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raw chocolate birthday cake + earl grey chocolate mousse

These sweet little cakes are full blown TREAT. YO. SELF. territory. They take a bit of time, the ingredients are decidedly luxe, they’re individual, there’s a fresh coconut and some dehydrating involved (although I’m super-confident that you could bake the batter in an oven at low temperature)… You have to dredge up the will and gumption to make raw food, high-vibe magic happen here. It was my birthday this week and dang if I wasn’t gonna make something delicious that made me feel so good. Also, tea + cake is one of my most loved breakfast combinations ever, so there’s that to consider.

We had a cozy weekend in the city to celebrate another year of being right here with lots of tasty eats + drinks. February tends to be kind of blah across the board, but there have been glimmers and sparks of great things to come to keep our lives a little more vibrant. I’m excited for it all, big and little.

And these cakes! I’m generally crushing on individual desserts at all times, so I went in that direction here. I enjoyed an earl grey and chocolate milkshake as part of a dessert trio at a tiny restaurant a long time ago that has sadly closed its doors since. The combination certainly latched itself onto my memory. I just had to find a most fitting dessert and well, here we are. My morning beverage of choice all fancied up with plenty of chocolate. Good life.

The cake portion is comprised of walnuts, very fine almond meal, maple syrup, vanilla + raw cacao. I dehydrated the cake (in my incredibly budget, entry-level dehydrator from the local hardware store) and was so pleased with the results. Exactly like a rich and dense brownie and heavy with deep chocolate flavour. I imagine the cake could be made in the oven as well. Put the temperature as low as you can and keep an eye on it to see how quickly it dries out. The mousse is all cashews and fresh coconut meat with strong earl grey tea, vanilla, more cacao and extra virgin coconut oil. It was my first time working with a fresh, young coconut so I was rather anxious to lay a knife into the thing and go wild. When I pried its natural lid off, I saw some pretty pink flesh inside and freaked out a bit. A little googling revealed that the pigmentation was a sign of extreme young-ness in the fruit (and good luck apparently!). All sighs of relief and lots of tasty, mega-hydrating coconut water to drink. The mousse turned out so rich and airy with subtle citrus + floral notes from the tea.

In terms of serving it up: I don’t need to tell you that cake + ice cream is a birthday staple, so there’s that. I also put a little bit of nature’s sprinkles on top in the form of pomegranate seeds. They served as a wonderfully tart respite from all of the heavy richness going on. While they’re still somewhat plentiful, I would highly recommend it.

Partyin’ down over here and all of my big hugs, friends :)

raw chocolate cake + earl grey chocolate mousse
barely adapted from Sarma Melngailis’s recipe in Living Raw Food
serves: 4 – 6, depending on how you cut the cake
notes: I sifted the almond flour to get it super fine. This is really important in terms of the cake’s texture. I would recommend purchasing a finer ground almond meal/flour if it’s available. Also, here’s a video (link) to help you with cracking open a young coconut! I would recommend NOT using a super-cherished knife for this, just go for a sharp one with some good heft, an old beater of sorts.

raw chocolate cake:
1 cup raw walnut pieces, soaked 2 hours or longer + strained
3/4 cup maple syrup
1/2 cup filtered water
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup raw cacao powder (or cocoa powder is fine too), sifted
1.5 cups very fine almond flour
1/2 tsp fine sea salt

earl grey chocolate mousse:
1 1/4 cups raw cashews, soaked 2 hours or more
1/4-1/3 cup young coconut meat (this is what I yielded from 1 coconut)
2 tbsp raw cacao powder (or cocoa powder)
1.5 tsp vanilla extract
pinch of fine sea salt
1/2 cup maple syrup
heaped 3/4 cup strong-brewed earl grey tea (or water!)
3/4 cup liquid extra virgin coconut oil

chocolate sauce/shell:
1.5 tbsp melted extra virgin coconut oil
2 tbsp maple syrup
2 tbsp raw cacao powder
splash of vanilla extract

for serving:
pomegranate seeds/other fruit of choice
vanilla ice cream of choice (I like Luna & Larry’s Coconut Bliss)

Make the cake: combine the soaked walnuts, maple syrup, water and vanilla extract in the pitcher of a blender. Gradually bring the blender speed to high and blend until walnuts are fully liquified/incorporated into the liquid. Set aside. In a large bowl, stir together the sifted cacao powder, fine almond flour and sea salt. Add the maple and walnut mixture to the bowl. Stir with a spatula until fully combined. Spread the batter onto a parchment lined dehydrator tray (an offset spatula is very helpful here). It should be about 1/2 inch thickness. Smooth out the top as much as you can.

Dehydrate the cake at 115 degrees F for around 24 hours. You want the cake to be firm and dry on the top. The parchment should peel away with little effort. Wrap the cake in cling film and set aside in the refrigerator  until ready to use. I had mine wrapped and stowed away for 2 whole days and it was fine.

