Clearly Baby Zand's birthdays have a chocolate theme :-). This is the third year running with a delicious raw chocolate cake. Check out the previous two:
I want her to have everything she wants - which is usually chocolate - but I also want her to be healthy and strong and not throw sugar tantrums. I want her to know that we can indulge every day when we make foods that nourish us from the inside out. And birthdays to me are no exception to that rule. Often I hear other parents say "oh but her birthday only comes once a year, let her enjoy it". Well first of all, Baby Zand thoroughly enjoyed herself with this cake. Secondly, yes, HER birthday only comes once a year, but what about all the other birthdays we celebrate? We have a huge family, and friends' birthday parties are becoming a thing. Before you know it, the once-a-year exception becomes a weekly occurrence. I don't think it's bad for her to have a regular cake once in a while. But when she has these foods every week, I immediately see her taste buds change, she gets more sugar cravings, and becomes much pickier at every single meal... which makes life hard for me, and also doesn't serve her. So every year for her birthday I make it my mission to create healthy treats, and let me tell you, people are still raving about this cake!
This cake is a recipe by Sarma Melngailis from her book "Living Raw Food". The book and this recipe are definitely not for the kitchen novice, because it took me a total of 4 days to make this cake. Yup, you read that right. I was also incredibly busy that week with surprise visitors from Shanghai, so I had to make everything bit by bit. I made this recipe in the dehydrator, but you could put the crust in the oven at the lowest setting and dry it that way for a few hours. And maybe you will never actually attempt to make this cake, but you will just look at it and enjoy it that way :-)
Preparation time: 90 minutes
Soaking time: at least 10 hours
Drying and setting time: 36 hours
Makes one big 27cm/10.5 inch cake to serve at least 12 but probably many more since it's very rich:
For the crust layers:
3 cups walnuts, soaked for 4 hours
2 1/4 cups maple syrup
1 1/2 cup water
2 Tbsp vanilla extract
4 1/2 cups almond flour
3 1/2 cups raw cacao powder
1 tsp sea salt
For the mousse filling:
2 cups cashew nuts, soaked for at least 6 hours
1 cup frozen coconut meat, defrosted
1/4 cup raw cacao powder
1 Tbsp vanilla extract
pinch of sea salt
1 cup maple syrup
1 3/4 cups water
1 1/2 cups melted virgin coconut oil
For the chocolate sauce:
2/3 cups maple syrup
3/4 cups raw cacao powder
1 1/2 Tbsp melted virgin coconut oil
1 tsp vanilla extract
pinch of sea salt
To make the crusts, take a 27cm/ 10.5 inch springform pan. Take the bottom out, we only need the side form.
Blend the walnuts, maple syrup, water, and vanilla in a strong food processor until completely smooth.
Add the almond flour, cacao powder, and salt, and combine well.
Take a piece of parchment paper, place this on a dehydrator tray, and place the springform side on the parchment paper.
Fill half of the dough into the form, and spread it evenly to form the perfect circle. Slowly lift the springform and even out the sides.
Repeat one more time for the second crust layer.
Place the trays into the dehydrator, and dry for at least 24 hours at the lowest temperature setting. You should be able to peel the crust off the parchment paper without it breaking. It took me about 26 hours. The crust does not need to be warm to be used for the cake! I let mine sit for another day before I actually assembled the cake.
In the meantime start soaking your cashew nuts.
To make the mousse filling, combine all ingredients except the coconut oil in a food processor, and process until completely smooth. This may take a while to really break down the coconut. Slowly pour in the coconut oil (or if you can't pour it with your food processor, dump it in in 3 stages), and let it combine properly. Refrigerate the mousse in a bowl overnight to let it set.
Make the chocolate sauce only when you are ready to serve the cake. Blend all ingredients in a blender or food processor until smooth and creamy. Set to the side for a moment until the cake is assembled.
To assemble the cake, take the first crust, and place it on a serving dish.
Spread the mousse, being sure to even out the sides. Don't worry about getting it too neat, the sauce will cover most of the messiness.
Top the mousse with the second crust.
Then slowly drizzle the chocolate sauce on top, and let it drip down the sides so the cake is completely covered. You can top it with fresh berries, crushed dehydrated berries, cacao nibs, or just leave it as is.