Before you jump ahead and read the ingredient list on this cake and get pissed at me for adding a vegetable to your dessert – please, please hear me out and give it a chance! This cake is life changing. It is creamy, thick, rich and so decadent.
I know I tell you guys this all of the time, but the true litmus test to a successful gluten-free dessert or baked good that I create – is the reaction of my husband. As a man that literally can and will eat just about anything, the gluten-free treats that I get so excited for are oftentimes totally unappealing to him. He likes traditional sweets, the sweeter the better – that man most times would prefer a cookie from a tube, than a less than perfect homemade gluten-free cookie fresh from the oven. The same also goes for (and usually more-so) the vegan creations I develop. I can’t blame him though – he literally can eat anything, no food intolerances, no responses or reactions. Just a stomach of steel!
The thing is, when I can create something gluten-free, that isn’t made with refined sugars, that uses an alternative to cream and butter that he actually goes nuts for – nothing makes me happier and that’s how I know I’ve created something amazing. He really loved this one and he cannot stop talking about it, he actually ate a piece for breakfast today. That’s a WIN!!
I’ve been obsessed with cashew cream cakes a while now, I love the versatility and how it appeals to all eaters, vegan or not. The No-Bake Vegan “Cheesecake” I made last summer is something I have made for many of our friends and every single one has always been impressed that the creaminess is all from soaked cashews.
This cashew cream cake has the perfect amount of subtle mint flavor, both from the fresh mint and the mint extract and the chocolate of the crust and the chocolate chips on top compliment it so well. I love serving it with a little whipped coconut cream on top. Plus, rather than the beautiful green color coming from an artificial dye, it comes from some fresh baby spinach! Whether you want to believe it or not, there isn’t a bit of flavor from the baby spinach – just a beautiful, fresh and natural green hue.
I decided this year I would create a recipe that would be perfect for St. Patrick’s Day. Not a holiday I usually give a single care or thought about, but it was a really great excuse to get creative in the kitchen and to make something naturally green, sweet and still healthy. I think the Shamrock Shake has been recreated enough, if you ask me, so this is another fun play on that creamy minty flavor. I hope you enjoy it as much as we do.
[print_this]Mint Chocolate Chip Cashew Cream Cake – Gluten-free, Grain-free, Vegan, Refined-Sugar Free
Makes 9″ Springform Pan
Serves 8 to 12
- 10 medjool dates
- 1 1/2 cups raw nut(s) of your choice (pecans, almonds, walnuts, pistachios, macadamia or any combination of these will work, too)
- 1/4 tsp sea salt
- 1/4 cup shredded coconut
- 1/2 cup raw cacao powder (regular cocoa powder will work, too)
- 2 1/2 cups raw cashews (soaked overnight, or at least 4 hours)
- 1/3 cup coconut oil, in liquid state
- 1/2 cup maple syrup (honey would also be really nice, just not vegan)
- 4-6 tablespoons water (you may want a little more if it is too thick)
- 1/2 cup organic coconut cream (as is, or scooped from the top of a chilled can of organic coconut milk)
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- 1/4 cup fresh mint
- 2 large handfuls organic baby spinach
- 1 teaspoon pure peppermint extract
- 1/4 cup vegan mini chocolate chips (I like this brand)
Optional for topping: Whipped coconut cream
**DO AHEAD** Soak the cashews overnight the night before you are making this. If the dates are really dry and hard, soak them for about 1 hour before you make the crust.
Line the bottom of a round 9″ springform pan with parchment paper; set aside. In a food processor fitted with the S blade, process the nuts, salt, coconut, cacao powder until you have an almost flour-like consistency, leaving some bits of the nuts make for a nice texture. Add the dates and pulse until combined into a sticky and chunky mixture. You aren’t looking for this to be smooth, you should still see flecks of dates and the raw nuts. Press mixture into the prepared springform pan, then cover with plastic or foil and freeze until ready to use.
Once the cashews have soaked, discard the soaking water, give them a quick rinse and add the cashews to the container of a high speed blender or food processor. Add the coconut cream, coconut oil, maple syrup (or other sweetener), vanilla and water. If the mixture is too thick, add just a little more water, one teaspoon at a time. It should be a very thick mixture so don’t add too much. Add the fresh mint, mint extract and baby spinach, adding a little more water if necessary. It should be smooth and creamy and you will see some small flecks of green. Once blended, pour the cashew mixture over the crust, cover in plastic wrap or foil and freeze overnight, or until solid. Once the filling has set a bit, sprinkle the mini chocolate chips over the top.
When ready to serve, allow the tart to thaw for 15 minutes, then slice and serve. Add a little whipped coconut cream, if you’d like.
You can store the leftover cake in the fridge or the freezer, whichever you prefer. I prefer the fridge, myself. Easier to cut and much creamier.[/print_this]