Raspberry + White Chocolate Swirl Cake with Dark Chocolate Crust
This pretty dessert is a raw, vegan slice that provides a healthier option at the holiday treat table. A dark chocolate crust, creamy raspberry filling studded with whole raspberries, and a sweet non-dairy white chocolate swirl.
The summer after I finished high school, I got a job at a well-known coffee shop chain inside a hotel in the tourist area of the town where I lived. The hotel's kitchen would bake a couple different cakes for us to sell by the slice. Sometimes, one of us would "accidentally" damage a piece rendering it non-sellable ... and then we'd dig in. My favourite was the raspberry and white chocolate cake they made, which had layers of whipped cream, white sponge cake, fresh raspberries, and a topping of white chocolate swirls. It was so delicious, but totally indulgent. Not that a little indulgence is necessarily a bad thing, but these days, I try to give even the treats and desserts I make a healthier edge.
The slice I'm sharing today has some similar flavours, but of course, is completely different. Like a raw, vegan cheesecake with a cashew-based filling, this sweet treat is a delight. Either frozen or fresh raspberries work perfectly here - I used frozen, and just allowed them to defrost while I prepared the crust. With all the celebrations coming up and the approach of the holiday season, I thought a treat like this would be seasonally-appropriate. I'm also feeling particularly celebratory lately - my sister just wrote her LSATs and I am beyond proud and excited for her. Congratulations, A!
Raspberry & White Chocolate Swirl Cake with Dark Chocolate Crust
Serves 8. Cacao butter can be found in health food stores or online shops - a little goes a long way, and once you have it you can make the most amazing raw chocolate at home. I try to always have some on hand! I have added probiotic powder but it's completely not necessary, and only added for a little extra healthy punch.
1/2 cup raw cashews
1 tbsp raw cacao powder or cocoa powder (optional, as you could also make a plain crust that will work just as well)
2 tbsp sunflower seeds
1/2 tsp cacao nibs (optional)
3 medjool dates, pitted and soaked in 1 cup of hot water (reserve soaking water)
1/8 tsp sea salt or pink himalayan salt
Line a loaf pan with parchment paper, allowing the paper to extend up the sides.
Grind the cashews, sunflower seeds, cacao powder, cacao nibs and salt in a food processor fitted with an s-blade until broken down into small pieces. Add the soaked dates and coconut oil and pulse again, until combined well and a sticky crumb comes together. Press firmly and evenly into the prepared pan. Place the pan in the freezer while you prepare the filling.
15 whole raspberries plus 2 additional tbsp raspberries, defrosted if frozen
1 1/2 cups raw cashews, soaked 4-6 hours in fresh water
1/4 cup cacao butter, shaved into thin pieces
1 tbsp coconut oil
1/2 tsp probiotic powder (optional)
3 tbsp raw honey (can be substituted with agave syrup if you prefer)
2 tbsp of reserved date soaking water
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
a pinch of sea salt or pink himalayan salt
1/8 tsp beet powder (optional)
Use a bain-marie to melt the cacao butter. Rinse and drain the soaked cashews, and place in the pitcher of a blender. Add the coconut oil, raw honey, reserved date soaking water, probiotic powder, and vanilla extract and blend until smooth. Add the melted cacao butter and blend again, until completely integrated and the mixture is very smooth. Remove 2 tablespoons of the white chocolate mixture and set aside.
Add the beet powder, if using, as well as the lemon juice, salt, and 2 tablespoons of raspberries to the remaining mixture and blend again until completely combined.
Remove the crust-filled pan from the freezer, and spread a scant 2 tablespoons of the raspberry filling evenly across the crust. Place the raspberries over top in a scattered pattern. Spoon the raspberry filling over top, gently filling in the spaces between the raspberries and covering them completely. Carefully smooth the top. Spoon small dollops of the reserved white chocolate filling across the top. Using a wooden skewer, swirl the fillings together to create a pretty pattern, being careful not to insert the skewer too deeply as to disturb a whole berry.
Take the whole pan and, on a sturdy surface, lift and whack the pan down several times to release air bubbles and smooth the top while not disturbing the swirl pattern. Place in the freezer until set (minimum 6 hours).
When ready to serve, remove from the freezer and allow to sit at room temperature for a minimum of 10 minutes. Slice into rectangular bars with a very sharp knife, wiping clean after each cut to keep the edges smooth and clean. Once sliced, pieces can be refrigerated in a covered container. The texture becomes more mousse-like when the slices are defrosted.
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