I grew up eating cooked cakes, sugary cakes, wheaty cakes…. and I spent a lot of time denying myself cake, wondering whether I should have a slice of cake, being the only one not allowed to eat cake, loving cake, hating cake and then later on, before eating cake, wondering if it would make me sick due to an ever-increasing wheat intolerance.
So five years ago I started experimenting, making my own cakes, using a variety of ingredients that I felt were special, tasty, indulgent yet nutritious.
Cakes, in my opinion, are treats, even the ones I now make, which are full of nuts, seeds, berries, raw honey, raw cacao butters and oils… but a worthwhile treat and should be nutritious and decadent at the same time, with no compromise on taste or presentation.
So here are my top five raw cake-making tips for you to try at home!
1. Get to know your new best friend: raw caramel.
I made this one day by accident and haven't looked back since! I make this raw caramel for so many cakes and treats and it is devoured and loved by all.
- Soak 200 grams medjool dates for 1 hour.
- Process in a food processor with 1 tbsp raw honey, 1 tbsp almond butter and 1 tbsp cacao butter
- Use in all variety of delicious treats for your family or just pop in an airtight jar or container and dip in!
2. Feel free to use nature's finest colors.
I love the fact that nature knows best. Every time! Ok, so I haven't found a natural blue yet (I really don't get how spirulina always winds up being in the blue foods - it's green!)
So here is my low-down on some of the best colors.
- Turmeric - use a tsp or up to 1 tbsp in your cashew flour or treats to achieve a really lovely vibrant yellow
- Chlorella - yes, it can smell a bit funny… algae can do that to a nostril! But… it's really good for you and worth getting used to. Just add up to 1 tsp for an amazing green! Add crystal manna to the mix and you'll even get a bit of magic going on in your creations!
- Beetroot - powder or juice -'tis up to you! I love using the powder as it's quite sweet (and also doubles up as a good blusher!) Mix 1 -3 tbsps into your nut flours, smoothies or nut milk shakes.
- Cacao - cacao (or cocoa) powder brings us the shades of brown, of the earth, of the grounding elements, (which is funny as I have experienced quite a few cacao highs in my time). So, have this in moderation. Use it wisely. But enjoy the deep dark, or lighter brown hues, that remind us of autumn leaves, homely feelings and feeling really good. I now mix cacao and raw carob together, as cacao can over stimulate the body and mind. If you can't 'do cacao', then 'do carob' instead!
- Purple corn flour - this flour is so good to make a great purple! And add to beetroot and you get a most exquisite looking colour indeed! Mix it up with nut flours, shakes and puddings.
Also consider grinding up pistachios, soaking and blending dried mango and crushing freeze-dried strawberries for an array of beautiful un-cooking. There are so many colours in the world to use, so feel free to experiment and share your findings!
3. Got flour?
When I make reference to nut flours, I nearly always get a quizzical look. It's the same look I get when I mention almond milk. If you get a decent high speed blender, you'll be able to make nut flours in seconds. For example, pop in 200 g cashew nuts, grind for 5 seconds and you're done! Keep grinding and you might get cashew nut butter - YUM! If a high speed blender is not in your foreseeable budget, try one of those coffee grinders. You will need to do smaller batches but I hear they work a treat!<
4. Swap cream for avocado.
Have you tried using avocado in cakes or puddings yet? Whizz up a couple of avocados with 1/2 a cup of nut or hemp milk, a tbsp raw cacao powder, some raw honey and sprinkle on some bee pollen or shelled hemp seeds. DIVINE! If you add 3 tbsp cacao butter or coconut oil and 2 tbsp lecithin, you will get a cheese cake!
Make a quick base in your food processor - 100g raisins, 100g macadamia nut, 1 tsp vanilla pod seeds and 1 tbsp melted caca butter - press into a silicone mould of your choice and pour aforementioned choco/avocado mixture in… amazing!
5. Don't be afraid to experiment.
I love trying out new flavours and through trial and error you will see what works and what is not so favourable! I really love freeze-dried strawberry and black pepper, turmeric and lemon, raw honey and orange juice - there are some winning combinations there and they don't always have to be weird. So happy raw cake making and I will leave you with a recipe from my new e book!
Raw Rolos (Rawlos)
For the sticky caramel
- 1 cup medjool dates (soaked for 15 minutes in hot water)
- 2 tbsp peanut butter (Whole Earth is my favourite - please use a nut butter of your choice
- 2 tbsp raw honey or sweetener of your choice (coconut syrup is AMAZING!)
- 5 tbsp cacao butter (melted)
Whizz in a blender until you get a smooth caramel cream and pop in a bowl in the freezer whilst you make the chocolate.
I like to leave the caramel mixture in overnight so it hardens as you can then get small spoonfuls and it’s easier to work with.
For the chocolate
- 1 cup cacao butter
- 5 tbsp shelled hemp seeds
- 3 tbsp raw honey/agave
- 2 tbsp chocolate powder (or raw carob or a mix of both)
- 1 tbsp lucuma
Blend really well until you get a smooth yet runny chocolate cream.
In moulds of your choice (I like the 'Rolo' shape but also like hearts, flowers, butterflies, animals etc) pour enough chocolate to cover the base.
Pop in the freezer for a few minutes.
Spoon in a dollop of caramel into each mould and press down lightly with your finger or a cold spoon.
Now pour more chocolate over the top (I either spoon it in or pour my chocolate mixture into a squeezy bottle for better precision)
Set in the freezer and eat!