February 17, 2014

Raw Cashew Cake

This recipe made me change my opinion about desserts... totally!!! Desserts needn't have to be always high-fat and healthy dessert doesn't necessarily mean compromised food!

The terms "healthy" and "tasty" have always been mutually exclusive in most of the "so-called" health recipes that I have tried. But, on the other end, you also have recipes.. dessert recipes like this.. which uses natural & healthy ingredients, is surprisingly simple and delicious, all at the same time!

This is a no-bake cheese(?!?!?!)cake recipe without the cheese or any high-fat ingredients for that matter!! The crust of this cake is made with almonds & dates and the filling has cashews, honey, coconut oil and negligible amount of butter (replace it with coconut oil to make this recipe completely vegan & dairy-free) in it. And, the top most layer is flavored with real strawberries! When I saw this win-win recipe here, I was completely sold... Come on, who wouldn't be?!?!

The original recipe uses raspberries but I replaced with strawberries that I had in stock, which gave this cake a beautiful pink top layer, a fitting treat for valentine's day! And, if you are after that tart flavor of "conventional" cheesecake, add juice from 1 to 2 lemons to the filling (taste to adjust). All in all, the cake was soft, creamy, delectable, so... so... so sinful, that you can even devour 2 to 3 slices without any guilt. Try it for yourself and see!!

Basic Info
Complexity - Medium
Prep time - ~8 hrs (includes soaking time)
Cook time - 1-2 hrs (includes setting time)
Serves - 7" cake

Recipe adapted from here

For the base
1/2 cup almonds
1/2 cup medjool dates
1/4 tsp salt

For the filling
1.5 cups cashews
2 tbsp butter (replace it with coconut oil)
1/3 cup honey
2.5 tbsp coconut oil
1 tsp alcohol-free vanilla extract

10 nos fresh/frozen strawberries, thaw if frozen

Colored sugar pearls for garnish, optional

Soak cashews in cold water for 5-6 hrs (or) preferably overnight. 

Soak dates in water for 30-45 mins until soft.

Place almonds and dates in a food processor with salt and pulse to your desired fineness. I did mine to be on the finer side. Spoon out a small amount of mixture and try rolling it in your hands. If the ingredients hold together, your crust is perfect. Scoop out crust mixture in a 7” spring-form pan (you can also use mini cheesecake pan / pie plate / a plain glass as you see in the pictures), and press firmly, making sure that the edges are well packed and that the base is even throughout.

Warm butter, coconut oil and honey in a small saucepan on low heat until melted. Whisk to combine. Stir in vanilla extract.

Place all the filling ingredients (except strawberries) in a mixer and blend on high until very smooth.

Pour about 2/3 of the mixture out onto the crust and smooth with a spatula. Add the strawberries to the remaining filling and blend on high until smooth. Pour onto the first layer of filling. Place in freezer until solid.

To serve, remove from freezer 30 minutes prior to eating. Run a smooth, sharp knife under hot water and cut into slices. Serve on its own, or with fresh fruit.