NEAPOLITAN BIRTHDAY CAKE
Meet the sexiest birthday cake I've ever created!
Every year on her birthday, my sister, Regina, requests nothing but a cake. Not just any ordinary cake though, all year she submits ideas and notes to me on all the different kinds of cakes that she would like for her birthday. What's funny is that when it comes down to about a week before her birthday, she says something like "I can't decide, just make me another version of last years cake, that was SO good!".
It started 4 years ago, when I was in my holistic culinary program and I was learning all about alternative ingredients and making healthy and ridiculously good desserts. My foodie adventures had me making all kinds of treats that Regina happily taste-tested.
On her birthday 4 years ago, it was my first time creating a raw and vegan 'cheesecake'. A cake that quite honestly had never even occurred to me as possible nor did it sound pleasing. But I was on a mission to make all things healthy (still am!) and I knew she loved cheesecake so I went for it.
Well, it's not a surprise that raw vegan cheesecake blew our mind and we never really looked back since. I've made a variation of this each year and it's lead to multiple conversations with friends and family saying "Wow, this is what real cake tastes like. So many flavors and I feel amazing after eating it!".
To say the least, I only got 3 small slices out of this very large cake all week. Regina can tell you what happened to the rest because nobody else besides her roommate and I had any. I'm serious.
I'm sharing the recipe today so you too can indulge in cake freely and without guilt. I think there's something to be said about being able to enjoy the sweet things in life. There is no need to restrict when we have the ability to create desserts that contain nothing but nourishing, real, and super delicious ingredients.
Before I share, don't be fooled by the list of ingredients and steps. I break it all down for you as best as I can for ease and not to overwhelm you. Honestly, one layer is perfection, but if you're an over achiever like me, you'll go for all three layers.
Note: These ingredient amounts are for a large (about 12-inch round) cake. I list the ingredients & procedures for layers from bottom to top.
2 cups dates (about 20 dates), pitted
1 cup raw almonds
1 cup raw pistachios
Pinch of sea salt
Vanilla Filling (Layers 1 & 2):
4 cups raw cashews, soaked in water for at least 1 hour
3/4 cup pure maple syrup
1/2 cup melted coconut oil
Coconut cream from 2 cans full-fat coconut milk, place cans in refrigerator overnight to separate cream
Juice of 1 lemon
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
Berry Layer (for Layer 2 ONLY):
1 1/2 cups fresh or frozen raspberries
2 teaspoons goji berry extract powder (optional)
1 teaspoon mesquite powder (optional)
Chocolate Ganache (Layer 3 - Top Layer):
4 REVIVE chocolate bars
1 cup full-fat coconut milk
Fresh blueberries, or any berry you'd like
- In a food processor, pulse all crust ingredients until they all stick together (Mixture needs to hold together when pressed with fingers).
- Transfer to a parchment-lined spring form pan or regular round cake pan. (If using regular pan, make sure parchment paper covers sides of pan too). Press mixture down with hands into pan and flatten out evenly.
- Place in freezer while you make filling.
Make Filling - Vanilla & Berry Layers:
- Drain and rinse cashews after soaking in water for about an hour.
- Place all filling ingredients, except 'berry/layer 2 only' ingredients, in a high-speed blender. Blend until smooth and creamy - you may need to do this in batches. Taste to make sure it's to your liking. If not, you may add more maple syrup or lemon juice to adjust accordingly.
- Pour about 2/3 of filling over crust. Smooth out evenly with a spatula and place pan back in freezer.
- Blend remaining 1/3 of filling with 'berry/layer 2 only' ingredients. Pour over first filling layer and smooth out evenly with a spatula. Place pan back in freezer.
Make Chocolate Ganache:
- Break up chocolate bars and place in a medium bowl.
- Heat coconut milk in a small pot just until it reaches a light simmer.
- Pour hot milk over chocolate and stir with a spatula until chocolate is melted completely.
- Pour chocolate mixture over berry layer and spread out evenly with spatula.
- Decorate cake with toppings.
- Place in freezer for at least 6 hours, until all layers are firm.
- Before serving, let cake thaw out for about 20 minutes. Cut and enjoy!
- Keep cake stored in freezer.
Makes a 12-inch round cake