You're doing your best with healthy eating, but there's not much you can do when that sweet tooth hits, a bar of Dairy Milk is just what you need, right? Well, it's time to try these raw cake recipes, the perfect healthy indulgence.
So they might not be on par with an apple, but these sweet treats are no-bake, vegan, sugar-free and gluten-free, so you can rest assured that you don't need to miss out on the good things in life, even when you're on a special diet.
Each of the three recipes come from Joanna Farrow's recipe book Raw Cakes: 30 Delicious, No-Bake, Vegan, Sugar-Free & Gluten-Free Cakes, and once you've tried these recipes we expect you to be rushing to buy the book to try them all.
Raw Banoffi Pie
Serves 8, Prep time 25 minutes plus overnight chilling and soaking.
- Scant 75 g Brazil nuts
- 75 g almonds
- 4 tablespoons hemp seeds
- 300 g pitted dates
- 125 ml coconut water
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 tablespoon maple syrup
- 3 large or 4 medium bananas
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 2 cans coconut cream,
- chilled overnight
- 2 tablespoons agave nectar
- Sea salt
Put all the nuts in a bowl, cover with cold water and let soak for several hours or overnight. Thoroughly drain the nuts, then transfer to a food processor. Add the hemp seeds and process until finely ground. Add a generous ½ cup (100 g) of the dates and a pinch of salt and process again until the mixture starts to cling together. Tip into an 8¼–8½ inch (21–22 cm) loose-bottom flan pan. Using the back of a spoon, press the mixture firmly up the sides and into the bottom of the pan. Chill.
Meanwhile, put the remaining dates in a blender with the coconut water, vanilla extract, and a pinch of salt and blend to a thick, smooth paste. Press 2 tablespoons of the paste through a strainer to extract as much pulp as possible, scraping the mixture from the bottom of the strainer, then mix with the maple syrup to make a puree. Set aside the paste and the puree.
Slice the bananas and toss with the lemon juice. Arrange two-thirds over the crust and spread with the date paste. Scrape off the thick layer of coconut cream into a bowl. Discard 1 tablespoon of the water left in each can, then add the remaining water to the bowl. Beat until thickened and softly peaking. Beat in the agave nectar, then spread over the filling.
Scatter with the remaining bananas and drizzle with the reserved date puree. Chill until ready to serve.
Carrot Cake With Lime Cashew Frosting
Serves 10 Prep time 20 minutes plus chilling and soaking
- 7 carrots, about 525 g total weight
- 100 g soft dried pineapple
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- ¼ teaspoon ground allspice
- 150 g dried figs, stalks removed
- Scant 75 g golden raisins
- 150 g medium oatmeal
- Edible flowers, to decorate (optional)
- FOR THE FROSTING:
- Generous 150 g cashews
- 75 ml almond milk
- Scant 50 ml maple syrup
- Finely grated zest of 1 lime, plus
- 3 teaspoons juice
Put the cashews in a bowl, cover with cold water and let soak for several hours or overnight.
Line 2 x 6 inch (15 cm) round cake pans with plastic wrap. Finely grate the carrots and pat dry between several thicknesses of paper towels.
Put the pineapple and spices in a food processor and process until chopped. Add the figs and process again until the mixture starts to cling together. Tip in the carrots, raisins, and oatmeal and process until evenly combined. Divide between the prepared pans and press down firmly.
Chill for several hours or freeze for 30 minutes to firm up.
To make the frosting, thoroughly drain the nuts, then transfer to a food processor, add the almond milk and process until smooth. Add the maple syrup, lime zest, and juice and thoroughly process until very thick, spreadable, and smooth, frequently scraping down the mixture from the sides of the bowl.
Carefully turn one of the carrot cakes out onto a flat serving plate and peel away the plastic wrap. Spread with half the frosting and top with the second cake. Spread with the remaining frosting and chill until ready to serve. Serve scattered with edible flowers, if liked.
Chocolate Coconut Bars
Makes 16 Prep time 20 minutes plus chilling and setting
- 50 g coconut oil
- 1 fresh coconut, about 500 g,
- or 275 g coconut flesh, coarsely
- 50 g pack creamed coconut,
- 2 tablespoons coconut blossom nectar
- FOR THE COATING:
- 75 g cacao butter
- 75 g cacao powder
- 5 tablespoons coconut blossom nectar
Line a 7 inch (18 cm) square shallow baking pan with plastic wrap. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Put the coconut oil in a small heatproof bowl and stand it in a larger heatproof bowl of boiling water. Let melt.
Crack open the coconut, if using, remove the flesh and coarsely chop. Put the coconut flesh, creamed coconut, and coconut blossom nectar in a food processor and process until finely ground. Add the melted coconut oil and process until the mixture starts to cling together. Transfer to the prepared baking pan and press down firmly in an even layer. Chill for 1 hour or until firm.
To make the chocolate coating, put the cacao butter in a small heatproof bowl and stand it in a larger heatproof bowl of boiling water. Let melt. If the water cools before the cacao butter melts, replace with more boiled water. Remove the coconut slab from the pan and cut in half, then cut each half into 8 bars.
Scrape the melted cacao butter into a larger, shallow bowl and stir in the cacao powder and coconut blossom nectar. Lower a coconut bar into the sauce and turn to coat. Lift out on a fork, letting the excess sauce drip back into the bowl, then transfer to the prepared baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining bars. Let set in a cool place or the refrigerator.
Cacao butter is the creamy-coloured, edible fat extracted from the cacao bean. Unlike the name suggests, it is extremely hard and must be chopped and melted before it can be used in raw cakes. Using a cutting board and sturdy, sharp knife, chop the cacao butter into small pieces; some will break into slivers, but simply tip the lot into a small heatproof bowl to melt (see below for details). Cacao butter solidifies on cooling, making it useful for thickening and binding together other raw cake ingredients.
Coconut oil and cacao butter both need melting before use. Coconut oil has a buttery, set consistency at room temperature that melts very easily. Cacao butter is very solid and takes longer to melt to a usable, liquid form. To speed up melting and avoid the risk of overheating it, chop cacao butter first.