Delightful Decadence – April In The Raw: Raw Peppermint Mocha Truffle Cake

After setting in the fridge for 2 hours

When Brittany asked me to participate in the April In The Raw event.  I happily said yes.  Salad seemed too simple to do.  Smoothies also too easy.  I wanted a challenge.  First, I made a Raw Pina Colada Pie that was pretty good.  Then, Iris challenged me a month ago when we were trading comments with Brittany about gluten-free cake after Iris posted a link to her Gluten-free, Vegan Birthday Cake that she posted last Summer.

I have not had cake since going gluten-free over a year ago.  I am not tempted to buy any kind of gluten-free baking mix, be it brownie, cookie, or cake to make a quick fix.  1) It keeps me from making too many baked goods.  2) It forces me to get used to gluten-free baking from scratch.  3) Baking from scratch always tastes better and you have control over what goes in the goodies.

So, Iris decided not having cake in over a year was not good and that maybe I should make a raw cake.

That did it.  The wheels started turning.  I had already made the Raw Pina Colada Pie and still had some pineapple.  Why not try a pina colada cake?  Turns out it was even better than the filling for the Raw Pina Colada Pie, but didn’t set well.  You can bet I will be trying it again the next time I have pineapple.

Raw Peppermint Mocha Truffle Cake

The wheels spun more and I started thinking about truffles and Peppermint Mochas.

You can thank PMS for this.  That, and my love for chocolate.  Dark and rich.

After mixing everything together, I needed a taste to make sure I didn’t need to add anything before pouring it into the dish.  I was in love.  No adjusting necessary.  For 2 hours I paced and obsessed.  I wanted a pieced of that cake.  It was mostly set as you can see in the first picture.  Later, that night I took another piece out and took the second picture.  The edges are a bit difficult to get out without tearing it all up but it was set better this time.

Last week, I had a piece with me at work and was eating it in the break room after finishing dinner.  One of our operators came in for her dinner break as I started to eat it and she commented on how good it looked.  I offered her a taste but she turned it down even after I told her it was refined sugar-free and had nutrient dense ingredients.   We started chatting about other stuff and she was trying to tell me something, but the more I ate, the more side-tracked I became.  I focused more on each bite I took both mentally and physically.  Savoring.  I realized all of a sudden that she stopped talking and was quiet.  Oops!  I looked up and apologized immediately.  She told me not to worry and said that I looked like I was enjoying it.  Boy was I!  That my friends, is what chocolate wasted is all about.

I wasn’t joking about nutrient dense.  Almond meal, raw cacao, coconut oil, and coconut cream concentrate.  Tons of protein, good for you flavonoids, healthy oils, and anti-inflammatory.  Plus, this will keep well in the fridge for a while, so you don’t feel like you have to eat it all at once, even if you have the desire to after that first bite.  I still have 2 pieces.

Raw Peppermint Mocha Truffle Cake

2 cups almond meal

1 cup raw cacao powder (I used Navitas Naturals)

2 tablespoons ground espresso (I used decaf, you can use regular if you want a real good buzz.  bzzz bzzz bzzz)

1/4 cup coconut cream concentrate

1/4 cup coconut oil

1 cup water or coconut milk (unsweetened)

3/4 cup pure maple syrup

2 teaspoons peppermint extract

Whisk together dry ingredients (almond meal, raw cacao powder, and ground espresso) in a large mixing bowl.  Mix together remaining ingredients in another bowl until well combined.  Slowly pour the wet ingredients into the dry while mixing together and the same time with a large spoon.  Mix until well combined.  It should look like shiny cake batter that is a little thin.  Pour into an 8×8 baking dish and chill at least 6 hours.   You can garnish pieces with some raw cacao nibs and mint leaves.

You can use this to make truffles, too.  After chilling 2 hours you can remove the batter, scoop it out, roll into balls and coat with your choice of ingredients.  My choice would be raw cacao nibs.  You can also pour the batter into ramekins or muffin a muffin tin with liners to make individual servings if you are making this for a dinner party.

This post is linked to Slightly Indulgent Tuesday at Simply Sugar and Gluten-Free and at April In The Raw at Real Sustenance.

Raw Pina Colada Pie

 

Raw Pina Colada Pie

 

Today is one of those days.  Sleep deprived from my crazy work schedule.  My body not allowing me to sleep for at least 2 hours arriving home from a closing shift and its insane need to make me wake up at the same time every morning that I don’t work an opening shift whether I get 8 hours of sleep or not.  Today, it allowed me 15 more minutes only to find there were 2 men outside talking rather loudly which prevented me from going back to sleep.

Now, before you start doling out helpful sleep advice.  I’ve tried it all.  Melatonin.  Passion Flower.  Valerian.  Everything short of prescription medication.  My doctor is thinks that once my body’s systems are back in balance that I’ll be able to sleep better.

So, here I am, wanting to write a blog post, needing to get dinner made before my closing shift tonight, and desperately wanting more sleep which will not come (every attempt to take a nap lately ends in frustration).

I wanted to share the balsamic kale I made yesterday, but as tired as I am, pulling out the camera to upload the pictures would take too much time.  I figured I’d share one of my raw recipes that I was working on for April In The Raw since people were asking for the recipe as soon as I posted the picture on Facebook.

The idea for this pie was conceived when I made this pie last year.  I came up with the crust because I knew a nut crust would throw Chaz off even if it would go well with the berries.  Chaz doesn’t like nuts in his food.  He’ll eat nuts alone, but he’s not really fond of them in food.  My next thought was coconut.  He loves coconut.  And I knew I could use coconut cream to give it the firmness to stick together.  He liked the crust so much he started thinking about a pina colada pie.  He wanted it thickened with agar agar, which he uses when he makes yokan.  Made from seaweed, it would boost the nutritional content of the pie.  However, when I was reading up on it to make this pie, I discovered I’d have to cook the pineapple in order for the enzymes to not mess up the thickening properties of the agar agar.

