Happy Birthday to Me! Chocolate Hazelnut No-Bake Cake
I’m pretty damn excited to share this recipe with you today, for a couple of reasons: a) it’s my birthday this week- yay!; b) it’s ridiculously delicious; and c) it’s gluten free, dairy free, sugar free, oh and raw! It is also REALLY easy to make and looks pretty impressive too.
I don’t have much of a sweet tooth, but I’m certainly not going to skip having a slice of cake this Thursday. That’s why I thought I’d task myself with making the most delicious and nutritious (as far as cake goes) birthday cake.
This cake is primarily made from soaked nuts, medjool dates and raw cocoa powder. Not only is it full of fibre, vitamins and minerals, it is raw which means all of the enzymes have remained in tact, so you get more goodness from each ingredient. Also, by soaking the cashews you are activating them, meaning the enzyme inhibitors inside the nut break down and we can get more nutrients from them! If you want to read more on this, check out The Holistic Ingredient’s take on activating nuts. I found it really informative.
Now I wouldn’t go eating this cake every day, but for an afternoon tea or special celebration I can’t get enough of it. I promise, it’s delicious and it has been quality tested by many friends who are not so down with all of this ‘free’ kind of food.
This recipe calls for a 20cm round spring form cake tin and you’ll also need a food processor. Make sure you prepare the cashews the day before making the cake, and allow at least 4 hours before serving so the cake can set. I’m really enjoying the late season raspberries at the moment and decided they would pair nicely with the richness of the cocoa and hazelnut, but feel free to decorate with the fruit of your choice. Strawberries or blueberries scattered on top would work beautifully too.
150g medjool dates
2 tbs raw cocoa
pinch of sea salt
2 cups cashews, soaked overnight (350g)
Juice 1 lemon
pinch vanilla powder or ½ vanilla bean seeds
3 tbs maple syrup
3 tbs cocoa
2 tbs hazelnut butter
2 tbs coconut oil, warmed till runny
3 punnets raspberries
HOW IT'S DONE
Firstly you will need to soak the cashews for a minimum of 5 hours, I find it best to soak them overnight. This will help you achieve a creamier texture for the cake.
To make the base, take the pips out of the dates and pop them in a food processor with the cocoa powder, hazelnuts and salt. I like to pulse mine because I like a chunky base. If you want a finer base just blend them for a little longer. The mixture should be crumbly and dry as pictured.
Line your cake tin with grease-proof paper and pour the crumbly base mixture in, pressing it down firmly with the palm of your hand. You’ll be surprised how quickly it comes together. Once nice and compact pop the tin into the fridge while you prepare the cake layer.
Drain the soaked cashews and pop them in the processor with the lemon juice. The lemon adds a lovely zing and helps cut through the richness of the cake. Use the highest speed and blend them for at least 5 minutes so they can fully break down and go deliciously creamy. Add all remaining ingredients and blend until combined. Once combined have a little taste to see if you would prefer to add a more maple syrup to sweeten. I find the balance of flavours in this recipe just right for me!
Scrape the cake mixture from the processor into the tin on top of the prepared base. Use a pallet knife or the back of a spoon to press it down evenly. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours so the cake is able to set. Remove the cake carefully from the tin, decorate with raspberries and enjoy! I’m warning you-it truly is deliciously rich and very moreish!
Try it without the cocoa and add some extra vanilla, or with lime, pecans, almond butter and seasonal fruits. You really can be creative with it! You’ll have to excuse me now- I’ve got a birthday cake to make!
Photography by Andy Stavert