About a year ago I was publicly announcing my candidacy for the mayor of Chocolate Town. Since then, my love for chocolate only grew stronger. Be it dark, bitter, snappy, temperamental and hot, or soft and creamy and all finger licking addictive, I love it all. Mousse, truffles, bark, cheesecake, brownies, ice cream, triple layered cakes, anything is good if it’s made of chocolate.
No wonder that when prompted to write about indulgence for Kidspot Voices of 2014, the question I asked myself was not ‘What recipe to make?’ but rather ‘What should I pair chocolate with?’ There’s a saying that all roads lead to chocolate, but in my world, that’s not the full story. I reckon all roads lead to chocolate and that the center of the Earth lies at the crossroad of chocolate and caramel. And it’s all dusted with cacao powder. Sprinkled with cacao nibs. And topped with raw caramel truffles. Yes, this cake is the center of the Earth, the core of everything, it’s what makes it go round and gives our lives meaning. Yes, this is still a TalesofaKitchen recipe, which means I can talk about cake and chocolate all I want, with a clear conscience, because there’s no processed sugars in sight. None! No flours for baking. No milk powders or creams, no colorings and pretty much not a lot of the things you’d traditionally expect to find in a cake. Nope, my cake is pretty special. It’s made only of whole, nutritious ingredients, pimped up with superfoods, then lovingly molded into the most scrumptious of treats.
This cake tastes naughty, but it’s oh so vibrant, so full of life and goodness. It’s made with almonds, a source of plant protein, phytonutrients, good fat, fiber and vitamin E! It’s also made with the ever so popular cashew nuts, a good source of vitamins A and K, folate and minerals like potassium and phosphorous. And because tahini is one of my forever favorite ingredients, I threw in a tablespoon of that as well. If you thought milk products are the only source of calcium out there, think again and think sesame seeds and tahini, an excellent source of plant based calcium and other vitamins.
What the heck is mesquite? And how to you even read açai? These two superfoods are optional in this cake, but so worth your attention. Mesquite powder is naturally (mildly) sweet, with a low GI, slightly nutty and with a hint of caramel. Acai is a powder made of freeze dried berries. Together, they bring a whole lotta goodness to this cake. A bit of calcium, magnesium, potassium, iron and zinc and a great deal of antioxidants, among others. Another good thing about them is that a little goes a long way.
I truly believe that through the combination of raw chocolate and date caramel we can achieve happiness and world peace.
Chocolate caramel cheesecake with dark chocolate and truffles
For the base:
- 40g raw almonds
- 50g any variety of dried grapes (sultana, raisins, currants – just make sure they are oil free and sweetener free)
- 2 tablespoons raw cacao powder
For the filling:
- 150g cashew nuts, raw, unsalted
- 1/3 cup water
- 4 tablespoons of raw, unfiltered honey (or pure maple syrup for a vegan option)
- 1 tablespoon mesquite powder
- 1 teaspoon unhulled tahini (or 1 tablespoon of regular, hulled tahini)
- pinch of sea salt
- 8g melted cacao butter (coconut oil works too)
- 3 tablespoons raw cacao powder
- 1 tablespoon acai powder
- extra cacao powder
- cacao nibs
- date caramel truffles
To make 6 date caramel truffles:
- 2 Medjool dates, pitted and each cut in 3
- crushed almonds
- To make the base of the cake, add the ingredients to a blender and process until you get a sticky ‘dough’.
- Scoop out the ‘dough’ and press it into the cake pan lined with cling film at the bottom (this helps remove the cake easily when it’s ready).
- Place the cake pan in the fridge.
- Melt cacao butter (or coconut oil) using the bain marie method.
- Add all the ingredients for the filling to the blender, except for the cacao and acai powders, and process until you get a really smooth, creamy mix.
- Scoop out half the mix and set it aside in a bowl.
- Add the cacao and acai powders to the remaining half of the mixture in the blender and process for another few seconds until you get it mixed through.
- Scoop out the cacao filling in another bowl.
- To make a patterned cake, add one tablespoon of the caramel filling on the cake base, right in the middle. Gently smooth it out, but don’t spread it over the entire surface. Then add a tablespoon of the cacao filling on top of the caramel one, and similarly smooth it out, but don’t spread it throughout. Continue alternatively with caramel then cacao fillings until they finish. Level the surface of the cake, cover it and pop it in the fridge to set.
- When ready, dust it with cacao powder and few cacao nibs.
- If you want to drizzle a bit of chocolate as well, all you need to do is melt 1 tablespoon of coconut oil and mix it with 1 tablespoon of cacao powder until you get it incorporated. Using the spoon, drizzle that on top of the cake.
- To make the date caramel truffles, roll each piece of chopped Medjool date into a tiny ball and roll it in crushed almonds. Add on top of cake.
- Enjoy and be happy.