February 5, 2010
Oooooo, this one turned out really well, both as eye candy and truly tasty. This Raw Torte de Chocolate with Strawberry Icing was an experimental cake for the combined birthday party for my son and his wife. Mason, my grandson the sous chef, assisted. His job this time was pouring the ingredients into the food processor and then licking clean the emptied work bowl. He did take some photos and I did give him a bit of the torte mix to play with. A job well done.
This came together quite quickly in the food processor. Be sure to process the nuts first, gradually adding the rest of the ingredients to mix in evenly. If you just throw everything in at once, there will be a lot of stopping and scraping and manually mixing and pressing it all together. I imagine a Vita-Mix would make short work of it all. It is on my short list of equipment to add to the kitchen along with a food dryer.
The soaking is short term–only an hour which doesn’t require too much thinking ahead, but it is essential. Soaking nuts, seeds, grains, or beans brings them to life again with augmented nutritional content as they begin to grow. Once the torte is mixed, there is no baking time, just manually forming the torte and chilling until firm. It could be formed into almost any shape. I did start a day ahead to let the completed cake firm up with an overnight chill in the fridge. This also allowed more time to do the rest of the party prep the day of.
A raw cake is dense and potent in flavor, so the servings can be petite. It is more like candy than cake in intensity, but with no refined sugar, plus no wheat or soy. For the valentine theme, I chose strawberries for the topping, resulting in an alluring shade of pink. The combination of strawberry and chocolate with a little vanilla is classic, especially for Valentine’s Day. On the day of the party I checked the greenhouse to find whatever edible flowers might be blooming. It turned out to be double impatiens—no hibiscus flowers were open. Another option would have been streaking melted chocolate over the top that would have become solid as soon as touching the cold cake. The candles were a birthday party addition, but for Valentines Day, no candles are necessary.
¡Feliz Dia de Amistad!
Raw Torte de Chocolate with Strawberry Icing
Yield: one nine inch heart cake
For the Cake:
2 ½ cups pecans (12 ounces), soaked in pure water 1 hour
2 ½ cups pitted medjool dates
6 tablespoons raw cacao nibs, ground superfine
½ tablespoon vanilla extract
Drain the pecans and process the soaked nuts in a food processor into a fine meal. The soaking water can be used as stock for another recipe. Gradually process in the dates, ground cocoa nibs, and vanilla, continuing to process until the mixture forms a ball. Transfer to wax paper on a flat surface and form into the desired shape, about ¾-inch thick, then slip the paper onto a serving plate or platter. Cover and refrigerate until firm.
For the Icing:
1 cup macadamia nuts or raw cashews, soaked in pure water 1 hour
1 cup strawberries, stems removed (fresh or frozen)
¼ cup pitted medjool dates
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Drain the nuts (reserve the soaking water for stock) and combine all ingredients in a food processor or blender, process until smooth, thick, and creamy. Cut or peel the wax paper away from the cake then spread the icing over the chilled torte, and chill again until all is firm.