This dessert is pretty much Heaven in cake form. Picture this: creamy cashew filling, rich espresso, salted caramel, and dark, decadent chocolate all on a crunchy walnut base. Yum! Save this recipe for a special occasion because this cake is not only delicious, it's beautiful!

Salted Caramel Espresso Cake [Vegan, Gluten-Free]

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Ingredients

  • 2 cups cashews, soaked overnight or boiled for 15 minutes
  • 3 1/2 tablespoons espresso
  • 1 13.66-ounce can coconut milk
  • 11 Medjool dates, pitted
  • 1 cup walnuts
  • 1/2 cup desiccated coconut
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 2 heaped tablespoons cacao
  • 1/2 a teaspoon of bourbon vanilla powder or vanilla essence (optional)
  • Roasted hazelnuts, for topping
  • Vegan dark chocolate, for topping
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Preparation

To Prep the Ingredients:

  1. First, prepare your cashews by either soaking them overnight or boiling them in water for 15 minutes.
  2. While your cashews are getting ready, prepare your espresso.

To Make the Caramel:

  1. While your espresso is brewing, prepare the caramel. Pour a little more than 1/4 of the coconut milk into a saucepan and place on a high heat. Finely chop 3 of the Medjool dates and add these to the coconut milk. Once boiling, lower to a simmer and whisk frequently until the dates are all dissolved and the caramel has thickened. Stir in 1/4 of a teaspoon of salt and set aside.

To Make the Base:

  1. Then, make the base. Place the remaining dates, walnuts, coconut, and salt in a food processor and pulse until everything starts to break into smaller pieces. Add a tablespoon of water and continue to pulse until everything starts to stick together. If your dates are a bit dry you may need a little more water. Scoop the base into a 7-inch springform cake tin, use your fingers to spread and press it around, and then smooth it with the back of a wet tablespoon.

To Make the Espresso Layer:

  1. Drain and rinse your cashews. You should have about 3 cups worth now.
  2. To make the espresso layer, place 1 cup of the soaked cashews, the espresso, a scant 1/4 cup of coconut milk and half of the maple syrup in a blender and blend until smooth. Taste.
  3. Now pour this into the cake tin using a rubber spatula and place in the freezer immediately.
  4. You can make the other two layers now but if you want clean, strong layers, you need to let each layer freeze before you pour the next layer on. If you can’t or don’t want to wait, just add the layers to the tin as you make them. It will still taste delicious, they might just be a little marbled.

To Make the Chocolate Layer:

  1. Blend another cup of the soaked cashews with a bit more coconut milk, the rest of the maple syrup, and the cacao. Pour this into a bowl and set aside. After 2-4 hours the espresso layer will be set hard enough that you can pour this into the tin.

To Make the Salted Caramel Layer:

  1. Blend the remaining cashews (it might be a little less than a cup, this is okay) with the caramel you made earlier and vanilla if you are using. You may need to add a little more coconut milk to get the consistency right. It depends on how thick your caramel got. Pour this into a bowl and set aside until the chocolate layer has set hard enough for you to pour this one on top.
  2. Allow the entire cake to set overnight or for at least 8 hours.

To Serve:

  1. Remove the cake from the freezer and run room temperature water around the outside of the cake tin. Allow to sit for 10 minutes while you melt your chocolate. Use a small, sharp knife to run around the edge of the tin and help the cake to come loose. Remove the springform from the cake and then use a metal spatula to gently transfer the cake from the tin base to a plate.
  2. Decorate the cake by drizzling it with chocolate, topping with hazelnuts and then drizzling with more chocolate. Place back in the freezer. Defrost for 10 minutes before serving.
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