Springing into new things : Raw, vegan, gluten-free baking

Raw and Vegan Carrot Cake

(Raw and Vegan Carrot Cake)

Nobody panic, I haven’t actually turned my baking blog into the polar opposite of everything that has been posted here for the past couple of years. Well, not permanently anyway.

My initial foray into raw sweets occurred some time ago, and involved blitzing a mere handful of ingredients together to form raw brownie bites. First thought? “Holy crap, brownies in 5 minutes or under!” (They were delicious, and I’d link to the recipe here, but unfortunately the blog doesn’t seem to exist anymore).

Raw and Vegan Carrot Cake

Then I learned about coconut oil, and sadly discovered that I didn’t really like it all that much (but thankfully not quite in the same way as when coriander tastes like death and soap to some people). That put me off delving further into the wider world of raw desserts. Meanwhile, life went on. I pretty much spent the past year baking 8 hours a day as part of my job. Now that I’m free again, and still feeling excited about trying new things (or maybe hayfever season is muddling my brain), it seems the perfect time to test out a few raw, vegan sweet recipes. Along the way, I managed to pick up a few tips :

-Firstly, you really need a high powered blender to ensure the smoothest, creamiest end result, otherwise the overall texture of your frostings or caramel will be slightly off kilter.
-Many recipes rely on coconut oil, and it often ends up being the dominant flavour in the dessert. Use the best oil you can get, because it will definitely matter.
-As is the case with coconut oil, use the best vanilla extract you can get.
-Lastly, dessert is still dessert, regardless of whether it’s raw/vegan or not. Eat in moderation, but enjoy every bite! 🙂

Raw and Vegan Chocolate Ganache Cake

(Raw and Vegan Chocolate Ganache Cake)

Raw and Vegan Caramel Slice

(Raw and Vegan Caramel Slice)

Raw, Vegan and Gluten-Free Caramel Slice :
(this recipe is for a 3.5″ x 7.5″ frame and yields 8 thin slices; adjust quantities to suit your baking tin)

For the base layer :
25g pitted dates
110g whole unblanched almonds
pinch of sea salt

Blend all three ingredients together until the mixture looks ‘wet’. Press mixture into the base of a lined 3.5″ x 7.5″ frame. Leave in freezer while you make the caramel layer.

For the caramel layer :
65g cashew butter
70g tahini
165g maple syrup
55g melted coconut oil
10g vanilla extract
pinch of sea salt

Blend all the ingredients together until smooth. Pour on top of the base layer and freeze until firm. 30-60 minutes.

For the chocolate layer :
15g raw cocoa powder
25g maple syrup
35g melted coconut oil
5g vanilla extract

Stir all the ingredients together in a bowl until smooth. Pour over the caramel layer and freeze until firm.

When ready to serve, unmould the caramel slice and cut with a hot knife. Decorate each slice with a few flakes of sea salt and some cocoa nibs. Any leftovers can be stored covered, in the fridge.

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  1. Magda | My Little Expat Kitchen said,

    October 3, 2014 @ 7:47 pm

    I’m not vegan, nor on a gluten-free diet but this looks and sounds in-cre-di-ble! I will give it a try as soon as possible.
    That raw brownie recipe you mentioned, and that raw chocolate ganache recipe; perhaps you can share those too? Would love to explore the possibilities of this type of desserts and I trust your judgement, so it would be great if you did share.
    Fabulous photos!

  2. Rosa said,

    October 3, 2014 @ 9:00 pm

    Beautiful slices! I’ve never made raw “baked” goods…



  3. Lia said,

    October 4, 2014 @ 1:43 am

    these look amazing, really want to give them a go :Dx

  4. Helen | Grab Your Fork said,

    October 6, 2014 @ 1:15 am

    Ahh good tip on the high speed blender. And the freezing bit makes a lot of sense too. I’m guessing that raw desserts are only going to become more and more popular. I’d buy yours in a flash! lol

  5. Glenda said,

    October 6, 2014 @ 6:42 pm

    I attempted this today but the base hasn’t set. Should I use more dates?

  6. Y said,

    October 6, 2014 @ 6:52 pm

    Hi Glenda,

    When you say it hasn’t ‘set’, do you mean it’s too crumbly? It’s meant to resemble a biscuit style base. But yes, if you want, you can add more dates x

  7. Amanda @ Gourmanda said,

    October 8, 2014 @ 9:35 am

    I’m sending this recipe right now to a vegan gluten-free colleague!

  8. Eva@thehungryplum said,

    October 9, 2014 @ 9:17 pm

    Yay! I love sporadically hopping onto your blog and realising you have posted, I’m not a fan girl, promise. Well, maybe a little. I’m really keen to try out the vegan baking thing, there’s something exciting about making a dessert with literally coconut oil, dates and some form of nut. Calorie dense, but delicious.

  9. Kelsey said,

    November 12, 2014 @ 5:50 am

    While I am not personally vegan or gluten intolerant I have a couple friends who are. I’ve spent a long time looking for recipes that I can make for them when I have them over for dinner or drink and find it difficult to get a good one.

    This recipe was amazing, and it turned out wonderfully. Rather than spending a small fortune on a pre made gluten free dessert from a trendy bakery I was able to make this myself for a fraction of the cost and it was a huge hit!!! The directions were really clear and easy to follow.

    Thanks for sharing!!

  10. nale?niki said,

    November 21, 2014 @ 9:29 am

    Lovely! Can’t wait for the updated crust recipe.

  11. Hannah @ eating with alice said,

    December 11, 2014 @ 10:04 pm

    I had an amazing raw caramel slice once at About Life in Rozelle, and I bring it up EVERY time we’re in the area. This sounds delish! Beautiful photos too!

  12. cathy said,

    January 3, 2015 @ 3:19 am

    mmmm.. vegan has never looked so good!

    lots of love from sweden xx

  13. Joss said,

    June 6, 2015 @ 10:57 pm

    Just made this! Looks exquisite. However, due to the low grade food processor I have, my base didnt form properly. Very crumbly texture and didn’t hold well when cut into. Perhaps some coconut oil in the base would help hold? I also found the caramel section a bit too sweet for my taste. So those who aren’t super sweet toothed, hold back on the maple.
    Other than that, a very decadent raw vegan caramel slice!

  14. Y said,

    June 7, 2015 @ 11:51 am

    Hi Joss! Great, thanks for the feedback! You can certainly add the coconut oil to help with forming the base. Also, if maple syrup is too sweet, brown rice syrup might be an option as well.

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