Hazelnuts, figs, cashews, dates. That's pretty much what's in this caramel beauty. It's decadent, smooth, creamy, only sweetened with fruits, goes very well with fresh figs, and has a flavor reminiscent of caramel.
Hard to believe, but this cake was designed for a person incredibly limited in ingredient choices and in need of a little wedding cake!
A blog reader named Keren contacted me recently for ideas for a cake for her sister's wedding. Only the food "off limits" list is so restrictive that she's been hard pressed even coming up with ideas for a treat. She said, both hopeful and a touch resigned,
"I would be thrilled if you can help us out, it would be beyond cool to be able to make some kind of cake or cup cake for her big day! Whether you manage to or not you’re still my hero and I keep coming back for your recipes to make sure my daughter gets her full of yummie cakes even though she, too, is allergic to tons of stuff (not as bad as my sister but tough enough) and I personally prefer your creations to anything you can buy in any shop or café!!!"
Ok, where's the blushing emoji?! Eeek such a lovely compliment!
Now about the "ingredients permitted" list -- was it tall order? Maybe... But hey, I figured it was just cake -- I'd have fun and just see what happens. What happened is as you see pictured...
The actual "permitted" list was very strict -- nothing outside of the following:
chick pea + aquafaba, potatoes, carrots, green peas, yellow peas, spinach, raw peppers, lettuce heads, zucchini, sundried tomatoes (just the tomato, no oils or additived)...
(at this point I was beginning to envision a possible beautiful wedding... salad? :P)
...rice (all kinds), rice flour + rice puffs, quinoa +flour, oregano, rosemary, thyme, chili, salt, pepper, apples, avocados, kiwi, fennel, basil, plums...
(ok, now we're getting into dessert-ish territory...)
...nuts (including peanuts) & nut butters, almonds, almond butter, dates, date syrup, figs.
(bingo! nuts + dates + figs, all I needed!).
When you look at a list this big it can seem really overwhelming. But with nuts and dates I feel safe -- I always feel like you can go for miles with those two; infinite dessert possibilities. So I got to work, tried out a few cakes, sent them out to friends for reviews, and this one was the clear winner.
I adhered to the specific ingredients list, but added *optional vanilla* (for those not on this diet specifically) because you can never go wrong with some. I also felt that a bit of orange extract or a bit of orange zest would have been nice in this too, so adding it in as a thought.
Note: I used date syrup for sweetening the cake. You could use something like maple syrup instead, though the date syrup gives it a nice caramel-like flavor. Also, the hazelnuts can be swapped for another nut, like pistachio or almonds.
Last but not least, as per usual, this recipe is for a tiny 5″ cake. See downloadable cake size guide below if you need help with sizing this cake up or down. Also, if you need any tips to get comfortable with raw cake making, you may find Unconventional Treats handy for that.
Oh, and one more final note: because this cake is designed to be very lush and creamy, it’ll also get quite melty if not kept frozen. So be sure to serve it frozen, or thaw out for just 5-10 minutes prior to serving.Print
This fig hazelnut caramel cake (vegan, paleo, gluten-free) is decadent, smooth, creamy, sweetened with fruits, and has a flavor reminiscent of caramel.
- ¾ cup cashew butter
- ⅓ cup date syrup
- ¼ cup water
- 2 large fresh figs (stem removed)
- ½ tsp salt
- optional: ¼ teaspoon raw ground vanilla bean or 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract; a hint of orange extract could be nice too (note: I did not use these in this cake as per notes above)
- chopped and whole hazelnuts, fresh figs, decorative flowers of choice, date syrup for drizzling on individual slices if desired
- Process all crust ingredients into a fine sticky crumble in a food processor. Transfer to a 5" springform pan and press down into an even crust. Freeze while working on next step.
- Blend all filling ingredients into a smooth consistency in a power blender. Pour over prepared crust. Freeze for 5-6 hours or overnight.
- Decorate with desired toppings and serve. Enjoy! (Note: keep cake frozen until serving; store leftovers in the freezer).