Strawberry Chocolate Torte – a Summer Treat!

It’s summer! – at least for us on the Southern half of this planet 🙂

That means an abundance of local, fresh, ripe fruit, especially berries! What better to do than to whip up a yummy chocolate torte with it?! Make sure you use organic or spray-free berries though, as the ‘conventionally’ grown ones can hold a lot of pesticides.

Raw Chocolate Strawberry Torte

Should you happen to not dwell on the strawberry side of the globe this torte is easily made with orange slices, bananas or even pears. For a more decadent crust feel free to replace the shredded coconut with macadamia nuts and make sure to sprinkle some bits over the top! B.T.W. the torte below was made in a spring form.

Orange Chocolate Torte

This recipe was introduced to me by my dear friend Matt Samuelson in 2004 and has been a staple in my dessert repertoire ever since.

And here we go!

Strawberry Chocolate Torte
Serves 8

For the crust:

  • 1.5c shredded coconut
  • 1.5c cashews
  • 4-6 Medjool dates, pitted
  • Pinch cayenne pepper

For the filling:

  • 3 avocados, peeled, pit removed
  • 1T vanilla extract
  • 5T organic cocoa powder, raw if you prefer
  • 1/2c Rapadura, raw cane sugar
  • a few drops lemon or lime juice
  • 1 punnet (500g) fresh strawberries, thinly sliced
  • To make the crust, in a food processor grind the shredded coconut into a fine powder. Add the cashews and cayenne pepper. Continue processing to a coarse meal.
  • Add the pitted dates and homogenize until the texture resembles a graham cracker crust. Mixture should be loose and crumbly, yet hold together when pressed tightly.
  • Press the crust into a 9 inch ungreased pie plate. Press firmly to get the crust to hold together. Place it in the freezer or refrigerator to set up while making the filling.
  • To make the filling: place the avocados, vanilla, cocoa and Rapadura in a food processor with the “S” blade and homogenize until completely smooth. Make sure to add a little splash of lemon or lime juice! It will nicely balance the flavours in your chocolate. (Just don’t tell anyone! ;-))
  • To assemble: Divide the filling into 3 equal parts. Spread a thin layer of filling on top of the crust. Next, place a layer of strawberries on the filling. Spread another layer of chocolate filling on top of the strawberries, and then layer more strawberries, another layer of filling and the remainder of the berries.
  • Refrigerate for at least one hour prior to serving.

Be sure to use a very sharp knife, yes VERY sharp!, when cutting this torte. The strawberries have a tendency to slide all over the place when cut with a dull knife.

Strawberry Chocolate Torte

Enjoy!

René
🙂

Raw Cheese Cake- the secrets revealed

Here is the recipe!

Acai Goji Cheesecake

‘Finally!’ I hear you say 😉

First of all let me express my gratitude to Matthew Kenney and his book ‘Everyday Raw’ for inspiring me to venture into the realm of vegan raw cheese cake ‘imitations’ (far yummier than most of the baked dairy-based ones – apart from yours, mum ;-))

This recipe is not for the faint-hearted chef – as the ones who have attended my Raw Cheesecake Master Classes can confirm. You will have to run your high power blender with an open lid and fold over the filling with a rubber spatula while blending.

Cheese cake making

In my element at the Wise Cicada – making raw cheese cakes.

But don’t worry. I can happily supply you with custom made cakes of this kind upon request. Just drop me a line on our ‘Contact‘ page. As long as you are in Auckland, NZ… 🙂

White Chai and Chocolate Raw Cheesecake

And you are still looking for the recipe, right?!
OK, I will give you the non-chocolate version as a basis for your experiments. For a cacao alternative just add 1 cup of cacao powder in the very end. Be aware, that you are adding a whole cup of dry powder to a mixture that is already quite thick. More spatula work!!! …and watch the temperature of your filling mix! Once it starts steaming, you’ve left the realm of raw foods 😉 – and so have the life enzymes.
Only remedy in that case: Lots of extra Love.

Swirly Chai Chocolate Raw Cheesecake

Basic Raw Lemon Cheesecake

Inspired by Matthew Kenney, yet adjusted to fill a big pie shell
Yields a large round tart pan with 16-20 pieces

Crust
4c shredded coconut

1.5 c cashew flour

1 T coconut oil

4 T date paste

Filling
4c cashews

3/4c lemon juice

1c coconut sugar

1c coconut oil, melted

1/2c filtered water, if required

1 t vanilla powder

¼ c lemon zest

Crust

  1. Mix all ingredients together well in a food processor, starting with the dry ingredients, then adding the ‘wet’ ones.
  2. Press into plastic-lined fluted French tart pan to desired thickness. Make sure the rim of your crust has an even height and thickness all around!
  3. Chill crust in freezer for at least 15min or until ready to fill.

