Decadent chocolate cherry mousse cake
We ate this for dessert last night, and I indulged again after a full breakfast this morning so am sitting here feeling a bit stuffed! This delicious uncooked cake is very decadent and yet is loaded with good-for-you stuff. You can make it up to 5 days ahead if you like. The recipe is adapted from one by Laura Wright but I have reduced the syrups and given you alternatives for those hard-to-find ingredients. I also use cooked beetroot instead of raw, which simply doesnt break up well unless you have a super high speed food processor. Sometimes I make individual servings in mousse rings and store in a box in the freezer. I find that this cake quantity makes at least 10 so sometimes I make half the quantity for a smaller gathering.
It’s really important to use the mousse ingredients at room temperature not straight from the fridge – otherwise it solidifies instantly into an un-pourable mound with a grainy texture.
For 1 x 22cm cake (to serve 10-12):
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310g raw almonds
30g raw cacao powder
¼ level tsp Himalayan or Atlantic Sea Salt
40g dried sour cherries (or use dried cranberries if you can’t get cherries)
8 medjool dates, pitted
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 rounded tbsp extra virgin coconut oil
325g raw cashews, soaked overnight in filtered water, at room temperature
330ml almond milk, at room temperature
155ml/140g extra virgin coconut oil, gently warmed to a liquid
60ml/4 level tbs/85g raw honey, raw agave nectar or maple syrup, at room temperature (tip: use a hot spoon to measure honey, if using)
Juice of 1 lemon, at room temperature
2 tsp vanilla extract
¼ level tsp Himalayan or Atlantic Sea Salt
115g frozen, pitted cherries (or raspberries if you prefer), thawed, at room temperature – or use pitted fresh cherries if in season
1 small cooked beetroot, chopped, at room temperature (shop bought will do)
1 x 22cm spring-form cake tin
A little extra coconut oil for greasing the tin
A food processor
Cling film (if making ahead and storing in the freezer)
1. To make the base, place the almonds in a food processor and pulse until chopped and resembling breadcrumbs. Add the cacao powder, salt, dried sour cherries, dates, vanilla and rounded tbsp coconut oil and blitz until the dried fruit is evenly distributed throughout the mix. When the mixture holds together when pinched, it’s ready to use. Grease the sides of your tin with a little extra coconut oil or rapeseed oil. Evenly press the base mix into the bottom of the prepared tin and set aside.
2. To make the mousse, remember that all the ingredients need to be at least at room temperature or else the mix thickens too quickly and becomes grainy and unpourable. Drain the cashews and combine them in the food processor with the almond milk, coconut oil, honey/maple syrup or agave, lemon juice and salt. Blend until smooth.
3. Pour all but 500ml (about half) of the mixture into the prepared tin. Add the pitted cherries and chopped beetroot to the remaining 500ml of the mixture. Blend until smooth and pour all but 250ml of this mixture quickly into the centre of the cake. Lightly drizzle the remaining mousse mixture around the top of the cake creating a decorative marbled effect.
4. To set the mousse cake: cover the tin with a plate and place in the coldest (bottom) shelf of the fridge for 6 hours or overnight. Alternatively, stretch cling film over the top of the tin and slide gently into the freezer for 6 hours or overnight. The cake will keep quite happily for a couple of weeks in the freezer. Remove from the freezer to thaw at room temperature for 1-2 hours before serving. When its soft right the way through (test with a needle), place in the fridge until you want to serve.
Virgin coconut oil is a great source of medium chain triglycerides, a special type of fat that goes straight into energy production in your body instead of being used to make fat. For this reason, it is a healthier fat than butter. Coconut oil also contains capryllic acid, which has anti-fungal properties – good news for anyone with bowel issues or cystitis linked to candida. Cherries, red berries and beetroots are high in proanthocyanadins which strengthen connective tissue and the lining of your digestive system, reducing the tendency to diverticulitis, hernias and saggy skin. Raw almonds (and cold-pressed or “extra virgin” oils) contain vitamin E. This vitamin naturally lubricates and moisturises your skin, reduces the production of wrinkles, and also helps dampen down allergic reactions. Healthy skin does not need body moisturisers. “Raw” cashew nuts are, bizarrely, not raw at all – the nuts have to be steamed in order to be extracted from their hard shell. Cashews are a sweetish and healthier substitute for cream cheese, sugar and other not-so-great ingredients that tend to be used in desserts. Desserts like this one should be used as occasional treats and not eaten at every meal. They are still rich in natural sugars and if you eat them all the time, provide more calories than you need. A normal daily intake of raw nuts and seeds would not exceed a tablespoon or two.