So the thing is I have been meaning to make a raw cake since back in July when I wanted to do a blueberry, strawberry and banana 4th of July cake..Well that didn’t happen but flash forward to last night when I was inspired to put one together! This time the focus being on Bananas.
I mean how can you not love a banana? They are sooo nutritious and delicious!
Just to reiterate some of the nutritional properties (from Nutritionandyou.com, a ripe banana contains lutein, zea-xanthin, albeit, in small amounts. These compounds help act as protective scavengers against oxygen-derived free radicals and reactive oxygen species (ROS) that play a role in aging and various disease process. Bananas are also a good source of vitamin-B6 (pyridoxine); provides about 28% of daily-recommended allowance. Pyridoxine is an important B-complex vitamin that has beneficial role for the treatment of neuritis, and anemia. Further, it helps decrease homocystine (one of the triggering factor in coronary artery disease (CHD) and stroke episodes) levels within the human body. Fresh bananas provide adequate levels of minerals like copper, magnesium, and manganese. Magnesium is essential for bone strengthening and has a cardiac-protective role as well. Manganese is utilized as a co-factor for the antioxidant enzyme, superoxide dismutase. Copper is required in the production of red blood cells. And finally, bananas are a very rich source of potassium. 100 g fruit provides 358 mg potassium. Potassium is an important component of cell and body fluids that helps control heart rate and blood pressure, countering bad effects of sodium.
So given all the health benefits of bananas & the simplicity of the recipe by the lovely folks at Minimalist Baker, I decided to jump right in!
- 1 heaping cup walnuts
- 1 heaping cup pitted dates (soaked for 10 minutes in warm water and drained) ***Instead of dates, I used prunes which are have a lot less sugar
- 1.25 cups cashews soaked for at least 4 hours or overnight, then drained
- 3.5 Tbsp coconut oil, melted
- 1/4 cup agave nectar or maple syrup ***I also took this out completely, relying instead on the sweetness of the fruit.
- 1 medium just ripe banana (~ 1/2 cup mashed)*
- 1/3 cup full fat coconut milk ***Here I used coconut cream which made the pie even more creamy.
- 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
- 1/4 tsp sea salt
- 2-3 Tbsp lemon juice
- Place soaked dates in the food processor and process until small bits remain and/or it forms into a ball. Remove and set aside.
- Process walnuts until a meal consistency is achieved. Add back in dates and a pinch of salt and mix to combine. When squeezed between two fingers, the crust should stick together and feel moldable. If too dry, add another date or two. If too wet, add a little almond or walnut meal. (The crust seemed very wet and this was difficult to do with the walnuts b/c I don’t have a vitamix but a regular blender. I utilized the rolling pin method with some wax paper.)
- Press into a springform pan, or an 8×8 baking dish or round cake pan lined with plastic wrap or parchment. Press until flat, going up the sides about 1/2 inch. Place in freezer to set.
- Add all filling ingredients to a blender and blend until smooth and creamy – about 1-2 minutes. If it’s having trouble blending, add a little more agave or water to encourage it along. It should be silky smooth when completely combined. (This came out delicious even without additional sweetener!)
- Taste and adjust seasonings as needed. Then pour into crust and smooth with a spoon. Tap to release any air bubbles, then cover and freeze until set – about 4-6 hours. (I let it freeze overnight.)
- To serve, let thaw for 5 minutes. Top slices with coconut whipped cream, crushed peanuts and caramel sauce (optional). Should keep in the freezer, covered, for at least 1 week. ( I topped it with pomegranates, bananas and fig; but ideally you can get away with any type of fresh fruit; the banana flavour will inherently arise through and through!)