It was my dearest sister’s birthday anniversary and to celebrate the joyous occasion I made her a raw and vegan version of her favourite cake: the Black Forest.
Given her sensitivity about the topic and out of respect for her I won’t share her age.
She just turned 32.
And so goes our relationship…
Have you ever made a black forest cake from scratch? Ingredients typically include: bleached all purpose flour, bleached white sugar, shortening, eggs, buttermilk, butter, icing sugar, dry milk, and heavy whipping cream.
I get it: it tastes good. But so does this cake made with only whole food ingredients. Don’t get me wrong, this cake still consists of sugar and fat; the difference is it comes from natural and unrefined ingredients.
I love this quote, and I think it sums up my point rather well:
“Real food doesn't have ingredients, real food is ingredients.” ~Jamie Oliver
Also, I want to show my sister some love on her birthday by giving her a cake I know will love her back as much as she loves it.
I know, I know: one episode of eating a sugary, buttery cake won’t shorten someone’s life. And indulge! It’s your birthday after all… right?
The problem is most people don’t eat this stuff just once in a while. We’ve become accustomed to the flours, sugars and refined fats in our morning pancakes or waffles, in our lunch bagels or croissants and in the assortment of desserts, chocolates and other sweets that ensue.
I don’t know about you but I’d rather get my taste buds accustomed to craving this:
So what’s in this cake? Only wholesome goodness. Here are the layers:
Almond Cherry Crust: almonds, cherries, dates, cocoa powder
Chocolate Cream Layer: avocados, dates, cocoa powder, cherries
Chocolate Buckwheat Layer: sprouted buckwheat, cocoa powder, raisins, vanilla
Coconut Cream Layer: coconut meat, shredded coconut, vanilla, cherries
Chocolate Cream Layer: as above
… and then top the cake with loads of pretty toppings of your choosing; I kept it simple and used coconut flakes, frozen cherries and cocoa nibs.
Dietitian's Definition & Fun Fact: Did you know buckwheat is not really a form of 'wheat' despite what the name may suggest? This seed is actually gluten free, and related to rhubarb. Sprouted buckwheat has a very nutty and earthy taste, which pairs wonderfully with the chocolate and cherry flavours. No sprouted buckwheat? No problem! Suggestions are in the recipe below for what to use instead.
And now for more pretty pictures of cake :
Happy Birthday, Anniversary, graduation or milestone!
… and in my case: happy birthday, big sis. Love you despite all the traumas you’ve imposed (yes, including the broken nose). xoxo.
Decadent 5-Layer Raw Black Forest Cake
▸ ▹ Vegan, raw, gluten-free, oil-free, soy-free, refined sugar-free
Yield: 12 servings
Prep Time: 30 min
Total Time: 6 hrs 30 min (includes freezing time)
INGREDIENTS: THE ALMOND CHERRY CRUST
2 cups (200 g) raw almonds
1 cup (120 g) dried tart cherries
1 cup (175 g) dates, pitted
2 Tbsp (15 g) raw cocoa powder
INGREDIENTS: THE CHOCOLATE CREAM LAYER
1/2 cup (85 g) dates, pitted
1 cup (225 g) frozen cherries
1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup (60 g) dried tart cherries
INGREDIENTS: THE CHOCOLATE BUCKWHEAT LAYER
1/2 cup (85 g) sprouted buckwheat, sprouted 2-3 days (or use cashews, walnuts, or almonds if preferred)
1 Tbsp (8 g) raw cocoa powder
3/4 cup (115 g) black raisins (or dates)
1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
INGREDIENTS: THE COCONUT CREAM LAYER
4 baby coconuts, meat only (or 1 can full-fat coconut milk)
1/2 cup (40 g) unsweetened shredded coconut flakes
1 tsp (5 mL) pure vanilla extract
1 cup (225 g) fresh or frozen cherries, pitted (optional)
INGREDIENTS: THE GARNISH
1/4 cup raw cocoa nibs (or coarsely chopped dark chocolate of choice)
1/4 cup (20 g) unsweetened coconut flakes
1 cup (225 g) fresh or frozen cherries
Grease 9" springform pan with a small amount of coconut oil (optional, but makes removing the cake much easier)
Create the crust by adding the almonds to a food processor or blender and pulse to make a course flour. Then add the cherry, dates and cocoa powder, blending until all well combined and the mixture sticks together when pressed between the fingers. If not sticking, add more dates and/or dried cherries. Press the crust down firmly and evenly into the bottom of the pan. Set aside.
Create the chocolate cream layer by adding the avocados, dates, cocoa powder, frozen cherries (NOT the dried cherries) and vanilla extract to a food processor or blender on high, stopping to scrape down the sides, until a mousse is formed. Then, add the dried tart cherries and blend for 5 seconds so that the dried cherries get slightly pulverized, but chunks remain to add texture. Pour HALF of this mixture into the springform pan, and RESERVE the other half for later. Place the pan in the freezer while working on the next step.
Create the chocolate buckwheat layer by adding the buckwheat (or nut substitute), cocoa powder, raisins and vanilla extract in a food processor or blender, and blending until well-combined. A thick paste should form. Add this to the previous chocolate layer, spread across the top evenly and place the pan back in the freezer while working on the next step.
Create the coconut cream layer by adding the coconut meat, coconut flakes and vanilla extract to a food processor or blender until well-combined. Before adding this to the previous layer, first place cherries (~1 cup) around the perimeter of the cake pan; then pour the coconut cream layer on top. This will make the cherries visible from the side of the cake, and will add colour to the all-white coconut cream layer when the cake is removed from the pan.
On top of the coconut layer, drizzle on the remaining HALF of the avocado chocolate cream layer and spread with the back of a spoon to create an even surface.
Decor the top of the cake with chocolate, coconut flakes and cherries and place in the freezer for at least 6 hours to set.
When ready to serve, remove gently from the springform pan and allow the cake to sit at room temperature for 20-30 minutes to soften before serving.
To create more distinct layers, you can wait before the previous layer fully freezes before adding the next layer. Personally, I can't be bothered to wait so I pile it on top of each other. The layer slightly blend but adds to the 'homemade' look of the cake, which is also great. Enjoy!
Did You Try This Recipe?
Let me know how it went! Comment below and share a picture on Instagram with the hashtag #pickuplimes