Raw + Vegan Neapolitan Cake Bars

Raw + Vegan Neapolitan Cake BarsToday were kicking off the week and holiday season with a healthy dessert. A raw and vegan one at that. I was asked to create a raw and vegan cake for a birthday last week, and it’s been something I’ve always wanted to try, both making and eating. I’ve eaten raw bars and semi-raw desserts, but I don’t think a total raw dessert. Making a raw and vegan isn’t hard, it just requires a bit more time, and lots of cleaning, since they’re is no cooking. After researching Pinterest I was inspired by this pretty layered Neapolitan cake.
Raw + Vegan Neapolitan Cake BarsIt has the creamy texture and milk sweetness like ice cream, but of course lacks the dairy. I was totally impressed, and practically hooked on raw desserts after eating this cake. It also quickly melts to a consistency of thick pudding. It’s just delicious, and healthy, healthy enough that I can even eat during this cleanse.
Raw + Vegan Neapolitan Cake BarsI made this cake into a half sheet cake, and had a 9X3″ strip left over, but you can make this in a 10 or 12″ spring-form pan at home. Every bite has an intense nutty flavor, and the texture of this crust, oh, this nut and date chocolate crust is my favorite. It’s crunchy yet moist and chewy. I also had never soaked cashews and puréed them before, and I was pleasantly surprised how easily they turn into a smooth custard filling. It’s thick, and surprisingly rich and sweet. This sweet cashew and vanilla cream was the base for the other two layer flavors, strawberry and chocolate. It’s bitter, sweet, and tart. Raw + Vegan Neapolitan Cake Bars Raw + Vegan Neapolitan Cake BarsI used almonds and walnuts in this crust, but feel free to use whatever nut you like. As for the filling, I recommend sticking with cashews, you just won’t achieve the smoothest texture with other nuts. And the same goes for the strawberry layer, replace it with other berries or fruit, mango would be delicious.  Raw + Vegan Neapolitan Cake Bars Raw + Vegan Neapolitan Cake Bars Raw + Vegan Neapolitan Cake Bars Raw + Vegan Neapolitan Cake Bars Raw + Vegan Neapolitan Cake BarsI just love the pretty pastel layers. Raw + Vegan Neapolitan Cake BarsAs we head into a season of entertaining and good food, it’s good to be able to serve healthy desserts that can stand up against classics. Give it a try, I’m sure this raw and vegan layered cake will convince you. Raw + Vegan Neapolitan Cake BarsThis cake can be served for almost all diets, even those who don’t follow specific diets will definitely enjoy this cake. Didn’t think raw or vegan desserts were decadent, well this cake is really rich, like a fudgey brownie or flourless chocolate cake. Raw + Vegan Neapolitan Cake Bars

Raw + Vegan Neapolitan Cake Bars

Ingredients {Makes 12″ cake – Serves about 20}

Crust

1 cup – Ground Almonds

1 cup – Ground Walnuts

1 cup – Dates {pitted}

1/2 cup – Cocoa Powder

2 tablespoons – Coconut Oil

Vanilla Base Filling

3 cups – Raw Cashews {soaked in water 4 to 6 hours or overnight, then drained}

1 cup – Liquid Sweetener of choice {maple syrup, agave nectar, raw honey if not vegan}

Juice of 1 large lemon

1 cup – Coconut Oil {melted}

2 tablespoons – Pure Vanilla Extract

Pinch of Salt

Coconut Water, if needed to thin out filling

Chocolate Layer

1/2 cup – Cocoa Powder

2 tablespoons – Liquid Sweetener of choice {maple syrup, agave nectar, raw honey if not vegan}

2 tablespoons – Coconut Oil {melted}

Coconut Water, if needed to thin out filling

Strawberry Layer

2 cups – Frozen Strawberries {or fruit of choice}

Coconut Water, if needed to thin out filling

Chocolate Topping, optional 

Cocoa Nibs or Vegan Chocolate

Recipe {Adapted from Home Cooking Adventure}

Line the removable bottom of the spring-from with parchment, then line the bottom and sides with plastic wrap. Place dates, ground almonds, ground walnuts, and cocoa powder in the bowl of a food processor, and blend until crumbs form. Add the coconut oil and process until the mixture is well combined, and sticks together when squeezed between fingers.

Press the crust mixture into the bottom of the lined springform pan. Place in freezer while you prepare the filling.

In a high-power blender of food processor, add the presoaked and drained cashews, lemon juice, liquid sweetener, melted coconut oil, vanilla extract and salt, and process until creamy and completely smooth. Slowly add in coconut water if mixture is too thick, carefully add in until firm but creamy. Divide the filling equally amongst three bowls, leaving the third portion in the blender.

Add the ingredients for the chocolate layer into the cashew mixture into the blender, process until smooth and creamy. Slowly add in coconut water if mixture is too thick, carefully add in until firm but creamy. Pour the chocolate mixture evenly over the crust. Place in the freezer for 20 minutes to set before adding the next layer.

Meanwhile clean the blender and prepare the strawberry layer. Add the vanilla base mixture from one of the bowls and add the frozen strawberries, blending until smooth and creamy. Slowly add in coconut water if mixture is too thick, carefully add in until firm but creamy. Remove the pan from the freezer and gently pour the strawberry layer evenly over the chocolate layer. Freeze for another 20 minutes or until set before adding the next layer.

Remove the pan from the freezer and gently pour the remaining third of the vanilla base over the strawberry layer, and smooth top. Place in the freezer at least 2 hours, preferably overnight.

To decorate top, drizzle melted cake over top and serve immediately. Store cake completely wrapped in plastic in the freezer, and thaw out 5 minutes before serving.


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