Make the mousse: combine the cashews, coconut meat, cacao powder, vanilla extract, sea salt, maple syrup and earl grey tea in the pitcher of a blender. Gradually bring the speed of the blender to high. Blend until cashews are thoroughly puréed and the mix is homogenous. With the motor of the blender on low, remove the lid and slowly pour in the melted coconut oil. This step emulsifies the filling like a salad dressing and evenly distributes the oil. Once you’ve poured it all in and the mix is homogenous, turn the blender off and scrape the mousse into a medium bowl. Cover the bowl with saran, pressing it onto the top to prevent a skin from forming. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours.

Assemble: cut  12 rounds out of the sheet of cake. I used a 1.5 inch round cookie cutter, but you could also just cut out some squares with a sharp knife. Line a small baking sheet with parchment and place 4 of the rounds onto the sheet with a bit of space around each. Spoon a fat dollop of the chocolate mousse on top of each round. Place the sheet pan in the freezer for 10 minutes. Remove the sheet pan and place another cake round and dollop of mousse on each. Place the tray in the freezer for another 10 minutes, remove it and place the final cake round on each mini cake. Store cakes in the freezer, covered in cling film, until ready to serve.

Make the chocolate sauce: whisk together all of the ingredients right before service.

To serve: put one of the cakes on each plate. Top with a spoonful of chocolate sauce, pomegranate seeds + serve a scoop of ice cream on the side.

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Caitlin27/02/2013 - 7:50 am

happy birthday, laura! the cake looks absolutely fabulous!

thelittleloaf27/02/2013 - 9:24 am

I absolutely love baking with breakfast tea – it gives such a wonderful flavour and works so well with chocolate. As for this cake – amazingly impressive – now I just need to get myself a dehydrator…

Winnie27/02/2013 - 9:40 am

I am always drawn to raw food desserts like this but just don’t have the patience to make them (and also, I tried a few times but wasn’t successful with the whole coconut cracking business…wrong knife, I know). This cake is so so beautiful, though, and really inspiring…maybe I will give it a go sometime. Happy Birthday :)

Kathryn27/02/2013 - 9:42 am

The happiest of birthday weeks Laura! Cake is a very excellent way to celebrate.

carey27/02/2013 - 9:54 am

These little cakes look absolutely divine. I’m a big fan of tea-infused sweets, and I’m loving the idea of chocolate + earl grey. And with all those other flavors, bundled up into an individual cake and sprinkled with pomegranate seeds — total awesomeness. (:

I hope you had a wonderful birthday, Laura!

Ashley27/02/2013 - 11:10 am

Wow!! Happy happy birthday!! This is amazing and super impressive. I love that you tried dehydrating it and it worked! Looks completely delicious. Fabulous photos. Love the sound of that chocolate sauce/shell. Treat yo’ self, indeed.

Jessica27/02/2013 - 11:31 am

Does anyone know how long to bake at lowest temp if we don’t have a dehydrator, my oven goes to 175 degrees….

Laura Wright27/02/2013 - 11:36 am

Hey Jessica,
I would put your oven to the 175 degrees and leave the door open just a bit so that air can circulate/it doesn’t get too hot. Alternatively, if you have a fan in your oven you can just turn it on and leave the door closed. My estimation is that this cake would take 5-6 hours to bake with your oven set up at 175. I would put it in during a time where you can keep your eye on it though. As long as it lifts from the parchment paper and springs back a bit when you press your finger on it, you’re good. Hope this helps you.
-L

Stephanie @ Girl Versus Dough27/02/2013 - 11:48 am

Happiest birthday wishes to you, Laura! These cakes sound like the best kind of treat yo self-age. :)

Julia27/02/2013 - 12:28 pm

Happy Birthday Laura!!! This cake looks DEVINE :)

Mandy27/02/2013 - 1:19 pm

Love you site and all your recipes! Just wanted to let you know that all the “good luck” stuff surrounding the pink coconut is a myth! Coconuts should have bright white flesh (no matter how young they are). A pink or grey coconut is BAD and may give you a stomach ache. Next time, take that puppy back and get yourself a fresh one :)

Laura Wright27/02/2013 - 1:25 pm

Hey Mandy,
I ate the dessert and drank the water with no stomach aches at all! Is that weird? Maybe it was good luck in some strange way ;) Thanks for your note though. Hopefully my next one is more typical.
-L

Christine27/02/2013 - 1:52 pm

Happy birthday Laura! This looks fantastic!

Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar27/02/2013 - 2:43 pm

I absolutely love this! Yum!

