Raw Chocolate Blood Orange Caramel Cheesecake with Lavender

I am obsessed with blood oranges lately.  They are seriously the most beautiful citrus fruit I have ever seen, and their flavor is the perfect balance of tart and sweet.  I have been buying them by the bagful for a few weeks now since they became available here, and I am savoring every juicy orange slowly. I have been snacking on them, but I have also been using them to create delicious desserts as well.   

Last weekend I made a Vegan Chocolate Blood Orange Layer Cake, and it was wonderful. I loved the flavor combination so much I decided to use it again.  I hope you all don't mind me being a little redundant, but these two desserts each sing their own song despite having some of the same flavors.

So this second blood orange chocolate dessert was a chocolate cheesecake.  Not just blood oranges and chocolate though.  I added a touch of lavender, and some raw blood orange caramel as well.  Although I am a vanilla girl, I have been craving lots of chocolate lately for some reason.  Nothing wrong with that...makes me create lots of delicious things for you chocoholics out there!  Let me tell you, the combination of chocolate, blood oranges, lavender and caramel is out of this world.

Combine that with cheesecake and you have a winner.  I admit I am a bit biased, being that cheesecake is my favorite dessert, but I think anyone could appreciate this if they were to taste it themselves.  I wish I could invite you all over to my house so you could try it too, but since I can't I feel it is only fair that I share the recipe in case you want to make it.  Good news, no fancy decoration skills required here, simply sweet blood orange slices, which are so beautiful, that is all the cake needs.

Raw Chocolate Blood Orange Caramel Cheesecake with Lavender
Makes one 6 inch cake

2/3 cup raw sprouted buckwheat groats (or additional coconut)
1/3 cup ground flaxseed
3/4 cup dried finely shredded coconut
1/3 cup raw cacao powder
1/8 teaspoon sea salt
10-12 soft medjool dates, pitted and chopped (if they are not soft, soak them in water until they are and drain them well)

Blood Orange Caramel:
1 cup medjool dates, pitted (soaked in filtered water for 30 minutes if not soft, then drained)
2 Tbsp raw pecan butter
3 Tbsp raw coconut nectar or maple syrup
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/4 tsp sea salt
1Tbsp blood orange zest
1/4 cup blood orange

4 cups young coconut meat*
2 Tbsp blood orange zest
1/2 cup blood orange juice
a few drops DoTerra lavender essential oil (optional, or other food grade essential oil)
2/3 cup raw coconut nectar, or maple syrup
1/2  teaspoon sea salt
1 Tbsp pure vanilla extract and seeds from half a vanilla bean
2/3 cup raw coconut butter (warmed to liquid)
1/2 cup raw cacao powder

Blood orange slices
dried lavender flowers

Lightly coat a 6 inch spring form removable bottom pan with coconut oil.
To prepare the crust, process flax, coconut, buckwheat and sea salt in a food processor until fine crumbs, then add the dates and process until the mixture holds together when squeezed between your fingers (if not holding together, add more dates).
Firmly press crust into the bottom of the prepared pan, and set aside.
To make the caramel, combine all ingredients in a high speed blender or food processor until smooth.  Set aside.

To make the filling, in a high speed blender or food processor, combine coconut meat, orange zest and juice, lavender oil, coconut nectar, sea salt, and vanilla and blend until smooth and creamy. With the processor running, add the coconut butter and process for a minute until blended.  Add the cacao powder and blend until smooth.
To assemble cheesecake, pour 1/3 of the filling into the pan over the crust, then drop some of the caramel by the heaping tsp over that, and swirl with a knife, Pour half of the remaining filling over that, then drop more of the caramel by the tsp over that and swirl with a knife.  Pour the remaining filling over that, then more of the caramel by the tsp, and swirl with a knife. Place in the freezer for about 4 hours to firm up. Decorate the top of the cake with the blood orange slices and lavender flowers. Store in the fridge.

*If you do not have access to young coconut meat, you can substitute 4 cups raw cashews soaked for 4 hours and drained.


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