Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Raw Chocolately Awesomeness

Man, oh man, do I have some good news for all of you chocoholics and dessert lovers out there.  There is an amazing chocolate cake that is not only vegan, it's actually - wait for it - good for you.  For reals.  Yeah, yeah, I know what you're thinking.  Either I'm delusional from eating too much holiday Field Roast or this so-called cake is going to be crappy tasting or hard to make or something.  NO!  Rejoice, dessert lovers.  This cake is full of awesome with a little bit of awesome spread on top to boot.  I know, right!

One of my new year's resolutions last year was to try to incorporate more raw food into my diet.  I really didn't end up eating raw nearly as much as I was originally hoping, but I have learned a bit more about it and made it much less scary to try.  I realized that raw desserts are a really, really good place to start.  I have a few raw food recipe books.  (It's hard to call them cookbooks when you don't really "cook" raw stuff.  hehe.)  The most recent one that I purchased is Ani Phyo's Raw Food Desserts book.

You know how most raw food books are kind of irritating because they all assume we all own a high-speed blender like a Vita-Mix (I wish!) and we all have a dehydrator (I do have one of these, but most people don't.) and we all have a juicer (again with I wish!).  Yeah.  It's annoying because the average person who is new to raw food will think it's all super hard to make and you have to buy all of these mega-expensive appliances to make it.  That's why this book is so great.  I have one of Ani Phyo's other books and almost every recipe needs a Vita-Mix and my food processor doesn't really get things to the same consistency.  This book, however, only uses one of those in one or two recipes.  Most recipes you do need a food processor or blender to get things going and lots  you only need your hands and a knife.  Cool, huh?!  I've made a few things out of here and all are super tasty.  The Almond Frangipane Kream is a favorite (though I really dislike that she spells cream and milk the way she does.)


This is the first time I've made the Raspberry Ganache Fudge Cake and it certainly will not be the last.  The photo just makes it look so yummy that I've been wanting to make it ever since I got this book.  I thought this was a fitting dessert for a big holiday dinner, especially since most of us have been eating lots of cookies and cupcakes and chocolates and stuff for the last few weeks.

Don't be fooled by this being a raw cake.  This bad boy is rich and sinful tasting and sooooo good.  I've always been a bit skeptical about using avocado in desserts.  I've heard so many people say they do it with good results, but to me that just sounds weird.  I'm a convert, now.  Don't be scared by the avocado in the frosting.  Trust me on this, you won't taste it and it'll come out amazing.  One note when making this:  you really need to use raw walnuts.  Roasted ones will not give the correct texture.  They're not that hard to find, though, so don't worry.  Okay, I've rambled on enough.  Here's the recipe.  Go make it.  You can thank me later.

Raspberry Ganache Fudge Cake from Ani's Raw Food Desserts by Ani Phyo

3 cups raw walnuts, dry (It's best to soak the nuts if you have time.  Overnight is best, but a few hours is okay, too.  Just dry them off before you start making this.)
2/3 cup unsweetened cacao powder or carob powder
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1 cup pitted Medjool dates

1/3 cup semi-soft pitted Medjool dates (just soak them in cold water for a little bit to soften if yours are hard)
1/4 cup agave syrup
1/2 cup ripe avocado flesh (from about 1 medium avocado)
1/3 cup cacao powder or carob powder

1/2 cup raspberries

To make the cake, combine the walnuts, cacao powder and salt in the food processor and pulse until coarsely mixed.  Avoid over-processing.  Add the dates and pulse until mixed well.  Shape into 2 stackable cakes of desired shape and set aside.  (I found it easiest to use my smallest springform pan to shape these.  You might also want to use a cut circle of parchment paper in the bottom of whatever pan you're using so they're easier to get out.)

To make the frosting, combine the dates and agave syrup in the food processor and process until smooth.  Add the avocado and process until smooth again.  Add the cacao powder and process until smooth yet again.

To serve, frost the top of one of the cakes with half the frosting and top with the raspberries.  Stack the second cake on top and frost the top and side.  Serve immediately, or place in the refrigerator for a couple of hours to firm up.

The cake on its own will keep in the fridge for many weeks.  The frosting will keep separately in the fridge for 1 week.  The assembled cake with raspberries will keep in the fridge for up to 3 days.


  1. i'm curious about raw foods but i don't have any of the fancy equipment either. i'll have to check out that ani phyo book. the cake looks fantastic!

  2. It does look good, but I think you're playing a little fast and loose with the term "good for you". That cake is really high in fat and calories, and probably fairly high in sugar too.

  3. You might be surprised at just how healthy raw foods can be, Anonymous. You're making blanket statements without considering the ingredients. Not all fat is bad. Sure, cakes of any kind have calories, but I think we all know that dessert is an optional part of our diets.

    This particular cake is made ONLY from walnuts, cacao nibs, cacao powder, sea salt and dates. Walnuts are very high in Omega-3 fats which are good for you and can actually help reduce bad cholesterol levels. They're also a very rich source of vitamin E, manganese, copper, potassium, calcium, iron, magnesium, zinc and selenium. That's not even mentioning the fiber and protein. Cacao (especially the nibs) are high in antioxidants, vitamins E, C, D, A and B1, potassium, magnesium and calcium. Dates are a really great source of fiber, potassium and especially iron. Yes, dates have higher levels of natural sugars than the nuts and cacao, but since it's not a processed, refined sugar, it's much more easily digested by your body and causes a much slower glycemic spike. Here's a link with some great information about how the body processes fruit sugars in relation to processed sugars:

    The frosting on top is made of ONLY dates, agave nectar, avocado and cacao powder. Agave nectar is still a sugar, granted, but much, much better for you than processed sugars. It's sweeter than sugar, but has a much, much lower glycemic index. This too doesn't cause the sharp rise and fall of blood sugar levels. Avocados are a good source of fiber, vitamins C, E, K, B vitamins, potassium and copper. Avocados are a great source of monounsaturated fats which can also help reduce cholesterol and boost the immune system among other things.