Alanna27/02/2013 - 2:57 pm

Oh my! This looks absolutely incredible! I think my gluten-intolerant, earl grey-swilling, chocophiliac sister would DIE if I made this cake for her birthday. I’ll have to find out. ;) Earl grey chocolate shakes sound amazing, too. “Nature’s sprinkles” = brilliant! And I’m glad to learn that pink coconut flesh is a good thing – I’ve been sketched out by it, too. Stunning photos, as always.

Kristy27/02/2013 - 3:09 pm

Happy birthday, lady! This cake looks wonderful and has me eyeballing my kitchen trying to figure out where I could possibly put a dehydrator… ;-)

Courtney27/02/2013 - 3:42 pm

Treat yo’ self indeed! These little cakes look so amazing and I love that your paired earl grey with a bit of chocolate. Happy Birthday!

Erin27/02/2013 - 4:13 pm

You’ve outdone yourself- these cakes are just gorgeous! Happy {belated} birthday and here’s to a wonderful next year! XO

Melissa // The Fauxmartha27/02/2013 - 4:37 pm

Crazy, crazy beautiful! And the happiest of birthdays to you my friend!

Kris27/02/2013 - 7:52 pm

The happiest of birthdays to you, Laura! I hope this year is filled with many more glimmers and sparks. The cake is gorg!

Claire27/02/2013 - 8:40 pm

Simply mouthwatering. Happy birthday!!

Shira28/02/2013 - 12:36 am

OH. MY. This is looking unbelievable! I cannot get the thought of that chocolate & earl grey milkshake out of my mind…I must try this! Happy Birthday Laura – sounds like you made it a special one!

marissa @ the boot28/02/2013 - 3:04 am

wow…i am so impressed! a very happy birthday to you and what a cake to celebrate with!

Becs @ Lay the table28/02/2013 - 9:31 am

Happy birthday, looks incredible!

la domestique28/02/2013 - 1:32 pm

Happy Birthday to YOU! The cakes look like a real treat.

Ashlae28/02/2013 - 1:48 pm

Happy belated birthday, sweet lady! These cakes look divine and make me wish I had never returned that fancy dehydrator I ordered last year. Might just have to make them in the oven. Or get your budget friendly dehydrator ;) Stunning photos, too – you’re knocking my socks off.

Also, when is your road trip through ‘Merica? Fingers crossed I’m still around so you + Kels + me can unite powers in the kitchen and make a killer feast.

Nat @ The Apple Diaries28/02/2013 - 10:30 pm

You had me at earl grey chocolate mousse! I love the addition of the coconut meat and cashews as well.

Great recipe :)

Hannah01/03/2013 - 9:35 am

Happy birthday Laura! beautiful cake.

SARA FORTE03/03/2013 - 2:26 am

how pretty! happy birthday, sweet girl. I hope you felt celebrated and loved. Every birthday girl deserves her own personal sized cake and I can’t say I’m surprised that you made one so creative and beautiful. Cheers to a fabulous year ahead.

Liren04/03/2013 - 1:38 am

A belated (but hearty) happy birthday, Laura! I’m so glad you had a delicious celebration – these individual cakes are brilliant and gorgeous. So worth the labor of love and absolutely worthy of a celebration.

hungryandfrozen04/03/2013 - 4:11 pm

I can’t believe how utterly do-able this sounds. Although I think I’d struggle to make it to the actual assembly stage – I’d be sitting on the floor eating all the batter. Happy birthday!

Rosie @ Blueberry Kitchen04/03/2013 - 4:49 pm

Wow this looks absolutely amazing! I love the ingredients list too :) Hope you had a great birthday!

dervla @ the curator05/03/2013 - 1:40 am

Happy birthday! The light in these shots is incredible!

SouthernSpoonBelle06/03/2013 - 5:58 am

You share a bday with one of my favorite friends back home– a good day, indeed. Hope you had a fab day, and thanks for sharing this beautiful recipe! Any raw brownie-style treats I’ve made are always so dense (not a bad thing), I look forward to trying this more cake-like creation.

sandra07/03/2013 - 2:30 pm

this is so amazing. the perfect completion to your perfect day! and all vegan. I love it!! will definitely be making this at some point – when I can get enough time on my hands… Thanks!

50+ Best Dessert Mousse Recipes28/03/2013 - 10:40 pm

[…] Raw Chocolate Cake + Earl Grey Chocolate Mousse […]

Emma Galloway12/04/2013 - 9:39 am

Yum, I LOVE the look and sound of these!xx

katecrackpot21/04/2013 - 12:21 pm

I discovered your inspiring blog when I was looking for a raw choclate cake recipe!
I tried this one yesterday and I had to stop my bf from eating it just before I had the chance to put it into the oven.

I just have to try it again because we both couldn’t wait for 24h, so we ate it all right away :D

I will definitely try some other recipes you have published! Thanks for inspiration and adorable food-photos!

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