Everyday Food Blog

no-bake cake

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I'm not the Master Cake Decorator that my Mom is. More skillful hands could have made this cake prettier. But I made my own happiness with this cake, and it would have taken a good deal to improve on that.

I discovered this Chocolate Raspberry Fudge Ganache Cake in Ani's Raw Food Desserts book by Ani Phyo. The cake is made of a short list of simple ingredients, and is raw, gluten-free, dairy-free, soy-free, and has no refined sugar (just dates and agave). But most important, it is amazingly rich and delicious. After I made one, I eagerly waited 6 months till my birthday to make another.

In a (wal)nut shell, here's what I made mine with: cake: walnuts, Medjool dates, good-quality cocoa, kosher salt; frosting: dates, agave nectar, avocado, cocoa filling: frozen thawed raspberries (though I would have preferred fresh, these worked fine). Process, mash and mold, frost, and you're done. Cool (literally)!

The cake is small by birthday-cake standards, but this one packs a wallop (a good wallop). It reminds us of cakey delights found in tiny cafés around Manhattan for anywhere from $4 to $7 a slice. In fact, it is so rich I had to bring half of it to work so it would be eaten while still fresh—it's for savoring not gobbling. Reactions varied at the office; from the not-so-adventurous who couldn't get the idea of the avocado in frosting out of their mind, to "not bad", to those who, like myself, really enjoyed it (and kept coming back for more). So I can't say it's for everyone (and what is, really?), but for me it was tops!

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The whole cake just takes a food processor and some measuring cups.

1 The whole cake just takes a food processor and some measuring cups.

My first attempt at assembly proved too crumbly. I put it back in the food processor.

2 My first attempt at assembly proved too crumbly. I put it back in the food processor.

Dates, walnuts, and cocoa processed till it clings well when pressed. Much better. Note the waxed paper I dumped the mixture on; it's key.

3 Dates, walnuts, and cocoa processed till it clings well when pressed. Much better. Note the waxed paper I dumped the mixture on; it's key.

The recipe calls for 2 layers; I divided the mixture in 3. Making balls helps the layer-pressing.

4 The recipe calls for 2 layers; I divided the mixture in 3. Making balls helps the layer-pressing.

Patty-cake practice comes in handy.

5 Patty-cake practice comes in handy.

Purée the dates for the frosting.

6 Purée the dates for the frosting.

Yes, it's green with the avocado in. Don't worry, it will be rich brown with the cocoa (and no one need know...).

7 Yes, it's green with the avocado in. Don't worry, it will be rich brown with the cocoa (and no one need know...).

See? This frosting is luscious. I could eat just this.

8 See? This frosting is luscious. I could eat just this.

Each layer gets frosting plus raspberries.

9 Each layer gets frosting plus raspberries.

I used frozen raspberries since I didn't find fresh that day. Here I'm adding the second layer. The crack in it is easy to press back together.

10 I used frozen raspberries since I didn't find fresh that day. Here I'm adding the second layer. The crack in it is easy to press back together.

A pre-frosting look at the assembled cake.

11 A pre-frosting look at the assembled cake.

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