I can’t believe it’s not chocolate!

raw chocolate cheesecake
Ok, so it is chocolate – just not the roasted and highly sugared variety that most of us know by this name.

My latest experiment, and this post, comes off the back of other recent raw chocolate adventures [detailed in my posts It’s all about the chocolate, Part 3 and How I turned a melted mass of chocolate mess into a dessert worth eating].

This rich raw chocolate ‘cheesecake’ is so very, amazingly, ridiculously good that you wouldn’t know it is 100% raw, organic, dairy free, sugar free and gluten free; suitable for coeliac sufferers and vegans alike. The smooth texture is mousse-like and most definitely naughty in flavour.

I have to admit to taking my inspiration from The Raw Kitchen at the Fremantle Markets a few weeks ago. I brought a piece of their chocolate cheesecake home with me and tasted it over slow hours, lovingly rolling the melting mouthfuls over tantalised tastebuds. This creation is not exactly the same – but I still think it’s pretty awesome, just quietly.

You may have heard the term ‘red velvet’ before as a reference to the colour created by using chocolate and beetroot together; this cherry pairing with chocolate creates a mouthwatering flavour and unctuous texture that will leave you wanting more.

Recipe #101: Velvet chocolate cheesecake. Yields ~12 slices, depending on how generous you are feeling. Created in conjunction with Mac, my Thermomix, however you could equally use a food processor. All of my featured ingredients are raw and organic.

You will need – for the base:
► 6 dates
► 50g blanched almonds, finely ground into meal [or you could use almond meal to start with]
► 70g Brazil nuts [aside: just eating two Brazil nuts per day can boost levels of selenium and general health!]
► 50g walnuts
► 40g hazelnuts
► 50g shredded coconut
► 15g raw cacao powder
► 25g honey [note that I would ordinarily use agave syrup here, except that I was running low. Just remember that using honey = not vegan-friendly]
► 15g maple syrup
► good pinch of salt
► macadamia oil (may not be needed)

You will need – for the filling (all ingredients at room temperature):
► 100g coconut oil/butter
► 2½ cups cashews, soaked in cold water overnight
► 120g agave syrup
► 380g cherries and their syrup, pitted [I used a jar of organic cherries in their juice, available from a good organic grocer. You could also use frozen cherries; there should be jars of morello cherries available from your local supermarket if all else fails]
► 125g cacao powder
► seeds of 1 vanilla bean
► good pinch of salt

You will need – to serve:
► cherries
► maple syrup

Start by lining the base of a 20cm round spring-loaded cake tin with baking paper.

To make the base, process the dates finely and add the almond meal. Add the rest of the nuts and process until you have a mix resembling large crumbs; try not to overprocess, as texture variation in the base is a good thing here! If you have a Thermomix, you can stir through the remaining ingredients on ‘speed soft’ set to 2 or 3; for food processor users, remove the nut and date mix and stir through the remaining ingredients by hand.

Take a little of the mixture in your hand and press it firmly together by making a fist around the mix. It should clump together.
> If it doesn’t stick together, at least loosely, add a swirl of macadamia oil (or another mild-flavoured oil) to the mixture and mix well.

Press the base mixture into the prepared cake tin, ensuring that the mixture forms a wall at least partway up the side of the tin. Chill this while you make the filling.

For the filling, heat the coconut oil to liquefy it. You can do this in your Thermomix at speed 2, 37°C, for 2-3 minutes or you can use a saucepan over a hotplate.

Add the soaked (and strained) cashews to the coconut oil and process until fine [Thermomix – speed 10 for up to a minute > ensure you do all of your processing at 37°C, or the coconut oil will start to solidify], then add all other ingredients and process on high speed until you can not see any more grainy bits (this takes 1-5 minutes in the Thermomix, depending on the consistency you like).
> If you find your mixture is not processing well, add a splash of cold water to the mix.

I strained the mixture through a fine chinois (very fine sieve) for an ultrafine texture, but you don’t have to do this.

Remove the base from the fridge and pour over the mixture. Use a spatula and a few good taps against a table to level the top of the cake, then chill for at least 2 hours (or an hour in the freezer) – best results come after 4 hours of chill time.

To serve, I steeped some extra cherries in maple syrup, which I blobbed over generous slices of the cake. You could equally use your favourite fresh or frozen berries instead.

