Monday, 7 October 2013

Raw Blueberry Cheesecake

This cake really is something special. It was absolutely delicious and went down so well at the baby shower! The mother to be (radiance in yellow) even hid the remaining half for her to devour on your own after everyone had left! To be honest I would have done the same. Especially since we can both appreciate how healthy and good for you the ingredients are. You can only feel delicious satisfaction after this cake, not sluggish like after a Hummingbird cupcake (still an absolute favourite of mine - they also have gluten free cupcakes these days). I would however choose a piece of this cake over a Red Velvet or Black Bottom any day.

The main ingredients are fruit, nuts and dates. So simple, so nutritious. Dates are a vegans sweet friend, superbly fulfilling the cravings sugar normally would. They do however have a high glycemic load (GL) - which is the amount of carbohydate in a food adjusted for its glycemic potency. When you eat a meal containing carbohydrates your blood glucose rises and falls. How high it rises and how long it remains high depends on the quiality of the carbs (the Glycemic Index) and the quantity. GL combies both the quality and the quantity of the carbohydrate in one number. It is the best way to predict blood glucose values of differnt types and amounts of food. Patrick Holford, a pioneer in new approaches to health and nutrition, defines three ways to maintain a healthy weight. One of which is the importance of combining carbohydrates with protein. While dates have a high glycemic load due to its carbohydrate content, nuts are a great source of protein and so the combination of nuts and dates as seen in this cake leaves you feeling satisfied and not wanting to binge on more and more sugar. What a win! 

The cake is very easy to make, the only thing that was a bit of a mission for me was getting all the ingredients ready as the blueberries and sliced banana needs to be frozen beforehand as well as the cashew nuts soaked. I also forgot apple juice and didn't think the local Budgens would have freshly squeezed juice so I decided to blend an apple into pulp (too much work getting the juicer out - a pain to clean!) which actually worked out perfectly. So once you have the ingredients ready its simply a blending game.

Ingredients (Serves 10):

For the base:
1 and a 1/2 cups of almonds
2 and a 1/2 cups of medjool dates
For the middle:
2 cups of soaked cashew nuts
2 frozen over-ripe bananas
1/3 of a cup of maple syrup
1/3 of a cup of freshly juiced apple juice
1 teaspoon of cinnamon
For the top:
1 cup of freshly frozen blueberries (best to freeze your own over store bought)
1 cup of strawberries
1 frozen banana
4 medjool dates
1 tablespoon of maple syrup
1 teaspoon of cinnamon

Before making this make sure you freeze the blueberries and sliced bananas for at least 3 hours. You also need to soak the cashew nuts in water and leave in the fridge for at least 4 hours. 

For the base, blend the almonds in a food processor for a minute or so until they are nicely crushed. Then gradually add the dates so that a sticky mixture forms. Depending on your food processor or blender you may need to blend in batches. My blender wasn't really up to the task so I just whizzed a few batches separately. Press the mixture down in a cake tin and place in the freezer.

For the middle blend all the ingredients until smooth and pour two thirds of the mixture into the cake tin. Place back into the freezer and leave for at least 30 minutes to set. After which, add the remaining ingredients to the food processor combined with the mix from the middle and pour over the middle layer.

Place the cake back in the freezer and let it set for at least 2 hours. Before serving let the cake warm up in the kitchen for 45 minutes or so. Slice and enjoy!