or water) you need to blend

In essence, I was just using the fruit I had available in my fridge and freezer! I also added a ‘secret’ ingredient which I felt really made a different to the flavour: 1 heaped teaspoon of dried hibiscus, rosella and rosehip petals from my dried herbal tea collection. As a herbalist, I LOVE adding dried herbal teas to my raw cakes! This ingredient isn’t imperative, but any one of these three herbs would be fine, if you can get hold of them.

Blend everything up, and spread this mix over the existing two layers. Top with blueberries and sprinkle with chia seeds and dried flower petals, if you have any.

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Ta-dum! Keep your raw cake in the fridge, covered, and consume within days. If you aren’t going to gobble it all up this quickly, keep it in the freezer. We often like to freeze to a certain firmness where it’s easy to cut into portions which can later be removed and defrosted as needed.

 

 

 

 

Banana Walnut Cake

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERATHE BASE

7 medjool dates

3 medjool dates soaked in water overnight

2 cups of brazil nuts soaked in water overnight

Combine the ingredients in a food processor and blend them together. I prefer a little chunkiness to my mix, but you can keep going until it becomes smoother if you like. Spread this mixture over the bottom of a cake tin. (the kind with sides that spring open when you are ready to release the cake!)


THE BODY

3 peeled bananas

2 cups of walnuts soaked overnight

1/2 cup of sunflower seeds

1/2 vanilla pod

1/4 cup of coconut oil

Add all of the ingredients (except for two of the bananas) to a food processor and blend until relatively smooth. Spoon half of this mix onto the previously prepared base. Then cut one of the bananas up and press the pieces into this layer. When down, add the rest of the mix. Smooth the surface and cut up the third banana, pressing it into the surface. Add a few pieces of walnut to complete the decoration, then put in the freezer to set overnight and eat the next day. 


Raw Chocolate Peanut Butter Cake

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Nearly all of my of my cakes are ice-cream cakes. It’s so much easier to make raw cakes than to cook them! This is one of Emily von Euws’s recipes. I made this with my daughter and we pretty much stuck to the original, except that we didn’t have enough hemps seeds, so I supplemented with walnuts.

Emily buys her raw nuts in bulk, soaks them for 3 hours and then freezes them. This makes them more creamy when you add them to the food processor. Great idea too, in terms of protecting the delicate oils in the nuts from going rancid, especially in our humid Darwin weather. At the vert least, nuts and seeds should be kept in sealed containers in the fridge.

I LOVE Emily. She has brought so much joy into my life and my kitchen. Here is her recipe, with photos of my cake below. This is definitely one of my favourites, right up there with the caramel and coffee one she taught me.

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Raw apple cake

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We had too many apples so I thought I’d make a cake. This cake has two layers and two variations. The nuts are all raw, and organic  get hold of them!

Bottom layer:

1/4 cup linseeds

1 cup of Brazil nuts

1/2 cup walnuts

13 pitted medjool dates.

1 teaspoon fresh ginger
Blend together in food processor. Roll into little balls and press each ball into the base of a flexible muffin tray, so you can peel the frozen dessert out after it sets.

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Top layer:

1 cup of cashews

1 cup of pecans

11 pitted medjool dates

1/2 teaspoon of nutmeg powder

1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon powder

1 vanilla pod

1 tablespoon of sunflower paste (optional- I just needed a bit more sticky moistness. You could use cashew or almond paste, or even prunes, or coconut oil to get the sand effect)

Mix in food processor.

Now cut up some raw apple very finely, and alternate apple layers with the mix you have just created, on top of the base layer.

Press down as you add mix, so it sticks together properly. Put in freezer to set!