Filling

  1. Blend all ingredients in a powerful high-speed blender until very smooth. Start with cashews, coconut sugar and the water-based liquids. When the cashews resemble a smooth thick cream add coconut oil. The flavours can be adjusted last. Adjust liquids as required for the blender to still turn the mixture over. You will have to use the plunger or a spatula to help mixing the filling. Give your blender motor a break from time to time and monitor the temperature of your filling closely. Too much water will make your final cake runny and too little liquids will make your filling too thick for your blender to turn it over without burning a fuse.
  2. To fill the crust properly the blender should contain about 1.2-1.5l of mixture.
  3. Fill the crust and chill in freezer overnight.
  4. Remove from tart pan and wrap with plastic film. Label with flavour and production date.
  5. Store in freezer.
  6. Remove 15-20min prior to cutting and serving

Other flavours can be achieved with red grape juice, acai berry powder, goji berries, chai extract, chai- or cherry concentrate, goji/apricot, cranberry, 2c of melted frozen blueberry/strawberry etc. Make sure to reduce the amount of water accordingly!!!

Good luck!

René

🙂

PS: Next trick: make two different fillings in one pie shell!

Goji Chocolate Cheesecake halves

Raw Food Survival Class – The Art of Raw Chocolate

…with samples, of course!

Raw Chocolate Buttons

Believe it! We are announcing a raw chocolate class.

This will be the ultimate in making delectable desserts, snacks, cakes and presents using raw cacao in all its various guises – right on time for Easter.

Mark this date in your calendar:

Wednesday, March 28th, 7 – 9.30pm,
Wise Cicada Cafe, 23 Crowhurst Street, Newmarket
Auckland, New Zealand

You will learn:

  • How to make a variety of simple, yet stunning chocolate cakes, cookies, drinks and desserts.
  • How to make delicious shakes, using raw cacao and other superfoods.
  • How to entertain friends and family with your own sweet chocolate treats, pralines and chocolate bars.
  • Which flavours enhance or combine well with chocolate.
  • What ratios are required for a rounded flavour and also consistency.
  • What secret ingredients will make any of your creations a hit with your audience.

As always, a complete recipe booklet and samples are included.

Chocolate Raspberry Tartlets

Your investment: $60.-/person

Space is limited to 20 people. Book yours today by ringing René on 0275551622 or contacting us here.

Oh, upon frequent request at our previous classes we will actually have some of the presented sweets for sale after the class. Bring your piggy bank!

See you there!

René

🙂

Chocolate Cheesecake

Juicy raw apple cake fresh from Santa’s kitchen

Here is a treat you might want to spoil your loved ones with on Christmas. The recipe – originally inspired by my dear friend Chad Sarno – tolerates a lot of alteration, as long as you keep the amounts the same. You can substitute the cranberries with dried apples or dried pineapple pieces. Should you have run out of organic currants use sultanas. The raisin paste can happily turn into date paste. Oh! Before I forget it, you can replace the apples completely or just in part with grated carrots.

Remember though, what holds this cake together is the proper balance between wet and dry ingredients, so stick to the ratios and make sure you let the cake rest for at least two hours before serving – overnight is even better.

The topping/icing of the cake can either be cashew cream – see below – or a bit more liquid coconut cream (less coconut oil) as used in our wedding cake (see there).

Enjoy the bake-free preparation and the happily fed family! Careful, this cake is very filling!

Sample of Raw Apple CakeRaw Apple Cake

Serves 6

¨        2 c apple, grated, fresh (approx. 4 small apples)

¨        1 ½ c organic dried cranberries

¨        2 c pecans or walnuts, soaked, dehydrated and ground into flour. .

¨        ¼ c currants

¨        1 c raisins, soaked 2-4 hours and blended into a paste

¨        1 T cinnamon

¨        ½ T orange zest, grated (optional)

¨        2 T carob powder or mesquite flour

¨        pinch of nutmeg

¨        1-2cm grated ginger (optional)

Method

  1. Place all ingredients into mixing bowl and handmix gently, yet thoroughly, set aside.
  2. Using a 6-inch spring form pan, line the bottom with plastic wrap. If you happen to use a pie dish, line the whole dish with plastic wrap (see picture)
    filled cake form before turning it over
  3. Press ’cake’ into pan firmly.
  4. Turn over on a serving platter and remove spring form pan and plastic wrap. Cut into individual pieces now, if you prefer to serve as such.
  5. Frost or garnish with cashew cream.
  6. Chill before serving.

