Coconuts are divine, delicious, and decidedly good for us! Their creamy and meaty texture is perfect for making raw desserts! Using the meat, coconut milk, coconut water, coconut butter, or coconut oil we can create tempting and sinful raw vegan eats that are good for the taste and good for the body.
When I was living in LA, I had a slice of raw vegan cheesecake at the amazing Café Gratitude. Love at first bite does not even begin to describe the sensation of biting into my first raw cake. Since then, I have made many cakes but this one is extra special! I decided to start experimenting and playing around with my cake recipes and to my delicious surprise, coconut butter works as a wonderful substitute for coconut oil. It also results in a creamier cake. When possible, I also cut the amount of cashews in half and use 1 cup soaked cashew and 1 cup fresh coconut meat to reduce the amount of nuts in my cakes. Once I made the swap, I instantly fell in love with the results and created my first extra special childhood dream cake: Raw German Chocolate Cake. The flavors in this cake are identical to the baked not-so-healthy not-so-vegan version and it is just heavenly. Plus, it's very pretty as well. I hope this recipes encourages you to start playing around with your own cake creations because the combinations of flavors, nuts, butter, and fruits are endless!
This recipe calls for coconut butter which can be very expensive (about $8 a jar) and is not always organic. Making fresh coconut butter at home takes about 10 minutes! It will also save you loads of money and gives you the option to make it organic. To make coconut butter, simply take dried shredded coconut and put it in a food processor fitted with the "S blade." Process for about 10 minutes, stopping periodically to scrape down the sides. I've found it works best to blend a minimum of two cups of shredded coconut at a time.
My Raw German Chocolate Cake recipe also calls for fresh coconut meat which means you've got to roll up your sleeves and crack open one of these tropical gems. If you don't know how, don't worry! I've made a how to on the best way to open a coconut. It's really easy so don't fret :).
One more word before we dive into the recipe. This cake has layers and to create beautiful and even layers, it is best to freeze each layer for about 30 minutes to an hour before adding the next layer. If you are short on time, I suggest doing a vanilla layer, then chocolate layer and then adding the coconut topping. This cuts prep time and doesn't compromise flavor. Okay, here we go...
Chocolate Coconut Crust:
1 cup raw walnuts
1/4 cup raw cacao powder
1/2 cup shredded dried coconut
1/2 dates (soak for an hour if they are dry), pitted, chopped
1/4 cup raw honey or raw coconut nectar
pinch of salt (optional)
Add all ingredients to a food processor fitted with the "S blade" and process until your mixture is crumbly and sticks together when you press it between your fingers.
Take a pie pan and line it with plastic wrap. Press your crust mixture into the pan in that shape of a crust. It will work just like play dough, holding its shape and forming easily. The dates work as a binding agent and making the crust should be very easy. If it's not sticking together, put it back in the processor and process a bit longer.
1 cup soaked raw cashews (soak overnight at room temp then drain and rise before use)
3/4 cup coconut butter
1 to 1 1/2 cups fresh coconut meat
1/2 cup coconut water (or coconut milk or even almond milk, whichever you have)
3/4 cup raw honey or coconut nectar
2 Tbsp. vanilla or 1 1/2 vanilla bean (scraped)
Vanilla Layer Method:
Add all ingredients to a food processor fitted with the "S blade" and process until your mixture is smooth, creamy, and lump free.
Add 1/2 of the vanilla mixture to your pie crust. Reserve the other half. Cover your pie pan with plastic wrap (or use another identical pie pan which is what I do). Place cake on a flat surface in the freezer for about an hour.
1 cup coconut butter
1/3 cup coconut oil, melted
1/4 cup raw honey or coconut nectar
2/3 cup raw cacao powder
1/2 vanilla bean or 1 tsp. vanilla extract
4 Tbsp. soaking water from dates (use water from the dates for caramel coconut layer)
Chocolate Fudge Layer Method:
Add all ingredients to the food processor and blend until smooth and creamy. Just like we did with the vanilla layer, add one half of your chocolate mixture on top of the vanilla layer. Reserve the other half for later. The chocolate layer will harden much quicker than the vanilla (from the coconut oil) so freeze for about 20 to 30 minutes. Then remove from the freezer and you will have this:
Now, repeat the layers. Add one more vanilla and one more chocolate. As I mentioned above, if this is too time consuming, just add all the vanilla layer at once and then all the chocolate on top of that. However, making the layers really gives your cake a stunning look. It is up to you and your schedule. It will taste delicious either way :). Now for the topping...
Caramel Coconut Layer:
1 cup dates, soaked two hours (reserve soaking water for chocolate fudge layer) pitted, chopped
2 Tbsp. coconut oil, melted
1/4 cup honey
1/2 vanilla bean or 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 cup shredded dried coconut
Caramel Coconut Method:
Add dates, coconut oil, honey and vanilla to food processor. Pulse a few times to mix. Then add the coconut shreds and process until well combined. Add this topping as the final layer to your cake.
Keep the cake in the freezer for storing. It should keep for a week but honestly, it has never gone past 3 days uneaten in my house! When ready to enjoy, remove from freezer and lift out using the plastic wrap to lift the cake up and out of the pan. Discard plastic wrap and let sit at room temperature for 15 minutes before cutting and consuming. Enjoy and congratulations on your beautiful Raw German Chocolate Cake creation!
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