Deciding to eat a mostly raw foods diet does not mean you have to give up your favourite desserts. In fact, one of the most fun things to do is to try and recreate your favourite sweet treats out of raw ingredients, and you will be surprised how simple it can be to turn even the most decadent treats into raw desserts, which taste even better than their unhealthy inspiration. One of my all-time favourite desserts used to be the Hummingbird Bakery raspberry cheesecake brownie; a dense, fudgey brownie, covered in layer of creamy vanilla cheesecake, and topped with raspberry cream. As you can see from that recipe, they are also a one-way ticket to sugar, cream and egg overload town; all ingredients I no longer include in my diet. I have really missed making this divine cheesecake, and as it was also my boyfriends favourite dessert, I thought I would make my own raw version as a birthday treat for him this weekend, and he declared them to be better than the original, which is high praise indeed!
The original recipe calls for an outrageous 700g of sugar, 400g of cream cheese, 200g of butter and 300ml of whipping cream; which now makes me shudder when I think I used to munch down multiple slices of this delicious dessert. A slice of the Hummingbird Bakery brownie used to send me into a heavy, sleepy, sugar slump, but these babies contain none of the nasties, and even more flavour, without making you feel sluggish and bloated after eating. Plus in the absence of refined sugar, which can really mask the flavour of food and confuse the tastebuds, the individual flavours of each layer can really shine through.
The bottom layer of this raw raspberry cheesecake is an incredibly moist, dense brownie, flavoured with heavenly carob to give it a really rich flavour, without adding too much sweetness. I am relatively new to the delights of carob, having always been a huge cacao fan, but I can honestly say I have fallen completely head over heels in love with this miraculous fruit. Carob improves digestion, lowers cholesterol in the blood, helps fight osteoporosis and lung cancer, and is a rich source of calcium which is really important to try to include in your diet if you don’t eat dairy products. The dark black colour is also stunning, and the smell is incredibly evocative of smokey, bustling Middle Eastern markets. If you haven’t tried carob before, I would really urge you to give this wonderful powdered fruit a go, because it is an even healthier alternative than cacao, and is even more delicious.
I actually made the vanilla cheesecake layer using leftovers I had from my Raweos with Peanut Butter, but I added a few more cashews to give it a more solid, cheesecake texture, and boy, is this layer good.It’s incredibly sweet and melts in your mouth due to the coconut oil and butter, and has a beautiful vanilla taste that always seems to get lost in baked vanilla cheesecakes. I actually am surprised I had enough left to make these bars with because I was unable to help myself going back and forward to the fridge to dig a spoon into the leftovers. I just love how easy it is to turn leftover raw food into new and delicious dishes; it is far easier than using cooked foods, which means less waste, and double the amount of yummy desserts!
I topped these with a thick layer of raspberry cream to balance out the sweetness of the bottom layers with the tartness of the berries, and drizzled some carob sauce on top, which I made by mixing a spoonful of carob, with a spoonful of water and maple syrup to add an extra chocolatey flavour hit.
I get so jealous of all the lucky devils in Australia who can get their sticky little mitts on Pana Chocolate’s ridiculously beautiful looking raw cheesecakes (have you ever seen a baked cheesecake that look as good as their cheesecakes?!), but I think these scrumptious cheesecake bars could certainly give them a run for their money! And it’s less expensive than jetting out to Australia, although it would definitely be worth it to sample of of their incredible creations! In Pana Chocolates honour, I added a few squares of their raw coconut and goji chocolate to decorate my cheesecakes.
This is probably my favourite raw pudding I have ever made, and you absolutely, definitely need to have multiple slices of it in your life (and tummy!). Happy un-baking friends!
- ⅓ cup (45g) brazil nuts
- ⅓ cup (40g) walnuts
- 8-9 Medjool dates
- 2 Tbsp maple syrup
- 3 Tbsp carob powder
- 1-2 Tbsp water
- 1 cup (150g) cashews
- 3 Tbsp coconut butter
- 1 Tbsp coconut oil
- 2 Tbsp maple syrup
- ½ tsp vanilla bean paste
- ⅔ cup cashews (soaked overnight or at least 6 hours)
- 100ml coconut cream
- 2 Tbsp melted coconut oil
- 2 Tbsp maple syrup
- ½ cup (65g) frozen raspberries
- 2 Tbsp water (if needed)
- Line a baking dish with greaseproof paper.
- Place the nuts in a food processor and pulse until they are roughly chopped into small pieces.
- Add the dates and pulse until they are combined with the nuts.
- Pour in maple syrup and carob powder and pulse to combine.
- Add the water a pulse again until the mixture comes together in a dough like substance. I find mines rolls into a ball in the food processor.
- Pour the mixture into the baking tray, and press the brownie mixture into the tray with a rubber spatula.
- Place in the freezer to harden whilst you make the cheesecake layer.
- Soak your cashews overnight (or for at least 4-6 hours), and drain.
- Place the cashews in a blender with the maple syrup and pulse until they are broken down into a chunky paste.
- Add all other ingredients and blend until smooth and creamy. Add a tablespoon of water if you need to.
- Pour the mixture over the top of the brownie layer and put it in the freezer for 15 minutes to firm up whilst you make the cream.
- Place the cashews, maple syrup and coconut oil in a blender and blend until smooth.
- Add in the coconut cream and raspberries and blend again until the mixture is smooth. Add an extra tablespoon of coconut cream if the mixture is not creamy enough.
- Pour the cream over the top of the brownies, and smooth down using a rubber spatula.
- Place the raspberry cheesecake brownie in the freezer to harden for 90 minutes or until firm (but not frozen solid).
- Remove the brownie from the tray and cut into approx. 10 bars.
- Place the bars on greaseproof paper on a flat tray and place in the freezer again for a further 10 minutes before serving.
If you want to know more about the ingredients used in this recipe, please visit my ‘Raw Pantry’ page!