Raw cacao & orange blossom cheesecake

Try this vegan and raw cheesecake with a Flower of Life mandala and a chakra healing twist!

Raw Cacao and Orange Blossom Cheesecake - EkhartYoga

by Niamh Burke Neff

Mindfulness, meditation and ceremony can be practised even in what many consider to be mundane tasks - like food preparation. This recipe was made as a little treat for my crystal meditation group last weekend. 

The theme of the meditation was 'obedience', the different meanings of the word, perspectives thereof and how it relates to our base and solar plexus chakras. In short - external obedience often leads to suppressed frustration and anger (base chakra issues) and requires surrendering to the wishes of another person. Internal obedience, on the other hand, invites you surrender to your Higher Self and requires courage, trust, listening to your inner voice and your intuition (solar plexus chakra issues). 

Both of the base and solar plexus chakras are represented in colour and by the ingredients used in this ceremoniously created treat. The root chakra is represented by raw cacao, dates, aronia berries and goji berries. The solar plexus is represented by orange, lemon, orange blossoms, turmeric and apricots. There is also a crystal element to this raw cheesecake - we included a natural clear quartz gel* into the mixture for an extra bit of va va voom.  

As always, I have used organic ingredients throughout. It looks like a lot of different ingredients but many are used again in different layers. This recipe requires a 6-inch springform tin and a piping bag (for decorating). 

Raw cacao and orange blossom raw 'cheesecake'

Ingredients

Base:

  • 2/3 cup caramelized 'buckinis' (you can substitute with shop-bought puffed amaranth)
  • 1/2 cup coconut flakes
  • 1/3 cup flax seed
  • about 1/8 tsp of sea salt
  • 10-12 soft medjool dates (pits removed)
  • 4 tbsp raw cacao powder
  • 1 tbsp of raw cacao nibs

Raw Cacao 'Ganache' layer:

  • 2 avocados (remove skin and stones, cut in half)
  • 1/4 cup coconut nectar (you can substitute this with agave, raw vegan honey or another liquid sweetener)
  • about 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • The seeds scraped out from one large vanilla bean (you can substitute with 1 tsp of vanilla extract or 1/2 tsp of vanilla bean paste)
  • 1/2 heaped cup of raw cacao powder
  • 2 heaped tbsp of raw cacao nibs (optional, but it makes the taste that much richer)
  • 4 tbsp coconut oil (warm this gently so that it is liquefied)

Orange Blossom layer:

  • 3 cups coconut flakes
  • 1/2 cup fresh orange juice 
  • zest from one orange
  • 1/4 cup raw coconut nectar (you can substitute this with agave, raw vegan honey or another liquid sweetener)
  • 1/4  tsp sea salt
  • 2 tbsp orange flower water
  • the seeds scraped out from half a large vanilla bean (or see substitutes above)
  • 5 tbsp coconut oil (warm this gently so that it is liquified)

(Note: I used a 1x1cm piece of fresh turmeric to give this layer the yellow/orange colour, 1/4 tsp of powdered turmeric would also work. Colouring this layer is of course optional!)

Aronia layer:

  • 1/2 cup dried aronia berries
  • 3-4 medjool dates (pits removed)
  • enough orange juice to reach the desired consistency (I used about a half cup)

Apricot puree (for decorating):

  • 3/4 cup dried (soft) apricots
  • 4-5 medjool dates (pits removed)
  • 3/4 cup lemon juice
  • 3/4 cup orange juice
  • the seeds scraped out from half a large vanilla bean (or see substitutes above)
  • a pinch sea salt

Method:

Lightly coat your cake tin with coconut oil.
To prepare the base of the cake, place the buckwheat (or amaranth pops) flax, coconut and salt in a food processor and blend until it resembles fine crumbs (normally 20-30 seconds).
Add the dates, nibs and cacao powder to the mix and process until the mixture holds together. Depending on the quality and size of the dates you are using, you may have to use an extra one or two, so I suggest you first test the consistency of the mixture by pinching some of it between your fingers and seeing if it stays in place, firm. If it does not, the mixture is too dry and you will have to add one or two extra dates to get the required consistency.
Once this is achieved, empty the mixture into your tin and firmly press it into the bottom. Set aside.

Making the ganache layer is easy, simply combine all ingredients in the food processor and process until smooth and creamy.  Set aside.

To make the orange blossom layer, place the coconut flakes in your food processor and blend on high speed (tamping down if necessary) until smooth and starting to resemble a semi-smooth peanut butter consistency.
Then add the orange juice, sweetener, salt, orange flower water, and vanilla in a food processor and blend until smooth.
With the blender still running, add the coconut oil and food coloring and process until blended.
Set aside.
For reference, the consistency should be similar to that of a 'baked cheesecake' (I find this a nicer contrast to the rich creamy cacao layer but you can, of course, leave the orange blossom layer blend until it is completely smooth - your choice).

The apricot puree needs to be a little thick in order for the decoration to stay in place. So make the apricot puree, in a high-speed blender, combine all ingredients in your food processor and blend until smooth.  Set aside.

To make the aronia layer, place the berries and dates with half the liquid into your blender and process. Test the consistency, and add additional liquid until you achieve the required thickness.

To assemble:

Pour the raw cacao layer over the base and spread it out evenly with a spoon, spatula or knife.
Then gently pour over the orange blossom layer, spread it out evenly with a spoon, spatula or knife.
Next, add the aronia layer, and again spread it out evenly with a spoon, spatula or knife being careful not to disturb the layer beneath.
And finally, place your apricot puree in a piping bag and decorate any way you wish! I added dried goji and aronia berries, dried orange blossoms, and bee pollen to the mandala before placing it in the freezer for about 4 hours to firm up.
Once ready, remove ring from the springform tin, and serve. I sprinkled additional cacao nibs and cacao around the plate for added effect and this one cake was enough to serve perfectly sized portions to 15 people! 

I find ceremony in everything I do. This offering is not only packed with wonderful superfoods, but also includes elements of chakra healing, colour therapy, crystal healing and sacred geometry into the mix. Being able to create this with the intention of healing the body, mind and spirit in a way that tied in perfectly with the theme we had in meditation, was deeply gratifying, and brought an extra dimension to class. It also naturally raised the topic of mindfulness, and the practice of eating and nourishing ourselves (our vessels) in a more holistic and mindful way, and creative ways of integrating healing different modalities into our daily lives.

I hope this will inspire you too...it's fun, the possibilities are endless, and making edible works of art is a wonderful practice for inner child and solar plexus healing!

In love

Niamh 

* the gel that I use in all of my smoothies, raw recipes (and all other cold dishes we can possibly use it in) is 100% natural clear quartz gel. Clear quartz is a silicate, and as such is a natural form of silica (silicone). Silica is one of the main minerals I take daily for bone and connective tissue health, and as a natural crystal product, I find its energetic significance to be noteworthy. The brand I use is called 'Silicea' and is produced by the German company 'Hübner'. I highly recommend it! 

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