Chocolate and salted caramel cake
We try not to make a big deal about my birthday around here. Correction: I try not to make a big deal about my birthday around here. Mostly because I'm hard to please (read: very, very picky) and partly because reminding myself that I'm only getting older isn't all that fun anymore. So I make a small cake, convince a handsome man to make me a healthy, hearty dinner and take it easy. Except this year I'm not doing so well on the taking it easy part.
I crawled out of bed at 5AM and decided to go on a (almost but not quite) 12 mile run. I returned - legs sore, feet smelling like rotting squirrel flesh (Vibrams have a tendency to do that) - and I climbed into Thom's claw foot tub with a mug of my favorite coffee. Then soaked for a half hour. I can't help but feel like I'm kind of living my dream life. Except in my dream I'd be in Paris. And Thom would have a French accent and dress in a button down shirt with a striped bow tie. And I'd ride my bike to the market to fetch fresh baguettes, every morning. Because in my dream life I'd be able to tolerate gluten. And I'd probably have a really fat ass (as a result of eating baguettes every morning).
What I'm trying to say is.. this day has been swell. And I'm only a quarter of the way into it. I'm heading downtown in a few short hours to sign a lease on the new loft and after that I'm going to come home and watch reruns of The Office. Or maybe those videos of Charlize Theron, again. Just.. watch them. And if you don't laugh at at least half of them, we probably can't be friends.
Ha, just kidding. Maybe.
This cake - although lacking typical cake ingredients - is so, so, so, so delicious. I made a similar version last year, but I wanted to change it up this year. And changing it up meant ditching the coconut frosting and replacing it with a salted caramel frosting that I've been wanting to make for months. And what the birthday lady wants, the birthday lady gets. Especially when the birthday lady is in charge of making the cake.
RAW CHOCOLATE AND SALTED CARAMEL CAKE
2 cups raw almonds
1 cup raw cashew pieces
1/2 cup cacao powder
1/2 teaspoon raw sea salt
15 medjool dates, pitted
3-4 tablespoons raw nut milk, or waterCashew cream frosting
5-6 medjool dates, pitted
1 1/2 cup raw cashew pieces, soaked overnight
1/4 cup raw nut milk (or water)
1/2 vanilla bean, split and scraped
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
Line the bottom of three 4" spring form pans with parchment paper; set aside. In a food processor fitted with the S blade, blend the almonds, cashews, cacao powder and salt until the mixture resembles a fine meal; about 1-2 minutes. Add the dates and nut milk; pulse until the mixture forms a smooth (but slightly crumbly) dough. Divide the dough evenly between the prepared pans and press; chill in freezer for 45-60 minutes.
Place the dates in a small bowl and cover with water; soak for 10-15 minutes. In the container of a high powered blender, such as a Vitmix, blend the soaked cashews, raw nut milk, vanilla bean and sea salt for 1-2 minutes. Add the soaked dates and blend until extremely smooth; about 2 minutes. Transfer frosting to a small, air tight container and refrigerate until ready to use. If you're going to refrigerate it for a few days, I suggest adding 1/2 teaspoon of lemon juice, to help preserve the frosting.
To assemble the cake, carefully remove the cake layers from the pans. Place one layer in the middle of a cake stand (or plate) and smother, generously, with frosting. Add the remaining layers and do the same. Transfer to freezer for 45 minutes, so the cashew cream hardens; this will make it easier for you to ice the entire cake. Smooth remaining frosting onto the cake. Serve immideately or transfer to an air tight container and store in the freezer for up for 2 weeks.
Yield: 1 4" triple layer cake