This here is a typical case of: “Oh in my head this already looks very pretty, let’s better note the recipe while creating it!” And yes, good I did so. The cake here is one of my best creations so far. It is vegan, paleo and a sweet treat which is made with only very few sirup. And you know, refined sugar is never an ingredient in my recipes. The result is a crunchy sweet chcolate crust with a cacaobittersweet mousse on top, garnished with slices of figs and beechnuts caramelized in coconutnectar which balances the cacao bitterness smoothly. It is a no-bake-cake which tastes best served right from the fridge but which is also stable in comfortable cozy roomtemperature. Aaaaand addtionally the cake is perfect for families with small children. It is a pedagogically valuable day task which is balm for parents’s nerves.
1,5 cups of buckwheat
1 cup of cashews
1,5 cups dates
big hand full of cacaobutter
1 tablespoon of coconutoil
3 heaped tablespoons of cacaopowder
1 teaspoon of cinnamon
1 small hokkaido pumpkin, seedless, but not peeled
solid part from 2 cans of coconutmilk
2 hands full of cacaobutter
4 heaped tablespoons of cacaopowder
50g of dark chocolate
2 teaspoons of cinnamon
gulp of maplesirup
big hand full of beechnuts (or other nuts)
a sprinkle of coconutnectar (or other sirup)
ca. 1 tablespoon of cacaonibs
Put buckwheat and cashews in your blender and shred until the cashews are crumbly. Depending on the power of your blender you can add the dates or chop them with a large kitchen knife. Kneed all well with cacao, cinnamon and the melted coconutoil and cacaobutter. Press on a tray with parchement.
For the mousse steam cook a small hokkaido pumpkin. I had a medium sized pumpkin and used 3/4 of it – I just filled my small pot until it was full. I use the old cranky steam cooking thing I bought ages ago at IKEA, but it still works well. Put all your ingredients for the mousse in your blender and let it do the work until the cream is smooth and homogenous. Pour the mousse on the buckwheat crust and spread carefully. The creme should be solid enough that it does not run away.
No you slice the figs and decorate your cake. And now, if you have a lot of time OR small children at the age when they go to kindergarten or elementary school, go collecting beechnuts. I had a bit more than a hand full. Pod them and roast them for a short time in a pan with some coconutnectar to carmallize them. Maplesirup or other sirup work as well. Beechnuts contain small amounts of toxic acids when raw, but these denature when heated. So eating them raw is not recommended, but for baking they are nice and safe.
Why do I say that this is a cake fun to make with small children? Because the idea for the cake came to me at the morning dog walk. They paths were full of beechniuts and I felt a little bit nostalgic: I remembered being a little hyperactive Heiki, wearing a helmet hairstyle, exploring the world and collecting beechnuts with my Mom. We collected both: the nuts and the stingy shells to make an autumn wreath from the shells and to pod the nuts for a cake. I had a favourite Christmas story about a poor woman who made a cake from these and somehow I wanted to play her story. So evidently it was Septemeber and I was right into Christmas mood… I was a real Christmas junkie as a kid. And I still am, except that I have a project at the office which muted my euphoria a bit…
Nice mom, isn’t she? Padagogically so valueable: being outside exploring nature, collecting something to craft and bake. It is! But Mom, I caught you! Only with the podding of the beechnuts you made yourself an at least one hour long pause of your little smartypants, trailing behind you always asking questions. For today’s hand full of beechnuts I needed 45 minuntes and today of course I am clever enough to use scissors for help, to cut off the tip four easier podding. As I kid I had my fingers only. By the way, having fingernails is really helpful for this work.
Finally: beechnuts are very delicious. But I know now why you cannot buy them even though they are a nice replacement for hazelnuts or almonds: automizing the podding is practically impossible. So when this is too time consuming in your eyes and you have no small kids to give this work to them, just caramellize some buckwheat, walnuts, pecans or cashews. These all make a very nice match for the cake as well. Bu really, beechnuts are fancy. 😉