Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Cosmic Carrot Lemon Cheesecake with Red Raspberry Sauce



I’ve got a bit of a bakery habit. While I rarely feel any pull to actually buy one of the gorgeous cakes – I know that despite their lovely appearances, they’re made of low-energy, dead food products like white flour, sugar and butter – I really love to ogle them. I admire the artistry that is patisserie. In fact I know that many of the master bakers out there, while they may differ with me on matters of diet, hold the same core philosophy close to their hearts: namely, using the best quality ingredients and preparing their little delicacies with the utmost attention to detail. Ultimately, it comes back to that old hang-up of mine: integrity.

Look, I’m not trying to argue the merits of pastry. No matter if your baker is using the finest flour and organic butter imported from France. That croissant is still nutritionally dead. Despite its beauty, it’s not doing anything to make you a glowing diva radiating an aura of earthly energy. I’m just giving credit where credit is due: to the creativity and artistry of the patissiere.

My latest addiction is a little cake shop on Little Collins Street in Melbourne. They make the most delicate, gorgeously petit cakes – miniature versions of French classics with contemporary twists. One that I’ve really admired lately is the “cosmopolitan:” a layer of carrot cake, a layer of cheesecake, and a topping of raspberry jam. I just had to have a go at rawifying it.
I’ll be the first to admit that mine didn’t come out nearly as pretty as the delicacies on display at Le Petit Gateaux. Then again, I haven’t been disciplined under the exacting eye of a French patissiere! So I’ll give myself a break in terms of design, and suffice it to say that the flavors are HOT. Sweet, spicy carrot cake, given a depth of flavour with the additional superfood boost of mesquite meal, layered with lemony cashew cheesecake and tied together with the sweet-tart, lip smacking sensuality of raspberry-honey sauce. This is a super-powered cake. Carrots, coconut, mesquite, cashews, lemons (from my lemon tree!), dates, berries, honey – this cake is seriously nutritious. Yup, my cake packs more vitamins than most people’s so called “healthy” meals, but don’t eat it for that reason. Eat it because it’s delicious, it makes you feel great, and because there’s absolutely no reason that every single bite you put into your mouth shouldn’t satisfy on every level.

Cosmic Carrot Lemon Cheesecake with Red Raspberry Sauce


Crust

1 cup dried coconut
1/2 cup macadamia nuts
1/2 cup dates
pinch himalayan salt

Carrot Cake Layer

3 1/3 cups finely grated carrot
1 cup sunflower seeds
1 1/2 cups medjoool dates (pitted)
1 1/3 cups shredded coconut
2/3 cup mesquite meal
1 tsp grated nutmeg
2 tsp ground cinnamon
Cheesecake Layer

2 cups cashews
1/3 cup lemon juice
1/2 cup honey
1/2 cup coconut oil
1 small vanilla bean
water, as needed

Raspberry Sauce

2 cups raspberries, fresh or frozen and defrosted
2 Tbsp honey, softened

For the crust: Grind macadamias and coconut in food processor. Add dates. Press into the bottom of a cake pan.

For the carrot cake layer: Squeeze as much moisture as possible out of the shredded carrots. Grind the sunflower seeds to a powder in the food processor. Add dates and process to combine. Add shredded coconut, mesquite meal, nutmeg and cinnamon, and pulse a few times. Add carrots and process until combined, leaving some texture.

Press half (or all, of you prefer 2 layers) of the carrot cake mixture on top of the crust, and place the cake in the freezer to set a bit while preparing the next layer.

For the lemon cheesecake layer: If honey and coconut oil are firm, melt over a double boiler. Combine cashews, lemon juice, melted honey and coconut oil and vanilla bean in food processor or high powered blender and whir until smooth, adding water slowly as needed (up to 1/2 cup).

Smooth half of the cheesecake mixture over the carrot cake layer. Place in freezer for 10 minutes to solidify, then top with the remaining carrot cake mixture. Again, freeze to solidify, then top with remaining cheesecake mixture.

Will keep frozen for a few weeks, about 1 week in the refrigerator.

Make sauce just before serving: Soften honey over a double boiler, then combine with raspberries and mash with a fork. Drizzle over each serving of cake.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

okay, I'm a newbie - mesquite powder????

Never heard of it, never seen it, don't know if I can get it.

Substitutions????

Could I make this with carrot pulp instead of grated carrot? We juice carrots regularly, and I'm always looking for ways to use the pulp (I use Ani Phyo's carrot cake recipe)

Thanks! Looks gorgeous!

Raw GastroGnome said...

Hi Newbie! Mesquite powder is a superfood - a ground seed pod that comes from an American desert tree. It has been a Native American staple and is high in protein, fiber, lysine, manganese, potassium and zinc. It's a great way to sweeten food while stabilizing blood sugar levels.

I don't know where you're located, but there are a lot of companies that sell superfoods online. You could omit it from the recipe, but it does add a sort of complex savory/sweet note. Otherwise you could certainly use Ani Phyo's carrot cake recipe as the base of this cake instead. I love Ani's recipes!

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