by | June 14, 2013 · 12:42 pm

This week it was my birthday.  I never imagined that birthdays would be as much fun at the ripe old age I am now, but how wrong I was.  I actually think this was my best birthday yet! I had a fantastic day, made all the better by the fact that M was able to take the day off work :D

During the day, we managed to fit in lots of my favourite activities (as you’ll see, eating crops up a lot ;) )  We started off with one of my favourite bike rides, along the Kennet & Avon Canal to Limpley Stoke where we stopped at the Angel Fish Cafe for a toasted tea bun and cup of coffee.  We then continued through Monkton Coombe, the Two Tunnels, Bear Flat, Widcome and into the centre of Bath.

Me on my Birthday 2013

Along the way, we saw lots of wildlife, including this very cute baby rabbit ♥

Baby Rabbit

For lunch, we went to one of my favourite restaurants in Bath – Thai Basil on Walcot Street – where I had a Thai red vegetable curry.  It was creamy and full of delicious fragrant flavours.  This has got to be one of my favourite curries ever!

Thai Basil - Thai Red Curry

After school, we went to the cinema with Lil’ L to see Epic.  On the way, we stopped off at Hotel Chocolat to buy some vegan chocolate (I can highly recommend the Gianduja Bombe Selector – it’s totally lush!)

Epic the Movie 2013

[Source]

For dinner, we went to another one of my favourite restaurants, the Nepalese Yak Yeti Yak, where we had the delicious Dal Bhat Tarkari (vegetarian/vegan set menu).

Yak Yeti Yak - Vegetarian Platter

Even though I was full up, I couldn’t leave without having the Kir dessert.  This is one of my favourite desserts ever.  It’s a creamed coconut rice pudding lightly spiced with cardamom. I’m going to have to try at make this at home one day. It’s so yummy!

For my birthday cake, I chose to make one of my all-time favourites – Raw Chocolate and Lime Cashew “Cheese” Cake.  I much prefer raw cheese cakes to any kind of baked cake, plus they’re almost impossible to fail at.  You simply throw the ingredients in the food processor, whizz it together then freeze!

Raw Chocolate and Lime Cashew "Cheese" Cake

Here’s how I made it…

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Chocolate & Lime Cashew “Cheese” Cake

Serves: 12

Soaking time: 3 hours (can be left overnight)
Hands on time: 20 minutes
Freezing time: 2 hours

Ingredients

Crust
150g / 5¼ oz / 1 cup raw unsalted almonds (or use a mix of almonds and pecans)
180g / 6¼ oz / 1 packed cup soft, pitted dates*
5 tbsp raw cacao powder (or regular cocoa powder)
1 tbsp maple syrup (or other liquid sweetener such as agave syrup. I used Clarks Original Maple Syrup)
1 tsp vanilla extract
pinch of salt

* If your dates aren’t soft, soak them in hot water for 2-3 minutes, then drain

Lime Layer
150g / 5¼ oz / 1 cup raw unsalted cashews
80ml / 2¾ fl oz / ¼ cup maple syrup (or agave syrup)
60ml / 2 fl oz / ¼ cup freshly squeezed lime juice (approximately 2 limes)
½ tsp vanilla extract
53ml / 2 fl oz / ¼ cup virgin coconut oil, liquefied

Chocolate Layer
150g / 5¼ oz / 1 cup raw unsalted cashews
80ml / 2¾ fl oz / ¼ cup maple syrup (or agave syrup)
37g / 1¼ oz / 1/3 cup raw cacao powder (or regular cocoa powder)
60ml / 2 fl oz / ¼ cup water
½ tsp vanilla extract
53ml / 2 fl oz / ¼ cup virgin coconut oil, liquefied

Grated dark chocolate, for sprinkling

Method

Preparation

1.    Soak 300g / 10½ oz / 2 cups cashews for at least 3 hours (can be left overnight).

2.    Grease a shallow, loose bottom 20 cm (8 inch) or 23 cm (9 inch) tin and line the bottom with non-stick baking paper.

 Crust:

3.    Place the almonds in a food processor and process until they are crumbs.  Add the remaining ingredients and pulse until combined. You want the crumbs to be slightly moist and sticky.  Test them by pressing a small amount between your thumb and finger. If they stick together, they’re ready. If not, continue to pulse for a little longer.

4.    Tip the crumbs into the prepared tin. Use the back of a greased metal spoon to firmly press down the crumbs to form a crust.

Lime Layer

5.    Rinse and drain the soaked cashews. Divide the cashews in two, and place half of them in a food processor or powerful high speed blender along with the liquid sweetener, lime juice and vanilla extract. Process until the cashews are completely grinded into a creamy mixture, stopping now and then to scrape down the bowl. Add the liquefied coconut oil and continue blending until the mixture is completely smooth.

6.    Tip the mixture on top of the crust and smooth with a knife. Place in the freezer whilst you prepare the next layer.

Chocolate Layer

7.    Place the remaining cashews in the food processor or blender along with the cacao/cocoa powder, liquid sweetener, water and vanilla extract. Process until the cashews are creamy, stopping now and then to scrape down the bowl. Add the liquefied coconut oil and continue blending until the mixture is completely smooth.  Taste test and add more cacao/cocoa powder or sweetener, to taste.

8.    Tip the mixture on top of the lime layer and freeze for about two hours, or until firm. Cut the cake into 12 slices and serve with a sprinkling of grated chocolate on top.  This dessert will last up to a week in the fridge, or weeks in the freezer.  If you’re not planning on eating the dessert in one go, simply remove the required slices and store the remainder in the freezer.

Note: Almonds and cashews tend to be much cheaper in Asian supermarkets or in the World Aisle of large supermarkets.  For this dessert, I used Aasani almonds and cashews, which are available from the larger UK Tesco stores.

 

We finally got round to eating a slice of birthday cake yesterday and it was absolutely gorgeous!  All three of us loved it and, even though Lil’ L went back for seconds, there’s still plenty in the freezer to share with friends and family (if they’re lucky ;) )

Have a wonderful weekend everyone! xx

What would be your ultimate birthday cake?

Do you still enjoy your birthdays as much as when you were a kid? (or even enjoy them more, like me!)

 

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