Looks pretty divine, right? And it tastes it too. But I had to make a few mistakes before the end result of this Triple Berry Cheesecake.
Here's how NOT to make a raw food cake:
1. After midnight.
We had friends coming over on Saturday morning to watch an 8AM rugby game and help us move home (see below for pics of my new kitchen!), so I wanted to make sure juices and cake were ready for our helpers. The only thing was that I spent all of Friday packing and 1AM appeared out of the blue. Well a blender is loud enough during the day, but a Vitamix is louder. And when it's the middle of the night and the Vitamix has no other sound to compete with, except maybe a petal falling off a rose or my own breathing, it's the kind of noise that'll make you wonder whether you are still breathing after all.
2. Without a sweetener.
Let's be honest- you eat your raw desserts to get your sugar fix, just the healthiest way possible. So to get full satisfaction- simply tasting cashews or cacao butter is not going to hit the spot. Well, it was only after I got the cake ingredients ready for blitzing that I realised I've packed away all of my sweeteners- agave, xylitol, date syrup, coconut nectar, raw honey, lucuma and yacon syrup. All but... stevia. Sad face. I was only unimpressed, because although I sweeten with this wonder leaf extract, it is an acquired taste and I was afraid that it may be the first and last raw dessert that our helpers would like to try if I feed them stevia only sweetened cheesecake. But then, having added enough lime juice and a special touch of citrus extract- this became the biggest revelation to offsetting any unfamiliar new tastes and especially any aftertaste, which stevia usually leaves.
3. With un-soaked cashews.
It's possible to make a cake with dry cashews of course, but refer back to #1 and imagine the noise being two times worse. Then imagine a grainy cheesecake. Then imagine a potentially broken blender. Finally imagine a bloated tummy, because you didn't release the enzyme inhibitors via a soaking process. [Side note: I soaked the cashews, but only later in the evening, hence the reason I had to make the cake so late.]
4. Using frozen ingredients.
And this my friends was the worst mistake of them all. I knew it was a bad idea, but I only realised in the very last minute that none of the berries were thawed. For smoothies and ice-creams, that would've been ideal, however making this specific recipe requires using melted cacao butter, which as you probably know is chocolate-hard at room temperature, so just imagine what happens when it meets frozen berries inside a blender. Disaster! Even with my Vitamix on, the entire mixture hardened all around the blade and inside the jug, like cement, even making it hard for me to pull the tamper out of the blender. There's no problem without a solution, so I quickly filled my kitchen basin with hot water and stuck the whole jug in there for the mixture to thaw and liquify. Result! So now that I successfully managed to sell my cheesecake making abilities to you, here is a pretty epic recipe (and steps on how to make a cheesecake, properly):
RAW FOOD TRIPLE BERRY CHEESECAKE
For the essentials:
Small 7 inch cake tin with adjustable bottom
High powered blender
For the base:
3/4 cup walnuts
1/2 cup pitted dates
1/4 cup desiccated coconut
1/4 tsp Himalayan salt
For the filling:
1.5 cups cashews, soaked
3/4 cup melted cacao butter
juice of 4 limes
1 cup blueberries and blackberries, fresh or thawed
10 drops of red mandarin extract (or any citrus extract)
2 tbsp liquid stevia
For the topping:
1/2 cup frozen raspberries
1 tbsp dried rose petals
a few mint leaves
1. Process all the base ingredients in a food processor, until finely milled. Transfer to a cake tin and press it using your hands to evenly cover the whole bottom.
2. Gently melt the cacao butter in a double boiler and measure out 3/4 cups of it in liquified form. Transfer all filling ingredients into a high speed blender and use a tamper, while you blend to a smooth creamy texture.
3. Pour the filling into your cake tin, scraping all the cream out of the blender. Tap the cake tin a few times on your bench, so the cake surface evens out.
4. Break up frozen raspberries and sprinkle them all over your cake, add mint leaves and dried rose petals, then transfer to the fridge to set for a minimum of 4 hours. Keeps in the fridge for up to 4 days or up to 3 weeks in the freezer.
Check out my gorgeous new kitchen, where all the magic will be created from now on (until the opening of Tanya's raw food cafe
Speaking of Tanya's- we are still looking for two amazing chefs and an assistant manager for the restaurant. Check out this page for more>>
If you are interested in bar tending, front of house or kitchen hand positions- we are now accepting expression of interest from exceptional team members via firstname.lastname@example.org. Please remember to email with this subject line: 'Tanya's - Job application for [enter position]