Even so, caramel and orange aren't flavours I've tried together before, so when I found myself daydreaming about a cake flavor that involved caramel, while at the same time staring at a pile of juicy oranges on the counter, it seemed like the perfect invitation to experiment... ?✨.
The orange adds a lovely, light fruity spunkiness to the cake, which the walnut crust complements perfectly. Add hints of chocolate (via the cacao butter inside and the specks of chocolate dotting the top) and bingo.
The caramel filling in this is quite different to all my other raw cakes -- using slightly different ingredient combinations, the flavor and texture came out interesting. Really lush and creamy, and deliciously caramel-like, of course. The date syrup topping effortlessly takes the whole caramel thing to the next level ?.
But here's the kicker -- this cake turned out very unconventional even for my unconventional baking standards ?. I always aim for minimal ingredients, and try to use ingredient combinations that make sense in terms of shopping (and $$) for others, etc. But sometimes my hands work faster than my brain in creative ingredient combining...
In this case I literally made this cake impromptu, using whatever was in my pantry until I got it to taste just like what I was craving in that moment... This of course means a lengthy shopping list that might prove expensive if you're buying every item for the first time just to make this cake. Sorry! ? Save this one for special occasions as a treat in this case.
If you're like me, however, and already have a pantry equipped with an insane miscellany of raw baking ingredients, proceed to the finish line! ?
On the upside, at least there are still only three major steps -- 1 )process & smoosh, 2) blend & fill, 3) decorate and freeze. EAT ??!
Note: above is an un-garnished version of this cake, which was pretty awesome too. Though the hints of chocolate and date syrup take all the flavors up a notch. Decorating is up to you!
A creamy and lush caramel-like tart, with a fruity spin.
- 1 cup walnuts
- ½ cup shredded coconut, unsweetened
- 7 soft medjool dates, pitted
- 2 tbsp coconut oil (or can use cacao butter)
- 2 tbsp coconut sugar
- ½ cup cashews, pre-soaked and strained*
- juice of ½ an orange
- zest of 1 orange
- 8 tbsp coconut sugar
- 6 tbsp melted cacao butter
- 6 tbsp shredded coconut
- 6 tbsp almond milk
- 6 tbsp coconut water powder
- 1 tbsp carob powder
- 3 tbsp maple syrup
- 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
- ½ tsp raw ground vanilla bean powder**
- ½ tsp salt
- Process all crust ingredients in a food processor into a fine sticky crumble. Transfer this mixture into a 7" tart pan***. Press down into the shape of a crust along the base and walls of the pan, packing the mixture in tightly and evenly. Freeze while working on next step.
- Blend all filling ingredients in a power blender until completely smooth. Transfer this mixture into your prepared crust and smooth out the top with a spoon or spatula. Decorate with any desired toppings (I sprinkled chocolate and petals around the edge, and filled the center with a thin layer of date syrup).
- Freeze for 5-6 hours or overnight to set. Thaw out 10-15 mins and remove cake from the pan. Slice and enjoy! Keep leftovers frozen.
*To pre-soak nuts: place in a glass bowl, cover with water, and leave to soak for 4 hours (or overnight in the fridge). Then strain and discard the water.
For a quick pre-soak, cover with boiled water and soak for 15 mins, then strain and discard water. (Note: this technique doesn't preserve the nutrition of the recipe as well as the traditional soaking technique above).
The purpose of soaking the nuts is to re-hydrate them and plump them up for blending into a smooth, cheesecake-like consistency. Proper soaking techniques also maximize nutrition and digestibility. If you're interested in learning more about nut soaking and other dessert prep tips and tricks, I delve into these subjects in detail in my book Unconventional Treats.
**You can also scrape the contents of a fresh vanilla bean pod, or use another 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract. Fresh vanilla pod or ground vanilla bean powder will give the most flavorful results though.
***Ideally use a tart pan with a removable bottom (like this one). Alternatively, use a springform pan of a similar size, or make smaller tarts in a muffin pan (using silicone liners). Or line a similar-sized tupperware container with parchment paper, etc.