I was mulling over what to use to thicken the pie so it would set.  Chia seeds?  I have black ones and it would change the look of the pie.  Flax seeds?  I have golden flax so it could have worked.  I just wanted it easy and not have to let seeds sit in water to get gelatinous.  Coconut cream.

Bingo!

Easy.  Less ingredients.  No fuss.  With the difficulty of having the raw berry pie set, I let this one set overnight just to be sure.  Beautiful results in firmness, texture, and taste.  For me, at least.  Chaz didn’t think it was sweet enough.  I didn’t add anything in it to sweeten it more.

Raw Pina Colada Pie

1 coconut pie crust

5 cups diced fresh ripe pineapple, not overripe – if there isn’t a lot of green on the skin and you can smell it before you pick it up, it’s too ripe.

1 – 1 1/2 cups coconut cream concentrate (I used Tropical Traditions)

Splash of water

Process pineapple, coconut cream, and water in a food processor until the texture is creamy.  Pour into prepared crust and refrigerate until set.  I like to let it sit for at least 24 hours.  Serve with fresh sliced pineapple.

The pineapple garnish will enhance the pineapple flavor.  Test the filling before pouring into the crust.  Since I did not add any type of sweetener, you might not find it sweet enough and decide to add a little sugar, honey, stevia, etc.  If you do decide to sweeten it, I highly recommend being conservative with it so you can maintain a good pineapple coconut balance.

 

Raw Pina Colada Mac Nut Cream Cake

 

The raw cake attempt I made would also work as a good pie filling.  My problem with the cake was the macadamia nut cream was too runny and I didn’t strain the excess water out of it so it was more pudding-like than cake-like.  I have no doubt that is all that needs to happen for this to set, so if if you want to try it, be my guest!  It had really great flavor though. The added macadamia nut cream gave a slight hint of sweetness to enhance the pineapple.

Macadamia Nut Cream

2 cups macadamia nuts covered in water

6 dates covered in 2 cups of water

Soak the nuts and dates in separate bowls for 20 minutes.  Drain water from the nuts and place in a blender.  Add dates with the water to the blender.  Blend on high until smooth, thick, and creamy.  If it is a little runny, let it strain through a fine mesh sieve or cheesecloth.  This should yield about 3 cups of macadamia nut cream.

Raw Pina Colada Mac Nut Cream filling

4 cups pineapple

2 cups macadamia nut cream

1 cup coconut cream concentrate

Place ingredients in a food processor and process until smooth.  Pour into a coconut pie crust for a raw pie or into an 8 x 8 baking dish for cake and sprinkle with shredded coconut.  Chill overnight.  Serve with fresh pineapple and a dollop of macadamia nut cream.

Raw Experimenting

This isn’t quite the post I was planning on for today.  What I planned was sharing about was being a stand-in parent.  One of the boys I used to work with was supposed to come up with his girlfriend to visit me to today. Of course he’s not really a boy anymore.  He’s almost 25 and since I don’t work with him anymore, he tends to call me Mom.  So, I’ll save that for another day.

The last month or so, I’ve been messing around with raw recipes in preparation for next month’s blog event, April In The Raw, hosted by Brittany of Real Sustenance.

I started off by working on a vision Chaz had after I made a raw pie last year and created a raw coconut crust to go with the filling recipe by Carrie at Ginger Lemon Girl.  He wanted a pineapple filling using agar agar to thicken the filling.  Well, I did some research and high acidic fruits like pineapple need to be cooked when using agar agar.  So that was out of the question.  Instead I used coconut cream concentrate.  I liked it, but it wasn’t sweet enough for Chaz and he felt the crust was missing something, even though it was the same crust I made before.

Then, Iris (The Daily Dietribe) and Brittany got raw cake into my head after discussing with them on Facebook that I haven’t had cake in over a year.  Gluten-free cake is not new to me at all.  In fact, I found a recipe for a Chocolate Chinchilla years ago that I’ve made a few times for a friend with Celiac.  He loves it.  I turned the raw cake idea  over and over and over again in the noggin before trying it.   My macadamia nut cream turned out a little runny so the cake didn’t set well, but it had a great flavor.  I will have to get more pineapple and macadamia nuts to try it again.

I attempted a mango coconut ice cream the other day.  I loved the flavor of it before I put it in the freezer.  I didn’t add anything to sweeten it, so of course it wasn’t sweet enough for Chaz, again.  While it was in the freezer, I had ideas of cutting into the other mango I had for garnish and soaking it in mango rum or spiced rum and then topping the ice cream with it.  By the time I got home from work the next day, the ice cream was rock solid.  If I had popsicle molds they would have been perfect.  Almost.  From what I could chip off to get a taste, some of the natural sweetness was gone.

Today, I went round two with the ice cream and cake.  The ice cream is still mango coconut, just changed it up a little.  The cake is a Peppermint Mocha Truffle.  Truffle might be stretching it a bit, but that was my initial inspiration.  The batter for the cake was amazingly like real cake batter and I figure if it doesn’t set right, I can always bake it and give you a flourless cake recipe!

That’s not all though.  I still have other things running amok in my head.  Like gluten-free poke, marinated raw fish, a favorite back home.   I can’t find the seaweed I need either in town or online to ship so I’ll be winging it  and hoping for the best.

*looks at the fridge wistfully, waiting for the raw desserts to be ready*  Best thing about the desserts?  I used raw local honey in the ice cream and pure maple syrup in the cake.