Chocolate: Food of the Gods?
I think so... and after tasting this raw chocolate ganache cake at a little café in Belsize Park a few months ago, I was inspired to make it myself. So I endeavoured to recreate its deliciousness with the creamy richness of avocados and the punch of raw cacao. It is so divine and decadent, the fact that it's so good for you and so easy to make sounds almost unbelievable! But I promise aside from soaking the almonds (in order to activate them) and allowing it to set in the freezer for at least an hour, the total prep time of the recipe is actually under 15 minutes.
Chocolate is commonly perceived as a "guilty pleasure" but its reputation as a junk food is due to the harmful effects of commercial processing and refining techniques, and mainly the addition of one lethal ingredient: white sugar. In truth, cacao beans in their natural, unprocessed and unadulterated state are rich in nutrients and extremely beneficial to one's health. Raw cacao is in fact a superfood and has more antioxidants than blueberries; it is rich in a number of essential minerals, including magnesium, calcium, iron, zinc, copper and potassium. There is also a misperception that chocolate is fattening (which it is in its processed state), but in fact, the fats in raw cocoa butter are healthy fats. So believe it or not, this chocolate cake is utterly good for you on so many levels.
Goodbye Guilt and Hello Happy Indulgence!
Raw Chocolate Ganache Cake
For a 9" springform pan
Prep Time: 15 mins Total Time: 1 hour 15 mins
For the base:
250g almonds or pecans
200g soft dates (like Medjool), pitted
½ teaspoon Himalayan salt or sea salt
For the filling:
600g avocado flesh (about 4-5 medium sized ripe avocados)
150g coconut oil
150g raw cacao powder
300g coconut sugar (you can also use raw cane sugar like rapadura)
1 vanilla bean, split and seeded (you can substitute with 1 tablespoon of vanilla extract)
1 pinch of fine Himalayan salt or sea salt
handful of berries, coconut flakes, edible flowers to decorate (optional)
1. Soak the almonds for at least 8 hours then drain and dehydrate them (The soaking releases the enzyme inhibitors and makes them easier to digest. If you don't have a dehydrator, then you can actually skip this step).
2. In a food processor blend the almonds. Add dates and salt and blend until you get a ‘dough’ or until the mixture forms a ball (if it’s too dry, add 1-2 teaspoons coconut oil to the dough). Line the spring form pan with cling film and press the dough into the bottom of the pan. Place it in the freezer to harden whilst you make the ganache.
3. Place all the filling ingredients in a food processor then blend everything until smooth. Pour the ganache over the base.
4. Set in the freezer for at least 1 hour (it should be firm enough to slice up).
NB. The only caveat to this awesome recipe is the cost of the ingredients, if you are not already stocked up with these goodies at home. Best place to buy organic and high quality raw cacao powder, coconut sugar and coconut oil inexpensively is at www.realfoods.co.uk. For Medjool dates, I found an awesome local Middle Eastern shop near me that sells a 1kg of them for around £7-8 which is a bargain (no preservatives or funny things), look out for one near you.