I have released four recipe books so far:

The Best of the Sunny Raw Kitchen
The Best of Raw Freedom Community
Delightfully Raw and
Deliciously Raw

These feature some of the most delectable creations to have come out of my raw kitchen and will appeal to anyone interested in a healthier diet, regardless of their level of knowledge and experience. From easy one-step everyday fare to more elaborate and involved gourmet dishes and layered cakes, they offer something for everyone and every occasion. Incredibly tasty smoothies, creamy and comforting warm soups, sexy salads, delicious nut cheezes, satisfying entrees and scrumptious guilt-free desserts...

Healthy food never tasted so good!

To learn more about my recipe books, click here!

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Recipe of the Week: Black Forest Cherry Cake

What I didn't tell you last week is that the day I whipped up the Mulberry & Cream Tarts, I was actually on a dessert roll; I also made a raw version of the famous German Black Forest Cherry Cake.

As we were expecting Pontifex from Raw Freedom Community (Mosaica's hubby), I managed to keep the hungry wolves at bay until the arrival of our guest. (No small feat, I tell ya!) They're relocating to our area (yay!) so Pontifex is staying at Ashinah while looking for a new home.

Here's Pontifex in our teeny kitchen...

Anyhoo, the cake was definitely worth the wait! I think I'll just have to make it again when my dear Heathy comes to visit next month. (Yep, you read right... The Raw Divas are getting together again! Woo Hoo!!!)

I made two versions of the cake layer, and I'd be hard pressed to decide which one I prefer. Take your pick!

Black Forest Cherry Cake

This recipe is for a 7" spring form pan

Cake Variation 1
1 cup soft dates, chopped
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 1/2 tablespoons pure vanilla extract
Pinch sea salt
1/2 cup raw carob and cacao powder (I used 1/4 cup of each)
1 1/2 cup finely ground almonds or loosely packed left-over pulp from making milk (wet pulp is fine)
1 cup finely ground dried coconut
1/2 cup finely ground cashews
2 teaspoons cherry nuts,* ground in coffee grinder or 1 teaspoon almond extract

*obtained by cracking cherry pits

Place dates in food processor and process until a smooth paste forms. You may need to add a little water.

Then add the rest of the ingredients and mix until smooth.

Carmella's Note: If using cherry nuts, grind them along with the dry coconut for easier processing.

Cake Variation 2
4 cups almond flour (I used dehydrated pulp from making almond milk)
1/2 cup figs, soaked for a couple of hours
1/2 cup soft dates, chopped
1/2 cup cacao powder
1/4 cup carob powder
1/4 cup melted coconut oil
1/4 cup almond milk
2 tablespoons agave nectar
1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Pinch sea salt
2 teaspoons cherry nuts,* ground or 1 teaspoon almond extract
2 teaspoons dry coconut

*obtained by cracking cherry pits

If using, grind cherry nuts along with dry coconut in coffee grinder.

Place all ingredients in food processor and process until smooth.

Cherry Jam
1 cup cherries, pitted
1/4 cup soft dates

Blend in food processor until smooth.

Cherry Layer
1 cup fresh or frozen cherries, chopped

Whipped Cream
1 cup cashews or a mixture of cashews and macadamia nuts
1 cup + 2 tablespoons fresh coconut milk (simply blend 1 part dried coconut with 3 parts water in high speed blender)
1/8 - 1/4 cup honey or agave nectar (depending on how sweet a tooth you have)
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon vanilla
Pinch sea salt
1/2 cup coconut oil, melted
1 tablespoon lecithin powder*

*Lecithin acts as an emulsifier. Look for lecithin (preferably non-GMO), in granules or powdered form. If using granules, make sure to grind them up in a high speed blender of coffee grinder.

Blend all ingredients except coconut oil and lecithin until smooth. Add oil and lecithin and blend until thoroughly mixed. Set in fridge for about 1 hr.

Form an even layer on the bottom of the springform pan with half of the cake mixture.

Top with a thin layer of Cherry Jam, followed with a layer a cherry pieces.

Next, top with half of the Whipped Cream. Set in fridge.

When very firm, form another cake layer, followed with more Cherry Jam and cherry pieces.

Again finish off with Whipped Cream and set in fridge.

When firm, gently remove cake from the pan and place on serving plate.

Decorate with cherries and serve.

Carmella's Notes:
~ It is key that you grind your nuts finely in a coffee grinder or a high speed blender before processing them with the other ingredients. This will ensure that your cake layer has a lovely smooth texture.

~ In order to apply the cake layer, the whipped cream needs to be quite firm (set in the fridge or freezer first). If you find that the cream tends to yield while patting down the cake, try forming the cake layer on a different surface (such as the counter or a plate) then transferring it over to the pan.

~ This is a rich cake so you might want to make small pieces.

Enjoy with your eyes closed! (Yep, it's another one of those! lol)


  1. That looks amazing!

    I have a question for you about raw foods...are canned beans raw? And if I soak dried beans or legumes are they considered raw?

  2. I think THIS may be my birthday cake...

  3. I tend to be a "more than 5 ingredients? forget it" person... but this looks SO AMAZING, I will definitely be trying it.


  4. Oh my gooooodness!!!!!!!!! This cake sounds divine! Yes yes yes! Pretty please make some for me when I visit??? :D
    Well done girlie!

  5. Thank you all for the kudos! ;-)

    The canned beans are cooked. On the other hand, you can soak and sprout beans and, yes, they are still raw. There's lots of info on the net re: soaking and sprouting times if you'd like to find out more.

