Raw Chocolate Walnut Pulp Mousse Cake (Vegan, Gluten Free)
A child offering his seat on the swing set to a new friend. A musician sticking around after her show to share kind words with each fan. A gardener plucking weeds from around her tomato plants in the sun. Too often grace goes unnoticed in this world. Grace imparts our existence with that quality of otherness, beyond-ness. It imbues virtuosity, endurance, sacredness. It gives the dancer his fire, the poet her living breath. It is of itself a sort of spirit which descends seemingly randomly upon our moments, mundane or otherwise. And it is easily missed, like a seed floating on the wind.
I think of grace as gasoline. It fuels our continued resolution to remain in love and at peace with our lives. Despite the crushing, encroaching weight of the world, we refuse to be mashed into ash. We tie up our boots and walk out into the mountains with a heat wave of hope built up inside us. Delight in the blooming laurels and making eye contact with a doe drinking from the stream. Feel cold wind knocking our hair around and sting our faces at an open overlook. Eat a cheese and tomato sandwich, feel the warm sun on our legs, and breath and let it be.
One of my new favorite quotes is by Jack Gilbert, who said: "We must risk delight. We can do without pleasure, but not delight. Not enjoyment. We must have the stubbornness to accept our gladness in the ruthless furnace of this world."
This week I've been taking time to explore thrift stores (and touch all the things), see the lavender in the sunsets, and listen intently to Logans plans for our business. It's too easy to become distracted (I blame Instagram). It's distracted times like these when you need to unplug, invite friends over, and MAKE. That's where this raw cake came from: friendship and stomping on the distraction bug.
This recipe is designed for left-over nut pulp from making nut milks. You can use any nut pulp, but here I used walnut pulp. My friend Annabeth makes walnut milk at home regularly and saved the extra pulp in her freezer for a someday project. Clever girl. And lucky me! She's a raw food advocate who also happens to have tons of tricks for saving money on food. Making nut milk at home is one of the best and easiest ways to get your nut milk fix on a budget. She simply blends soaked nuts with fresh filtered water then strains and presses the milk out through a reusable nut milk bag.
You can, of course, make this mousse cake with any nut flour as well, not just left over nut pulp. To use nut flour instead of pulp just add up to 1/4 -1/2 cup nut milk to your batch so that the consistency is soft and mousse-like. Other-wise this will end up more like a brownie recipe. But that's not so bad, now is it!?
- The crust
- 1 cup almond flour
- 5 fresh medjool dates, pitted
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 tablespoon coconut oil
- The mousse
- 4 cups walnut pulp (or any nut pulp left-over from making nut milks)
- 3/4 cup cocoa powder
- 1 cup fresh medjool dates, pitted and chopped
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract (or 1/2 vanilla bean scraped of its seeds)
- pinch sea salt
- handful cacao nibs
- 1/2 cup frozen or fresh raspberries
- Line a loaf pan with parchment paper. Set aside.
- Add the almond flour, dates, cinnamon, and coconut oil to the bowl of a high powered food processor fitted with an S blade (like a Cuisinart).
- Process on high until the dates have broken down into the almond meal the mixture is beginning to form a dough ball in the processor.
- Remove the dough ball from the processor and press your crust into the bottom of the parchment lined loaf pan evenly.
- Clean out your food processor and then add your walnut pulp to the bowl of the processor fitted with that same S blade.
- Blend on high for 2 minutes. You want the walnut pulp to break down into a smooth paste.
- Turn the processor off and add your chopped dates. Process on high again for another minute or two, until the dates have blended into the walnuts and the mixture starts to look creamy.
- Add the cocoa powder, vanilla extract, and a pinch of sea salt and blend further until everything is incorporated.
- Spoon the mousse out over the almond crust, spreading it out and evening out the top.
- Freeze for a minimum of 1 hour before topping with cacao nibs and raspberries. Gently remove the cake from the tin and pull the parchment paper from the cake before serving.
- To store, cover in parchment paper or cellophane and freeze. Thaw at room temperature for 30 minutes before serving.