Note with extra cake, form into bars and dehydrate for 10-12 hours for a great snack on the trail.

Cashew Cream

Makes 2 cups

  • 2 ½ c cashews, soaked over night
  • enough filtered water to just cover the cashews in blender jar
  • 1 T organic maple juice
  • 1 t lime juice
  • ½ t vanilla extract
  1. Blend all ingredients in high speed blender into a smooth cream.
  2. Fill into garnishing bag and garnish cake or use as icing.

individual raw apple cake bitesHappy Holidays!

René

🙂

Raw Wedding Cake – whip up, chill, marry, eat!

This is an easy one and proved to be quick enough to make the morning before our wedding last Friday.

Yes! We did it.

On 11.11.11 and it was actually shortly after 11am that we exchanged rings on the beach of Cherry Bay at the bottom of Harrison Scenic Reserve in Opua, Bay of Islands, New Zealand – check on Google Earth for the evidence! (35°18’21.02″ S 174°06’34.64″ E)

Lydia and Rene newly wed

Oh, you are waiting for the recipe right?!

This cake was first made at the 2004 International Raw Food festival in Portland, Oregon and won the first price then. Slightly altered for our wedding 7 years after, here it is!

Strawberry and Coconut Cream CakeStrawberry and Coconut Cream Cake

12 pieces from a 20cm spring form (so keep your wedding party small!)

Ingredients:

Crust

  • 1.5 cups cashews, unsoaked
  • 1.5 cups shredded coconut
  • 6 small dates, pitted
  • 1 Tbsp agave nectar
  • 1 tsp coconut oil

Berry filling

  • 500g fresh or frozen strawberries or blueberries, defrosted
  • 6-8 dates, pitted
  • 1-2 tsp organic vanilla essence, depending on strength
  • 1 tsp lemon juice, amount depending on acidity of the berries you use
  • 1 Tbsp psyllium husk powder
    (as a rule of thumb use 1 Tbsp psyllium husk powder for 2 cups of liquid mixture)

Coconut cream

  • Meat from 3-5 young coconuts. It should make about 2 cups when blended with the coconut water.
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup young coconut water
  • 1/2 cups premium virgin coconut oil (use more for a firmer cream)
  • 1 tsp organic vanilla essence
  • seeds from half a vanilla bean, cut open lengthwise and scrape out seeds
  • 2-3 Tbsp agave nectar, according to desired sweetness
  • 1/2 tsp lime juice, optional

Method:

  • To make crust grind cashews in a food processor into a fine flour. Set aside.
  •  Process coconut until broken down into coarse meal, add dates. Process till dates are finely distributed in coconut mixture. Add agave nectar, coconut oil and cashew flour. Process till a homogenous dough forms.
  • Press into a spring form (line bottom with plastic wrap) or pie dish with the bottom of the crust 5mm thick. Press sides up about 2cm and finish with a flexible rubber spatula so the whole crust rim has an even height and thickness. This might take a bit patience and practice. So don’t attempt to make your first cake of this sort on your wedding day! 🙂
  • In a blender combine defrosted berries, vanilla essence, lemon juice and dates. Blend at high speed into a smooth liquid.
  • Adjust flavour. Then add psyllium husk powder and blend again to finely disperse it throughout the mixture.
  • Pour filling into the pie crust. Make sure it stays inside the perfectly shaped crust rim. Flatten the top with a spatula.
  • Refrigerate for 20 min to allow to set.
  • Combine all ingredients for the coconut cream in a high speed blender and blend until a smooth and creamy consistency is achieved. This can take a few minutes. Make sure the mixture is folding over while blending. Upon your own risk open the blender lid and use a rubber spatula to fold the cream from the sides of the blender jar to the centre until a vortex forms. This process will warm up both your blender motor and the cream. Keep it raw and monitor the temperature of machine and cream!
  • When your cream has reached the right consistency pour it over the berry layer into the cake tin or pie dish. Tap the cake a few times hard onto your counter to allow air bubbles rise to the surface of the cream.
  • Level the top of the coconut cream with a spatula, then put the cake into the freezer for about one hour for the coconut cream to set.
  • Garnish with sliced strawberries, lemon zest and mint.
  • Enjoy and be happy ever after!

René

🙂

Strawberry Coconut Cream Cake, cut