Raw Mint Cacao Chip Ice Cream Cake

Peppermint bon bon (also known as peppermint chip in other parts of the country/world) ice cream was always a favorite of mine as a kid.  I remember my Dad always kept some in the freezer  so I could always count on enjoying a bowl of it for dessert on a hot summer day.  I loved the mellow green color as well, and besides it being sweet and minty I think that was another reason why I ate it.

I still crave cooling mint ice cream as an adult, and I love making mine raw now with avocado and natural mint to make it green.  I use raw cacao nibs in place of the chocolate chips because to me the ice cream itself is sweet enough and I like the crunchy little intense unsweetened chocolate like bits.  I was craving some peppermint bon bon ice cream last week and I made some, but I decided to go a little further with it this time and make an ice cream cake.  Because who doesn't love ice cream cake on a hot summer day for dessert?

I gave it a brownie crust, then a layer of chocolate mint ice cream, topped off with more brownies, then the mint chip ice cream, then a layer of fudge gooey enough to cascade down the sides of the cake.  If I had met this cake as a child, I think I would have eaten half in one sitting.  It was glorious, and chocolate mint at its finest as far as I am concerned.

Raw Mint Cacao Chip Ice Cream Cake
Makes one 4x8 inch cake

2 cups finely shredded dried coconut
2 cups ground flax seed
1/2 cup raw cacao powder
1/4 tsp sea salt
1 1/3 cups soft medjool dates, pitted (if not soft, soak in filtered water 30 minutes and drain well before using)

Ice Cream:
1 1/2 cups raw coconut water or filtered water
3 cups diced avocados
3 cups ripe bananas, mashed
3/4  cup raw coconut nectar or another raw liquid sweetener if you prefer
1 tsp peppermint extract (optional, if using fresh mint)
seeds of one vanilla bean
1/4 tsp Himalayan salt
1/2 cup fresh peppermint (use 1/2 tsp more extract if not using)
1/4 cup plus 2 Tbsp raw coconut butter, warmed to liquid

1/4 cup raw cacao powder

1/2 cup raw cacao powder
1/4 cup plus Tbsp raw coconut nectar
2 Tbsp raw coconut oil, warmed to liquid
a pinch sea salt

1/4 cup raw cacao nibs plus more for topping

For the brownie crust, in a food processor, combine all ingredients but the dates, and process until fine crumbs.  Add the dates and process until starting to hold together when squeezed (if it is not, add a few more dates).  Remove from the food processor and press 2/3 of the mixture into the bottom of a 6 inch spring form pan lined with plastic wrap (for easy removal) and press out flat.  The other 3rd, press into a square and cut into small 1/2 inch chunks (this will be for the center of the cake).

For the ice cream, add coconut water to a food processor, along with avocadoes, bananas, nectar, peppermint extract, vanilla, salt and fresh mint. Process until smooth, then with the processor running, add the coconut butter slowly and process until well incorporated, about a minute. Pour the mixture into an ice cream maker and process according to directions.
meanwhile for the fudge, whisk together all ingredients until smooth (if too thick, add a little water, if too thin, add a little more cacao powder).
Once the ice cream is done churning, remove from ice cream maker, and remove 1/2 of the ice cream.  Whisk in 1/3 cup  raw cacao powder (to the 1/2 of the ice cream), then pour over the crust. Sprinkle with the reserved brownie chunks.  Drizzle a little of the fudge over that.  Stir the raw cacao nibs  into the plain mint layer, then pour over the chocolate layer. Place in the freezer for about 6 hours or overnight until firm.
When ready to serve, spoon fudge around the top of the cake so that it drips down.  Garnish the top with the the remaining cacao nibs and serve!

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