I truly belong in a chocolate lovers support group. I few weeks ago I starting feeling a bit sick from eating too many raw brownie bites in order to keep me going on a crazy schedule and fill in for some missed lunches. I’ve successfully avoided chocolate with evaporated cane sugar, but I think I overdosed on cocoa and dates. So I took a break. It felt good. And then Valentine’s Day crept in.
So here I am playing with cocoa and cacao (raw version of cocoa) again. This recipe is still in the expermental stages, but geeze, it tasted good the first time out of the gate. So here is my foray into raw chocolate cheesecake.
I prefer avocados in this recipe because they are less expensive, and I like the consistency of creamed avocados. But it’s up to you. Take a gander at the headnotes for all my suggested substitutes.
I’m on some pretty tight deadines with projects and book stuff, so I hope you’ll understand if I run now. And shower your love on someone today. Even if it’s just a smile for someone who looks down. It really works. xoxo.
Raw Chocolate CheesecakeHazelnut substitute: If you don’t have hazelnuts for the crust you can sub another nut such as almonds or walnuts, or a seed will work as well. I prefer walnuts since they provide a softer bite. I also add a pinch or two more of salt because I like the crust a bit saltier, so salt to taste if you want just the right flavor in the crust layer. Cashew substitute: If you don’t have cashews, can’t eat them or don’t like them, substitute 1 ripe banana and 1 small ripe avocado for the 2 cups of cashews, or 2 small avocados for the 2 cups of cashews. I imagine 2 bananas would work well also, but it will change the flavor. I’ve also subbed just one avocado and it was great, just a bit sweeter. When I use 2 avocados, I add a bit more cocoa powder and maple syrup (about 1 tablespoon of each). Glaze: For the glaze, you can sub in an unrefined oil such as avocado oil, or butter or ghee. If you use butter it may not be as runny as the version with oil, but you can spread it across the cake without issue. You can also gently melt sweetened chocolate with about 2 tablespoons or so of oil or butter for a harder glaze (more of a ganauche). Pan: I use an 8-inch springform pan, but I imagine a 9-inch will work as well, or you can use a silicone pan or another option is to make them as mini-cheesecakes in muffin liners in muffin pans (they probably make about 12 to 14 mini-cakes). Nut butter: As for the nut butter, almond butter or other nut or seed butter is a good sub. I made my own hazelnut butter by processing 4 ounces of raw hazelnuts, but even ground flour would probably work. Just make sure to process the cake filling for a while to get it smooth and creamy. Cacao vs Cocoa: Cacao is the raw version of cocoa powder. If you don’t have cacao (raw chocolate powder), you can use unsweetened cocoa powder. High-speed blender vs food processor: I much preferred using my food processor for all the tasks here, but you can also use a high-speed blender. I just found it easier to scoop out the batters from the food processor container vs. the blender container.
- 5 ounces (about 1 1/2 cups) raw hazelnuts (or other nut or seed)
- 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons unsweetened cacao or cocoa powder
- 3 tablespoons of maple syrup
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/8 teaspoon salt (or to taste; I prefer 1/4 teaspoon)
- 2 cups raw cashews, soaked and rinsed (soak for at least 4 hours) OR 1 large or 2 small ripe avocados (just the green flesh)
- 1/2 cup maple syrup
- 1/2 cup almond milk or water (or other nut or seed milk)
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup coconut oil (softened or gently melted)
- 1/2 cup hazelnut butter or about 4 ounces of raw hazelnuts processed into butter (or other nut or seed butter)
- 1/2 cup unsweetened cacao or cocoa powder
Chocolate gaunach glaze
- 1/4 cup oil (coconut, olive, avocado, or other oil)
- 1/4 cup maple syrup
- 1/4 cup unsweetened cacao or cocoa powder
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- pinch of salt
- Place the hazelnuts into a food processor and process the hazelnuts into hazelnut a course flour. I like it very fine, but if you like crunching on nuts in your crust you can make a courser flour blend. I also process the hazelnut butter at this step using my food processor and then put it aside for later. When I use walnuts instead of hazelnuts, I process them into small pieces instead of flour.
- Process the crust ingredients in a food processor. Be careful not to grind it into butter though or it will be a gooey mess.
- Use your fingers or a spatula to press crust into a springform pan.
- Process the cashews (or avocados), maple syrup, almond milk, and salt until very smooth, and then add the remaining cheesecake layer ingredients to the mixture and process until creamy and smooth. Use a spatula to scrape the sides down.
- Use the spatula to transfer the cheesecake layer to the top of the pressed crust.
- Place the cheesecake in the freezer for 4 hours.
- Prepare the chocolate glaze by combining all the ingredients in a bowl that can be placed over a small saucepan of simmering water.
- Gently melt the glaze over water simmering in a saucepan for a few minutes.
- Take the cheesecake out of the freezer and spread or pour the chocolate glaze across the top of the cake. Allow some of the glaze to drizzle over the sides (because it looks great!)
- Freeze for at least 10 minutes. It’s ready to serve, however I think it tastes even better after being in the freezer a few more hours, or even overnight.
- Serve frozen or leave it out for a few minutes to slice. Store covered in the freezer for a few weeks.
Makes one 8 or 9-inch cake