Fresh sweet black cherries and dried sour cherries combine to make this vibrant and seductive raw layer cake. It’s not only power-packed with flavour and texture but goodness too from the cacao, Brazil nuts and sprouted oat base to the sensuous creamy layers made with cashew nuts and coconut oil. (Clean Cakes by Henrietta Inman, Jacqui Small, £20)
For the chocolate cake
- 60g Brazil nuts
- 80g pitted medjool dates
- ¼ vanilla pod (bean), split lengthways and seeds scraped out
- ½ tsp Himalayan pink salt
- 1 tbsp cacao powder
- ½ tsp ground cinnamon
- 40g dark chocolate (85% cocoa), roughly chopped
- 40g sprouted oats
For the vanilla layer
- 100g cashew nuts
- 70ml almond milk
- 30g blonde coconut nectar or raw clear honey
- ½ vanilla pod (bean), split lengthways and seeds scraped out
- 50g coconut oil, melted
For the cherry layer
- 100g cashew nuts
- 200g pitted fresh cherries
- ¼ tsp ground cinnamon
- ¼ tsp Himalayan pink salt
- Finely grated zest of ¼ lemon
- 3tsp lemon juice
- 100g coconut oil
- 50g dried sour cherries
- 10–20g coconut nectar or raw honey, optional
- Soak the cashew nuts for both layers separately in 200ml of filtered water with a scant ½ tsp of Himalayan pink salt for 3–4 hours. Drain and rinse well.
- Line a baking tray at least 27cm long and 4cm deep with baking parchment.
- In a food processor, roughly chop the Brazil nuts for the cake. Remove and put in the dates, vanilla seeds, salt, cacao powder and cinnamon, then blitz to make a paste. Add the chopped nuts, chocolate and sprouted oats and pulse a few times to combine. The mix will be in crumbs but should come together when you squeeze a piece in your hands.
- Turn out the raw cake mix and press it along one long and one short edge of the baking tray to make a 26.5 x 9cm rectangular base. Now you need to create a make-shift mould around the cake base. Fold up a piece of aluminium foil, overlapping it about three times to make a 4cm high wall. Place the wall around the two edges of the cake that aren’t touching the baking tray then freeze.
- To make the vanilla layer, blend the soaked cashew nuts and almond milk until smooth. Add the coconut nectar or honey, vanilla seeds and coconut oil and blend until completely smooth.
- Pour over the chocolate base, making sure none of the mix leaks through the mould. Freeze immediately to set for 1–2 hours. The vanilla layer must be completely set before adding the cherry layer.
- To make the cherry layer, place the cherries, cinnamon, salt, lemon zest and juice in the blender and process to make a cherry juice. Add the soaked cashew nuts and blend until almost completely smooth.
- Melt the coconut oil and add it to the blender along with the sour cherries, then blend once more until completely smooth, scraping the mix down from the sides if necessary.
- The mix should turn from a deep purple to red when the sour cherries are added. Taste and adjust to your preferred sweetness if desired.
- Pour the cherry layer over the vanilla layer and freeze for another hour until firm but not frozen solid. Remove from the freezer and slice into 2.5cm wide rectangles. To get a clean cut, dip a sharp knife in hot water and slice when frozen.
- Decorate each piece as you want to. I love to use cacao nibs, fresh cherries and edible flowers.
- Keeps in the fridge for five days. This can be frozen for up to three months but it needs to be defrosted before serving as it should be served like a cold mousse.
In season, red-pink cherries are a must for this, otherwise you won’t achieve the right colour. You can also add a little beetroot powder if you are not satisfied with the shade.