    Thanks... I'm adding it to 'The List' right now! ;-)

  6. Hey Carmella,

    Just wanted to say that I love this blog! So full of love and sunshine and perfectly named!

    you have some of the most amazing recipes I've tried and the photos are AWESOME!

    I'm a raw mom -- and my son just looked at the photo of your cake and said "want birthday cake" we are going to make this cake and have a pretend birthday party next week, just for fun!

  7. Oh my gosh! I normally don't like cherries and chocolate together but have always made the exception with Black Forest Cake - this my dear looks beautiful! Oh wow oh wow! I just want to dive in!

    How exciting Heathy will be visiting! I can't wait to hear what you two whip up! Pix please!

  8. Carmella,

    This looks amazing. I made your mulberry tart recipe as a cake, and it was delish. Quick question, though: what's are good substitutes for dried coconut, coconut powder/flour, and coconut oil? I find the flavour of coconut very overwhelming (not a big fan, although my husband loves it) and would like to be able to substitute some of the coconut items in the recipe.

    Thanks! And, by the way, the cookbook rocks! :)

  9. How fun! You always make the most delish looking cakes! yum yum.

  10. Gina,
    Thank you for your sweet words! Awwwww, that is sooooo cute about your little one. Hope you enjoy the cake! ;-)

    Nice to have you drop by! Actually, I was just looking at your dessert ebook today.

    Oh Rosie! You'll just have to try this! It's so delish! I'm already looking forward to making it again in a few weeks for our Heathy girl.

    And you betcha! We'll be taking tons of pix so you guys get the scoop about our time together.

    Just feel free to replace the coconut in the cake layer with more cashews or almond pulp. As for the whipped cream, you could try almond milk instead of coconut milk. Hum, the coconut oil is a bit trickier, though. I know that there's some coconut oils you can get that don't have a pronounced flavor so that might be the way to go.

    And thanks for the kudos about the ebook! ;-)

    Mosaica dear,
    You'll soon get a chance to have a taste of this too! Yippee!

  11. Carmella -

    This cake looks great! I really enjoy your blog, and this week I made the jalepeno burgers you recently posted - they turned out deliciously. I look forward to making more or your posted recipes!


  12. Yum, back forest cake. Who wouldn't love that?

    Sorry I haven't stopped by in a while. I've been busy this summer, and it seems like you have, too. Hope to be reading more from you soon :-)

  13. Hi Carmi and WOW! That looks incredible!!! Let's make a deal, you serve me this awesome cake and I'll whip you up my Black Forest Smoothie. ;-) I wish I could slice a piece of it right now!

  14. Thanks Gail!

    How goes it, girl? It does feel like it's been ages. I've been quite busy too, but will try to pop by your blog soon, once the dust settles a little. ;-)

    Deal! ;-) Oh, weren't you playing with some Black forest tarts? How did they turn out?

  15. I made this and it is BY FAR the BEST raw cake I have EVER EVER EVER HAD! It was DELICIOUS!!! ;0)

  16. I made this cake last Saturday, took it to a potluck and 6 adults and 4 toddlers really enjoyed it! Some even took seconds. Sunday my inlaws both had a piece from the leftovers and they also loved it, and NONE of them are raw foodies.
    I loved it too, especially since it tastes like a "real" cake!
    Great recipe!!!


  17. Hi Carmella,

    Thanks for sharing another great recipe for us all to try. I gave Variation 1 a try for Thanksgiving and found it full of flavor. I think I served it a little too warm for the cake layer was a lot heavier than the cream layer which made it compress the cream out.

    Or, it could be that I didn’t read the recipe correctly. Looking back, I just assumed that the whipping cream portion would also be made in a food processor which I think might have been the problem. After blending it all up, it was so runny I realized that I should have used the Vita-mix. I might have also not ground up the lecithin enough either. I will change this next time.

    With the cake, I used wet Almond pulp, which I probably won’t do next time either. The cake was more like brownie gew, which was probably do to the water content. I’ll try to dry that out next time.

    I also used frozen cherries that I’d put away from this spring. I think I’d use more next time.

    Thanks for sharing! I will definitely make this one again with a few small changes.

  18. I have never heard of "cherry nuts" as an ingredient before. How did you discover this?

  19. sketchgrrl,

    I learned about the cherry nuts from a friend who studied at a (cooked) culinary school. Would have never thunk of it in a million years! ;-)

  20. How interesting! Thanks, Carmella!

  21. What do the cherry nuts add to the recipe? A special flavor? Or texture? Or something else?

  22. Their flavor is reminiscent of almond extract so you could definitely substitute. (I think I give the suggested amount in the recipe.)

  23. Carmella,
    I'm having a raw summer and so far had been eating fairly simply:
    salads, smoothies, crackers, dips, bliss balls etc.
    I knew I had company out from Vancouver last weekend and wanted to "impress" her.
    While searching for cake recipes I found your blog.
    I was interested to notice mention of Ashinah as I live just down the road in Nelson and did a cobbing workshop there many years ago.
    To get to the point, I made this recipe for my company as well as the raw 3 cheese Pizzas (minus 2 cheeses.)
    Everyone loved everything and was so impressed.
    Even my husband who was doubtful about the pizza.
    Both recipes I would use again.
    Thank you very much!

  24. Love this post and if you ever travel through Montana we would love to have you. We do a raw food potluck every month and our list is growing rapidly. We would love to have you here!! Thank you for all your hard work!

  25. Verry nice raw recipe. Delicious!!!

    1. Very beautiful and delicious! Looks very professional. I’m gonna try to make it also.