A challenge presented itself to me this week. Well…the challenge didn’t just walk up to me in the street or anything. Although here’s a delicious rendition of my possible responses to such a proposal:
(that denied face it awesome). It was a request that did at first blush sound challenging indeed though. Create a gluten-free, refined sugar-free birthday cake. I know, I thought to myself, this doesn’t sound nearly challenging enough on its own, how about we make it a raw cake as well? Brilliant. Please completely ignore my absolute lack of skills in the glaze-spreading department. I thought it was spreading great (I even paused the music I was listening to so that I could sing my own praises…maybe that was my first mistake?), but it started to solidify much faster than I anticipated. Basically, if you have ever painted your fingernails, consider glaze spreading to be much the same. You think you have it perfect, then you decide you’re just going to quickly “touch up” that one little spot that’s not quite perfect. Little did you know that that section you’re just going to quickly “fix” had already started drying, so now you’ve just made a big mess 🙁 . Unlike with nail polish however, there’s no “glaze remover” product of who’s existence I am aware, so hideousness was the name of the game that day (I noticed your eyes glazing over after that long pointless explanation…don’t think that just because you’re hidden behind your computer screen that I can’t see you. I’m actually omnipotent and psychic 😉 ).
Actually, I suppose that technically glaze remover exists. You can invite over a bunch of children, cookie monster, or (if you’re an evil villain) all the members of cake eaters anonymous, and they will be more than happy to give you the opportunity for a do-over:
(sadly, I found that image hysterical, and was just trying to find a way to work it into this post. I’m lame like that).
Now I was actually making this for someone else’s birthday so I wouldn’t really have the opportunity to try/ eat it myself. This being the case, I of course had to do a super mini test run (quality control and all that 😉 ), so I made a tiny tart version of this cake. One of things I quite enjoyed about this recipe is that it’s super easy to scale up or down, and because it’s raw, you could just turn this into a bite size truffle or something for yourself as a way to healthily attack those late night sweet cravings (and no, by attack, I did not mean that you should be whipping raw truffle balls around your house as a way to get your sweet cravings to stop house crashing. Stop being ridiculous).
My mini tart version is what allows me to inform you that the flavour here is rich, fudgy and figgy. In my version, I sweetened the glaze that I put on it with maple syrup, but decided to sweeten the final version with a little orange juice instead to add a little more depth to the flavour. Honestly, I was a little sad I hadn’t made myself a larger tart, so I might just have to do this again at some point.
Unless she was completely lying to me via Facebook, I believe the end result was pretty successful (Facebook quote “It was like eating a chocolate Fig Newton! So very, very good!” – Thanks Carrie! You made my day (that’s a me, right here quote 😉 ).
(photo courtesy of Carrie Duplessis)
Yield: 1 9″ cake
Adapted from this recipe
- 4 1/2 cups almond flour
- 1 cup dried figs
- 1 cup medjool dates
- 1 1/2 cups cocoa powder
- 1/3 cup melted dark chocolate (optional)
- 1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons maple syrup
- 1 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 1 1/2 tablespoons orange juice
- 1/2 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
- 2 tablespoons vanilla
- 1 tablespoon coffee (or coffee liqueur if you don’t mind it not being “officially” raw) – optional
- 1/2 teaspoon cardamom
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
Glaze Ingredients (optional)
- 3/4 cup dark chocolate
- 2 1/2 tablespoons orange juice
- 4 1/2 tablespoons coconut oil
- Line a 9″ round pan with parchment paper. A springform pan would probably be the best/easiest here, but if you don’t have one, a regular 9″ round pan works fine. Make sure to line it with parchment or wax paper though or it will be difficult to remove after it’s chilled.
- Place all ingredients in a food processor and blend until everything is thoroughly combined and mixture begins forming a ball.
- Transfer all ingredients into prepared pan and press down firmly and evenly to form cake into shape. I used the back of a large spoon to press it down flat and smooth. It’s sort of a playdough like consistency at this stage, so it is a bit of effort to get it smooth on top (if you don’t care about looks, feel free to leave it lumpy, it’ll still taste the same 🙂 ).
- Place in the freezer for 1-2 hours or until it’s set and chilled.
- Meanwhile, make the glaze (if using). Place the chocolate, orange juice and coconut oil in the top of a double boiler and stir until smoothly melted. (This would be the “-ish” portion of the raw. Omit the glaze if you’re making it raw).
- Take the cake out of the freezer and carefully remove from pan (it’s a bit difficult to get it out, so take your time at this step).
- (if using) Pour slightly warm glaze over the entire cake (top and sides) and smooth with a spatula or knife (whatever you’ve got that would work for smoothing).
- Chill in the refrigerator until glaze is set. Store in the refrigerator.