The Daring Bakers are a pretty motivated bunch.
It doesn’t take much to get them all into the kitchen whipping up decadent desserts, full of the best ingredients. This February’s challenge was no different, the selected recipe is designed to highlight the flavour of high-quality chocolate.
The challenge hosts, Wendy of WMPE’s blog and Dharm of Dad-Baker & Chef, selected a chocolate Valentino cake topped with a vanilla ice cream recipe, to delight and inspire the creativity of the Daring Bakers this month.
A Valentino is a flourless chocolate cake. I love that this challenge allows the complex flavour of chocolate to “sing” without being dilluted by flour.
However, I felt this was the perfect opportunity to highlight the deep, almost-bitter flavour of raw chocolate, or cacao, by creating a completly raw version of this dessert.
I have made the Jennifer Cornbleet’s raw chocolate torte in the past. It was delicious. But, I wanted to challenge myself to try something new. So, I tested out the chocolate torte recipe from Living in the Raw Desserts by Rose Lee Calabro.
The only variation I made was to split the nut-base to half pecans and half walnuts. I think it created a slighltly sweeter version of this rich-fudgy cake.
The wonderful thing about raw desserts is the lack of anxiety involved. It is what it is. You aren’t going to be surprised by what comes out of the oven, you don’t have to worry about unreliable oven temperatures or cool drafts in your kitchen.
After soaking the nuts I added them to my food processer to get a smooth texture.
You don’t want to overblend them or the oils will actually start to separate (think: unstirred nut butter). Then I just added the dates and some vanilla and I had my cake!
I let the batter rest in the fridge for a few hours and then I shaped them all into individual, heart-shaped cakes.
To top these treats and complete the rest of the challenge I created a vanilla almond ice cream inspired by a recipe from a local raw restaurant.
Basically, I created a simple almond-milk using raw almond butter and water (this saved me the straining step). I blended the almond milk with cashews, agave and vanilla bean seeds. I wasn’t crazy about the flavour. It tasted a bit too nutty for me, almost like peanut-butter ice cream. Next time I will add some cinnamon or chai spice to reate a little more excitement.
To play with the valentine’s theme I also create a quick strawberry sauce.
I just blended strawberries, a little water and a little agave.
Here is how I presented this treat to my colleagues (the 13th was my two-year anniversary at my job).
These cakes are so easy to make and full of important nutrients-which you can’t say for most valentine’s day traditions. I wasn’t excited about valentine’s day this year, but completing this challenge made the whole celebration something to look forward to. Thank you Daring Bakers!
The February 2009 challenge is hosted by Wendy of WMPE’s blog and Dharm of Dad ~ Baker & Chef.
We have chosen a Chocolate Valentino cake by Chef Wan; a Vanilla Ice Cream recipe from Dharm and a Vanilla Ice Cream recipe from Wendy as the challenge.