We’re right in the middle of Rawgust now. What is Rawgust you ask? It simply the act of eating raw throughout the month of August. Some people do it for their health, some participate in order to enjoy the bountiful summer harvest, and others eat raw for the month in order to cool down from the summer heat.
Going raw for the month doesn’t mean that you have to give up sweet treats. Practically Raw Desserts by Amber Shea Crawley is packed full of delicious recipes for cakes, cookies, brownies, pies, puddings, candies, pastries and frozen treats that are all raw, and they will keep your kitchen cool as they don’t require the use of an oven. All of Chef Amber Shea’s sweet creations allow substitutions and adaptations for a non-raw kitchen, and they can be made with out special equipment or hard-to-find ingredients. This no-bake vegan Enlightened Carrot Cake tastes best after a night or two in the fridge, making it the perfect dessert for a hot August (or Rawgust!) evening.
Enlightened Carrot Cake
- 1 cup pitted dates, soaked in warm water for 15 minutes and drained
- 1 large or 2 small red apples, peeled if desired, cored, and chopped
- 1/4 cup water
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg (optional)
- 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
- 1 pound carrots, peeled if desired, shredded
- 3/4 cup coconut flour
- Stevia to taste (optional)
- Tangy Cream Cheese Icing (recipe follows)
- Combine the drained dates, apple, water, lemon juice, and vanilla in a food processor and blend until fairly smooth (it may remain just slightly chunky).
- Add the cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt and blend again until combined.
- Place the shredded carrots in a large bowl. Add the mixture from the food processor and stir well with a wooden spoon to combine.
- Add the coconut flour (if it’s clumpy, sift it in) and stir until the batter is combined and uniform. Taste the batter, and if you think it needs a little more sweetness, add stevia to taste. Set the batter aside for 5 to 10 minutes to allow the coconut flour to absorb the liquid mixture.
- Divide the batter between two 5- or 6-inch round springform pans, pressing it in firmly and evenly, and freeze for 4 hours or refrigerate overnight. (If you only have one pan, you can press half the batter into the pan and freeze it for 2 to 4 hours, placing the bowl with the rest of the batter in the fridge. When the half in the pan has firmed up, remove it to a plate and place it in the fridge. Press the remaining half of the batter into the same pan and freeze for 4 hours or refrigerate overnight.)
- When both halves of the cake have firmed up, place one half on a plate or cake stand and frost the top only with the cream cheese icing. Carefully place the other cake half on top, and use the rest of the icing to frost the top and sides of the cake.
- Refrigerate overnight, or until ready to serve. Snugly wrap leftover cake in plastic wrap and store in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.
To make easy work of all those carrots, shred them in a food processor fitted with the grating disc. To make a larger cake in an 8- to 9-inch springform pan, simply double the recipe. This cake tastes best after overnight (or longer!) refrigeration, and will keep well in the fridge for several days.
Tangy Cream Cheese Icing
- 3/4 cup cashews, soaked for 2 to 4 hours and drained
- 1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons non-dairy milk of choice
- 1 1/2 teaspoons lemon juice
- 1/2 teaspoon probiotic powder
- 2 tablespoons coconut nectar
- Pinch of sea salt
- 10 drops liquid stevia (or equivalent sweetener of choice), or to taste (optional)
- Combine the soaked cashews, nondairy milk, lemon juice, and probiotic powder in a high-speed blender and blend until smooth. You may need to use the tamper. Transfer the mixture to a medium bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Set the bowl in a warm place (such as in a dehydrator set to 110°F, on a sunny windowsill, or on top of the refrigerator) and let the icing culture for 5 to 6 hours.
- When the icing has finished culturing, transfer it to a food processor or high-speed blender. Add the coconut nectar and salt and whip until smooth. Alternatively, you can refrigerate the icing after it has cultured and sweeten it the next day. Taste for sweetness and stir in the stevia if desired. Transfer to a bowl or container and refrigerate for at least 2 hours, or until ready to use.
- Store in a glass jar or airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
If you don’t have loose probiotic powder, you could empty the powder out of 2 probiotic capsules (discard- ing the capsules after emptying) and use that instead.
From Practically Raw Desserts by Amber Shea Crawley. ©2013 Amber Shea Crawley. Used by permission from Vegan Heritage Press.