Fresh sweet black cherries and dried sour cherries combine to make this vibrant and seductive raw layer cake. It's not only power-packed with flavour and texture but goodness too from the cacao, Brazil nuts and sprouted oat base to the sensuous creamy layers made with cashew nuts and coconut oil.
60 g (2 oz/scant 1/3 cup) Brazil nuts
80 g (2¾ oz/½ cup) pitted Medjool dates
¼ vanilla pod (bean), split lengthways and seeds scraped out
½ tsp Himalayan pink salt
1 tbsp cacao powder
½ tsp ground cinnamon
40 g (1 1/2 oz) dark (bittersweet) chocolate 85% cocoa solids, roughly chopped
40 g (1 1/2 oz/scant 1/3 cup) sprouted oats
100 g (3½ oz/¾ cup) cashew nuts
70 ml (2½ fl oz/¼ cup plus 2 tsp) almond milk
30 g (1 oz/2 tbsp) blonde coconut nectar or agave
½ vanilla pod (bean), split lengthways and seeds scraped out
50 g (1¾ oz/¼ cup) coconut oil, melted
100 g (3½ oz/¾ cup) cashew nuts
200 g (7 oz/1½ cups) pitted fresh cherries
¼ tsp ground cinnamon
¼ tsp Himalayan pink salt
Finely grated zest of ¼ lemon
3 tsp lemon juice
100 g (3 1/2 oz/1/2 cup) coconut oil
50 g (1 3/4 oz/ 1/3 cup) dried sour cherries
10-20 g (1/3- 3/4 oz/2-4 tsp) coconut nectar or agave, optional
Soak the cashew nuts for each layer separately in 200 ml (7 fl oz/¾ cup plus 1 tbsp) of filtered water with a scant ½ tsp of Himalayan pink salt for 3-4 hours. Drain and rinse well.
Line a baking tray at least 27 cm (10½ inches) long and 4 cm (1½ inches) deep with baking parchment.
In a food processor, roughly chop the Brazil nuts for the cake. Remove from the processor, then add the dates, vanilla seeds, salt, cacao powder and cinnamon to the blender and blitz to make a paste. Add the chopped nuts, chocolate and sprouted oats, and pulse a few times to combine. The mix will be in crumbs but should come together when you squeeze a piece in your hands.
Turn out the raw cake mix and press it along one long and one short edge of the baking tray to make a 26.5 x 9 cm (10½ x 3½ inch) rectangular base. Now you need to make a make-shift mould around the cake base. Fold up a piece of aluminium foil, overlapping it about three times to make a 4 cm (1½ inch) high wall. Place the wall around the two edges of the cake that aren't touching the baking tray. Freeze.
Make the vanilla layer. Blend the soaked cashew nuts and almond milk until smooth. Add the coconut nectar or agave, vanilla seeds and coconut oil and blend until completely smooth. Pour over the chocolate base, making sure none of the mix leaks through the mould. Freeze immediately to set (1-2 hours).The vanilla layer must be completely set before adding the cherry layer.
Make the cherry layer. Place the cherries, cinnamon, salt, lemon zest and juice in the blender and process to make a cherry juice. Add the soaked cashew nuts and blend until almost completely smooth. Melt the coconut oil and add it to the blender, along with the sour cherries, and blend once more until completely smooth, scraping the mix down from the sides if necessary. The mix should turn from a deep purple to red when the sour cherries are added. Taste and adjust to your preferred sweetness if desired. Pour the cherry layer over the vanilla layer and freeze for a further 1 hour until firm but not frozen solid. Remove from the freezer and slice into 2.5 cm (1 inch) wide rectangles. To get a clean cut, dip a sharp knife in hot water and slice when frozen.
Decorate each piece as you want to. I love to use cacao nibs, fresh cherries and edible flowers.
Keeps in the fridge for five days. This can be frozen for up to three months but it needs to be defrosted before serving as it should be served like a cold mousse.
In season, red-pink cherries are a must for this, otherwise you won't achieve the right colour. You can also add a little beetroot powder if you are not satisfied with the colour.
Recipe and images extracted from Clean Cakes by Henrietta Inman, photography by Lisa Linder. Published by Jacqui Small (£20).