I have to confess…until a few months ago I did not know that there were an increasing number of folks in the world who were following a totally ‘raw foods’ diet! My first reaction was – wow, that’s great – so healthy and ‘no need to cook’! I looked over a lot of raw food bloggers’ websites and saw how creative they were getting with their raw food recipes! Gosh, it is mind boggling! Personally for me I don’t think I can manage a complete raw food diet since I would crave for warm food from time to time! However, hats off to those who can pull it off and doing well with it.
So anyways as I have started following more raw food bloggers on my instagram, I continue to get inspired by their creations. One of these was the ‘raw cheese cake’ which is only made using nuts, dried fruits and other fruits! Watching numerous such vegan ‘cheese’ cakes and reading their recipes, I have been meaning to try making one for a few weeks now. The fact that I am currently on a AIP (autoimmune protocol) version of the Paleo diet was one reason – cos I am not allowed to eat nuts on this diet :(. However, last week was hubby dear’s birthday. Him being a lover of cashew nuts , I thought why not give this raw cheese cake a try?
I looked for recipes and found that the basic recipe was pretty much same – nuts and dates for the crust or the base. And then a cashew nut cream filling. Then you can use your imagination for flavors – I decided to use mixed berries to create a two layer cake. And then topped it with a lot of fresh berries. I also decided to do the crust only with shredded coconut and dates. I was so proud of my creation! Our rhododendron had just blossomed too and the color of the topping of the cake perfectly matched with the light purple flowers! What a beautiful evening it was – my husband absolutely loved the taste of the cake! He said it was better than any dairy cheese cake that he had before! The kids also loved it. I also had a couple bites – I had to see the result of my efforts, you see? 🙂 – Creamy, mildly sweet filling combined with the wonderful coconut crust made for a delectable dessert! Simply superb is my verdict.
Btw, I would like to mention here a few of the bloggers who have inspired me to make this cake and whom I love to follow:
Edgar raw: https://www.instagram.com/edgarraw/?hl=en
Olivia from Lovehealthok : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uoCEQG-JcqA
Sophie from A squirrel in the kitchen : http://asquirrelinthekitchen.com
Venturing into the Raw foods world: A super yummy vegan 'Cheese Cake'
Author: Indira Shyju
Recipe type: Dessert, sugar free dessert
Cuisine: Vegan raw cake
For the crust:
1 cup shredded coconut
2 tbsp coconut oil melted
Pinch sea salt
For the Filling:
2 cups cashew nuts soaked overnight
⅓ cup coconut oil
¼ cup plus 1 tbsp maple syrup
1 tsp vanilla extract
3 tbsp coconut cream
2 tbsp lemon juice
¼ tsp sea salt
1 cup mixed berries
Soak cashew nuts in warm water and let sit for at least 24 hours.
Line the bottom and sides of an 8 inch springform pan with parchment paper.
For making the crust, in a food processor blend all the crust ingredients except the shredded coconut. Then mix this with the shredded coconut in a bowl to form a thick mixture. Press this mixture to the bottom of the pan. Freeze the pan for 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, make the filling by blending all the filling ingredients (without adding any water) except the berries to get a thick creamy filling.
Pour ¾ of the this filling mixture onto the pan after the base has set. Then to the rest of the filling mixture, add the berries and again blend to get a creamy smooth mixture. Pour this over the top of the white filling layer. Place pan back in freezer for at least 5-6 hours.
Remove pan from freezer about 30 mins before serving the cake.
For making the crust, I do not blend the shredded coconut with the dates since then the mixture becomes too fine and the crust will become a hard crust. When you have loosely packed crust, it firms up perfectly after freezing.
I have been ‘refined sugar’ free for more than a year now and tell you what…I don’t miss it at all! In fact I feel so awful that I was eating all that unnecessary refined sugar all these years. Once you go completely sugar free you will start reaching out for the natural sugars as in fruits, dried fruits and other natural products like honey and maple syrup. And the best thing is that the natural products do not give you a sugar rush plus they all provide beneficial nutrients to your body in addition to just sweetness.
But sometimes you do crave for sweets because you crave for that texture. For example even though I have not felt deprived for the most part, I sometimes have this craving for Indian sweets like coconut barfi (fudge) or coconut ladoo (sweetened balls)! That’s when I began to experiment. I made date, almond and coconut rolls which are absolutely delicious and are now a permanent snack in my home – my son just loves them! My Date nut truffles are also equally amazing and so decadent they feel like an absolute treat! I also made a dates and Nut Barfi (fudge) with dates, almonds and walnuts and that is again absolutely delicious with the gooey fudge texture.
So two weeks ago my cravings for texture meant I had to experiment again since I am on the Autoimmune protocol diet and so I cannot do nuts either. So I scratched my brains and scanned the available items for me in my pantry and apricots and dates were the winners!. I really wanted something that had a texture like a coconut ladoo and so that made me come up with these apricot coconut balls. Oh boy, the texture of these balls are amazing. The coconut flour just gives it the soft but dense texture that I was craving for! And that’s not all – it gets even better! OK so all you need for this recipe are just 3 ingredients! Yes! Dried Apricots, Dates and coconut flour. And Shredded Coconut to roll them in.
And yes you do need a food processor. These balls came together in less than 15 minutes though from start to finish. The first time I made it, I had made a very small experimental batch and I could make around 8 balls and they were all gone in 2 days! And that was just me eating all of them! SO then of course I had to make them again. And again. You see I had to perfect the recipe too so I could share with you guys 🙂
I used lemon zest the first time to get an additional burst of flavor and that gave a wonderful freshness to the balls. The second time I tried cardamom powder so that I could get the taste to be very close to the Indian coconut ladoo. I loved that too. SO you can pick your flavor. Maybe you will come up with some additional ideas. Even if you don’t add anything the apricots give it enough flavor already. If you are 100% AIP compliant then you cannot do cardamom. Over the past one month I have been able to add all my spices (Indian) back to my diet without much complaints. So I am ecstatic. And completely blissful when I eat these apricot coconutties!