turning seventeen + a black forest cake

cherries

Acorn to oak, caterpillar to butterfly, duckling to swan. All around us the world grows and flourishes, tantamount to the way that people blossom from life challenges and experiences. With open eyes, I can proudly say that I see the world around me in a different light to that of a year ago; whether it be admiration of brittle frost laminating distressed petals, infinitesimal fingernails of a newborn child, or the way I view (and value) myself. The truth is, last year my world fell apart. A huge storm cloud hovered over every second of my existence. That had to change, and I made that change. For myself. At present I am radiant and exceedingly proud of how far I have come.

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A week ago today, I turned seventeen years old.

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So, I begin my last year before I’m officially deemed an ‘adult’. Which consequently means: I’m growing up. I feel stuck in the strange transition between being a girl and being a young woman (yes, I thought of Britney Spears then, too); and I haven’t quite decided which I’m more comfortable with yet. The prospect of being completely independent, leaving home next year and starting to live my life how I want to is terribly exciting for me. University, meeting new likeminded individuals, living on my own… It’s the beginning of a new chapter of my life and ‘seventeen’ brings me one year closer to that reality.

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That’s also what scares me. Honestly, I’m not in a hurry to grow up. Lots of my friends have already learnt to drive, passed their tests and are cruising around in their own cars. Well, you won’t catch me driving a car anytime in the near future. I’ve only got one childhood before I have to take on the daily responsibilities of a job, a household and my finances. For now, I’m going to embrace the rest of that childhood with open arms. And, obviously, celebrate with cake…

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…but not just any cake. This beauty is a recipe from Emily Von Euw’s gorgeous cookbook Rawsome Vegan Baking. When this came through the door for me I couldn’t stop leafing through the pages – admiring the colourful photographs and perfectly composed raw, vegan desserts. I wanted to make everything, but I started with this black forest cake. Thank you, Emily, for such a gem of a book.

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BLACK FOREST CAKE (Raw, vegan, gluten free) slightly adapted from Rawsome Vegan Baking

  • 100g raw pecans
  • 250g pitted dates
  • 1 tbsp cacao (or cocoa, but this isn’t technically ‘raw’) powder
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • Pinch of salt
  • 250g raw cashews
  • 80ml coconut milk (full fat is the way to go!)
  • 60ml raw coconut oil
  • 80ml preferred liquid sweetener (I used pure maple syrup)
  1. To make the cake, pulse the pecans into a flour consistency with a food processor or blender. Add the pitted dates, cacao, vanilla extract and salt then process until the ‘dough’ begins to stick together. Press into a small springform cake pan and put in the fridge or freezer to set.
  2. To make the frosting, blend the cashews, coconut milk, coconut oil and sweetener until smooth and fairly thick (this will thicken more if you put it in the fridge for a while, meaning it’s easier to work with when frosting the cake).
  3. Once the frosting is thick enough, spread it evenly over the top of your cake and then smooth down the sides.
  4. Put in the fridge overnight to set properly, and decorate with cherries and chocolate shavings (I used my homemade chocolate using this recipe) before serving.

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