A cake for a celebration
Tomorrow we leave for a week away from home; I couldn't be more excited. This year, we have rented a cottage with my family and will spend the week around campfires, swimming in the lake, canoeing, and sharing meals. Simple and sweet.
As I prepared to leave work on Friday, my last day before vacation bliss, I could feel my spirit becoming lighter despite my frantic pace and compulsive sticky note-writing in an attempt to prepare my coverage for every possible issue that could arise. I have to remind myself that, honestly, everything and everyone is going to be fine and my absence is just a tiny blip. It's been a busy week, but not at all a bad one.
I've been thinking quite a bit on how to prepare food-wise for a week at the cottage. Many portable snacks have been made and tucked away in the freezer, ready to pop into our cooler in the morning before we head out. I have a really delicious and easy-to-put-together bar recipe that I plan to share, as well as ideas for planning meals when there are food preferences, intolerances, and varying diets involved. A cottage post will be coming shortly!
But today I am most excited to share this cake. It's creamy and summery, tasting immediately of lime with slight undertones of basil and mint. I made it with a dear friend in mind, and we celebrated her upcoming birthday with big slices and sparkling wine on Thursday evening. She and I have a standing date every Thursday, and have done so for the last 2 years without many exceptions. It's so lovely to catch up and spend time together, but even more so to devote time to spending with friends on a consistent basis. There's something just so intentional and special about setting aside time for being with a friend that I am guilty of missing when day-to-day life becomes busy. This cake involves a bit of prep work but the majority is hands-off as you allow time to do the work for you, with minimal intervention. Isn't that perfect? More time for yourself and the people you love.
Happy Birthday, C!
Citrus & Herb Cheesecake (raw, vegan, gluten free)
Makes 1 6" cake or a 4" cake plus two small tarts. To make a larger cake, simply double all ingredients and use a 10" springform pan instead.
Citrus & Herb Filling ingredients:
1 1/2 cups raw cashews
1 tbsp cashew milk, or other plant-based milk
1/4 c raw honey (may substitute with agave if you prefer)
2 tbsp coconut oil
2 tsp lemon juice
2 tbsp lime juice
1 tbsp lime zest
1 tbsp fresh mint leaves, packed
1 tbsp fresh basil leaves, packed
1/8 tsp vanilla bean powder
Pecan Crust ingredients:
3/4 c raw pecans
4 medjool dates, pitted
a big pinch of salt
extra mint leaves
extra basil leaves
zest of lemons & limes
Begin by filling a medium-sized bowl with cool water and the cashews. Set in fridge and allow to soak for 8 hours.
Remove the bottom of the springform pan that you're using and trace a circle of parchment paper to fit. Replace the bottom of the pan, and line with the parchment circle. To prepare the crust, pulse together the pecans, dates and salt using a food processor, until the mixture sticks together when pinched but small pieces of pecan remain. Press into the bottom of a springform pan, and place in freezer while you prepare the cheesecake filling.
Rinse soaked cashews well with cool water, and drain. Add cashews to a blender (I used a high speed blender, but a regular blender will work), followed by cashew milk, raw honey, mint, basil, lemon juice, lime juice and zest, vanilla bean powder, and coconut oil. Blend until smooth, using tamper to push mixture into the blades if you are using a high-speed blender. If using a regular blender, stop periodically and scrape down the sides of your blender's pitcher with a spatula. Check to ensure that the mixture is smooth and fully combined, without any pieces of cashew or herbs remaining.
Pour filling over prepared crust, smoothing the top. Place in freezer to set for a minimum of 6 hours, or overnight.
When you are ready to serve, remove the cake from the freezer and allow to sit for 10 minutes to soften slightly. Use this time to decorate with zest ribbons, fresh mint and basil leaves, and bee pollen, which adds a pop of colour and a little nutritional punch - simply omit bee pollen if you prefer.
Store the cake in the freezer, covered. Cake will keep for at least a week in the freezer, if you can keep away.
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