We were listening to Beady Belle as we indulged.

more raw choc cheesecake

I hope you enjoy this just as much as my dinner guests did last Monday night!

H 🙂


Addendum of 2 August 2010: I added a note about the use of honey in the base. Although I think the flavour works well, you may need to use another sweetener, such as agave syrup, if you are planning on serving this dessert to someone on a strictly vegan diet.

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18 Comments Add yours

  1. Mattcho says:

    Wow, that looks amazing. Not your average Sarah Lee cake.
    P.S. sorry Sarah, no hard feelings 🙂

    1. Hannah says:

      Thanks for the compliment, Mattcho. It is an awesome dessert!

      H 🙂

  2. Kate Quinn says:

    Ooh that looks so delicious! I’m sure Em at Raw Kitchen would share her cheesecake making secrets if you ask nicely 🙂

    1. Hannah says:

      Thanks for your comment and the recommendation, Kate – I was working up the courage to ask on my 4th visit!

      H 🙂

  3. Looks amazing Hannah. I have no special dietary needs to be addressed by such a dish, but I think I actually might make this anyway. Might hit you up for supplier info soon 🙂

    1. Hannah says:

      Thanks so much, Conor! This dessert leaves you with a lighter and less gluggy feeling than similar high dairy/sucrose versions, so I think it’s a great, lower guilt option to try even if you don’t have these intolerances.

      As for suppliers, it’s no secret that I frequent Organic on Charles, PAWS (Beaufort St), and Kakulas Brothers & Kakulas Sisters. I am happy to share more via email if you like.

      H 🙂

  4. Natalie Skinner says:

    I had the cheesecake at the Fremantle market also and absolutely loved it! Looking forward to recreating it in my kitchen with this recipe 🙂

    1. Hannah says:

      Good to hear, Natalie!

      The Raw Kitchen’s desserts are all so delicious. Please let me know how you fare with my version.

      H 🙂

  5. daniela says:

    Can i used dried cherries? Or if I don’t want cherries and just want to do chocolate how do I substitute?

    1. Hannah says:

      Daniela, you most certainly can use dried cherries. Soak the cherries in some water overnight (or for as long as you can bear if you don’t have that long!), then drain and use.

      You can make the cake without the cherries. Although it tastes a little different, it is just as good.

      H 🙂

  6. Thankyou for this wonderful recipe! I’ve linked to this on my blog here: http://bigandbeautifullife.blogspot.com.au/2012/06/operation-kick-butt.html
    Can’t wait to make this baby and curb my chocolate craving.
    x

    1. Hannah says:

      Thank you so much for the link, Jess – and I love the fact that you have connected chocolate with Operation Kick-Butt!

      [And, as I type this reply, I am sipping on a delicious raw hot chocolate, warmed perfectly to 46°C. Recipe coming soon!]

      H 🙂

  7. Lisa says:

    Thank you so much for this recipe! I am fairly new to raw food, and I tried this cake today and now I have a question. For the filling, I can’t seem to get it smooth like yours; it is still a little chunky (bits of the nuts). However, I didn’t soak the nuts. I do have a high speed blender and processor though (1000 Watt). I used the food processor for this one. Maybe I should try longer? Or is it the soaking that makes the difference? Which do you think? Many thanks for your help.
    BTW I love raw food! It’s so versatile and SO much more fun than cooking! I love the creativity of these recipes! Thank you 🙂

    1. Hannah says:

      I am glad you are enjoying the recipe, Lisa! I also enjoy the creativity that comes with the constraints of organic uncooking.

      As for the filling, soaking definitely helps and you may have to process the ingredients for a l-o-n-g time to get the mixture smooth. Adding a little extra water can help without hurting the end product, and sieving the mixture through a fine chinois after blending will remove any tiny bumps.

      Hope this helps!

      H 🙂

      1. Lisa says:

        Ah yes, that’s so clever!! I will definitely try those things next time… Many thanks again 🙂

        Lisa

  8. Hannah says:

    You are very welcome, Lisa!

    H 🙂

  9. Maryanne says:

    Looks amazing , will def try

    1. Hannah says:

      Please do, Maryanne – and I would love to hear about how it works out for you.

      H 🙂

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