Raw Black Forest Layer Cake

It seems like it has been all about cherries at my house lately.  I have been eating them every day.  Making smoothies, ice cream, drinks, salads...that is not a bad thing though.  I love them, and since the season is short here I will take what I can get. The best thing I have made though in my mind was this Black Forest Cake.

Black Forest Cake to me is so beautiful.  The dark chocolate cake layers contrasted by the white cream and bright red cherries.  I knew a raw version would be even better than the baked so I was excited about making one from the moment the thought crossed my mind.  I made moist chocolate cake layers with leftover beet pulp (it makes the best softest moist cake without dehydration) that were so good I could not stop eating the scraps.  I made a simple coconut cream to sandwich the cake layers together as well as a fresh cherry sauce.  Once it was all composed with the cherries, it was almost too pretty to eat...

Yeah right.  Nothing is ever to pretty to eat in my house as far as dessert is concerned and I was happy to dive right in.  Simply heavenly, chocolate, cherry and cream deliciousness. I think this cake is fit for a summer party!

Raw Black Forest Cake
Makes one 6 inch cake

1 1/2 cups soft medjool dates, pitted (if not soft, soak them in filtered water 30 minutes and drain well)
1 Tbsp pure vanilla extract
1/4 tsp sea salt
1 1/2 cups ground golden flaxseed
3 1/2 cups raw coconut flour (home made is preferred)*
1 cup raw cacao powder
3 cups raw beet pulp (leftover from juicing)*

Cream topping:
 cups fresh young coconut meat***

1/2 cup coconut water
1/2 cup raw coconut nectar, or your choice of raw liquid sweetener

1/2 tsp sea salt
1 Tbsp pure vanilla extract and seeds of  a vanilla bean

3/4 cup raw coconut butter (warmed to liquid)

1 cup fresh cherries, pitted
3 medjool dates
juice of one lemon
a pinch sea salt

Organic cherries, halved, about 3 cups (or enough to cover the middle layers and top of the cake)

For the cake, combine the dates, vanilla, and sea salt, flaxseed, coconut flour, and raw cacao powder, in a food processor and process until it is well combined and very fine.  Add the beet pulp, and pulse (you don't want to over mix or the cake will become heavy) until well combined (if it seems to dry, add a little more pulp. Beet pulp may vary in moisture levels).  On a parchment or foil lined tray, shape into three  6 inch circular cake layers (I pressed them into a plastic wrap lined 6 inch cake pan, then inverted the cakes out onto the parchment, they will be thin, about 1/2 inch thick). Place in the fridge while you make the cream.

To make the cream topping, combine the coconut, coconut water, coconut nectar, sea salt, vanilla, vanilla bean, and process until smooth.  Add the coconut butter with the processor running to incorporate it completely.  Once blended, scoop into a bowl, and place in the freezer for about 45 minutes to an hour until it reaches the consistency of thick whipped cream.
While setting, make the sauce.  Combine all ingredients in the food processor and process until smooth.
To assemble the cake, spoon some of the sauce over one cake layer, then top with some of the halved cherries, then 1/3 of the cream, smoothing it out carefully so you do not disturb the cherries.  Top with the second cake layer, then repeat with the sauce, cherries, and cream.  Top with the last layer and spread the cream over that.  Top off with more cherries.  Let the cake set in the fridge for about an hour before serving.

*Store bought coconut flour is a bit too dry for my tastes, I prefer to make my own coconut flour by buzzing finely shredded dried coconut in the high speed blender for about 15-30 seconds (but not too long or you will get butter).
**If you do not have a juicer or pulp, you can use 1 1/4 cup chopped beet, and 2 cups shredded coconut subbed for the beet pulp, just place in the food processor and buzz until finely ground and the consistency of pulp, then use in the recipe as you would the pulp.
***If you cannot get fresh coconut meat, you can use raw cashews instead.  Soak 4 cups raw cashews in filtered water, 4 hours then drain.  Continue with the cake recipe.

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