Transitioning to a healthier lifestyle doesn’t mean you can’t have your cake and eat it too. I have a client doing a month-long raw food detox retreat here in Hawaii and after two weeks of going through the more intense detox phase, focusing a lot on juices, smoothies and healthy dinners, it was time to start showing her how to make some healthier raw food desserts, because let’s face it, we all love dessert! And when finding a balanced lifestyle that feels healthy for the long haul, we need to be able to find ways to treat ourselves to the occasional treat without guilting and shaming ourselves throughout each and every bite.
So many of my clients who come to do raw food retreats are coming off of years of yo-yo dieting; intense binging and then serious bouts of restriction with the sole intention of losing as much weight as possible as quickly as possible. One of the key takeaways from this retreat experience is that it’s all about finding balance and it’s less about getting to your weight destination as fast as possible, but more about facing in the right direction and just taking one step at a time in that direction.
Desserts like this triple layer caramel chocolate cake are miles healthier than any processed, packaged refined dessert you’ll find in the store or pick up at a bakery. So if you’re going to go there, give yourself the best quality dessert you can possibly make yourself! My client was thrilled to know this could be included as an occasional treat, and that’s what allows for more breathing room and balance back into our lives. Without further ado, here’s the recipe!
Raw Kitchen Essentials
For this triple layer cake, all you will need is a food processor and a spatula to spread the layers out. When it comes to essential kitchen tools, I highly recommend investing in a good quality food processor. I have the 14-cup Cuisinart Food Processor, but if this is too big for you, you might want to consider the 7-cup food processor, although I always opt for larger mixing sizes whenever I can.
Recipe: Raw Triple Layer Caramel Chocolate Cake
This is a triple layer cake, so let’s work through the layers one at a time.
The base is a standard raw, gluten free pie crust. When it comes to making raw pice crusts, all you need to keep in mind is that you need enough stickiness to hold the crust together, which could be dates, dried mulberries or even dried figs. I like to use dates the most, so for this pie crust, I made it with:
- 1 cup soaked almonds (you cal also use walnuts, macadamia nuts, pecans if you want a sweeter taste or brazil nuts.)
- 1 cup dates (I like to use organic medjool dates, and make sure to remove the pits!)
- 1/2 cup of shredded coconut
Process ingredients in the food processor so that it’s still a little chunky and when you squeeze the mix together in your hand, the dates, nuts and coconut shreds hold firmly together.
Sprinkle a layer of coconut shreds on the bottom of a pan, which will help prevent the pie crust from sticking. I used a 4×8 tin bread baking tray, and had a little bit leftover, but you can use whatever kind of glass, tin or springform you like.
Place the tray in the freezer while you’re making the next two layers.
This layer should really be called a caramel Halva layer, but for the sake of a succinct recipe title, I left it out. Halva is a middle Eastern dessert typically sweetened with dates and sesame seeds. We’re going to use tahini (which is just whole ground sesame seeds) for this layer which is going to add a really nice rich flavor, but if you don’t have tahini, you can also use almond butter or macadamia nut butter.
In a food processor, blend together the following ingredients until very smooth:
- 1.5 cups pitted dates
- 1 cup tahini
- 1/2 cup dried figs (this is optional, if you don’t have figs, just add a couple more dates.)
- 1 tablespoon vanilla
Blend together and add small amounts of water as necessary to get the blend going.
Place the caramel mix into a bowl and place in the freezer while you’re making the third layer.
This is similar to the chocolate fudge pie that I made a while ago. I love using avocado in desserts like this. Check out this article about avocados and how good they are for you.
In a food processor, blend together:
- 2 avocados
- 5 tablespoons raw cacao
- 1/2 cup of dates
- 2 tablespoons raw organic honey (If you don’t use honey, add a few more dates)
Place in a bowl and place in the freezer for about 10 minutes. Placing all the layers in the freezer for a minute will allow them to harden a little bit, and will make it easier to spread.
Layering the Triple Layer Cake
Take the crust out of the freezer along with the other layers. With a spatula layer the caramel layer on top of the crust, and then layer the chocolate later on top of that. Place in the freezer to chill for 30 minutes before serving.