This is actually an Italian Chocalate Almond Zucotto, but I’m calling it Raw Chocolate Bomb instead. I was trolling around different websites looking for a recipe that was gluten-free, preferably raw because I had dates in my pantry that needed to be used, and it HAD to involve chocolate. I decided to make this because of the enticing picture, knowing that mine most likely wouldn’t turn out that pretty, and it didn’t.
I use my iPhone to take photos for this blog. There’s no flash, so lighting can be a challenge. I always try to do my baking and picture taking during the daytime, but on the day I made my chocolate bomb it was really dark and rainy outside. The lights in my kitchen can make weird glares and orangish hues, so please forgive the poor quality of the photography. I took the above photo this morning because there was some decent sunlight coming into the kitchen, so it’s a little better than the rest.
Another reason my chocolate bomb didn’t turn out looking like the original zucotto is because I didn’t bother dusting it with carob powder and garnishing with almonds. I don’t have any carob powder (I used all cocoa powder instead), and I didn’t have any whole almonds left.
This recipe has three components: the cake, almond cream, and chocolate cream. They’re layered inside a bowl or pudding basin and then chilled in the refrigerator or freezer to set. Once firmed up, you then place the bowl upside-down on a plate, and remove the bowl to unmold the the chocolate bomb. That’s simple enough. Everything is made using either a food processor or a blender, so measuring out the ingredients and washing up the utensils takes longer than actually assembling the dessert.
I have to confess that my version isn’t truly raw, as the chopped almonds I used were toasted. Also, the recipe calls for melted coconut oil. I’m not sure how else to melt coconut oil besides heating it, which is cooking, right? That part kind of confuses me, but since coconut oil has a pretty low melting point, maybe it’s not heated enough to be considered cooked.
The recipe description mentions a “hint of orange” in the cake. Rather than actually measure out 1/2 teaspoon of orange zest, I just took the zest off of an orange. I think that was too much. My cake has way more than just a hint of orange in it.
Also, I made the almond cream in the blender, and I think next time I’ll use my food processor, at least a first. My blender had difficulty mixing the ingredients as the mixture was pretty thick, so I found myself adding more almond milk than I should have, and it came out too runny. I fixed this by putting it in the freezer to chill, and as it thickened I was able to spread the almond cream up along the sides of the bowl more. But I’m going to quit rambling now and get on with the recipe and pictures.
The first thing you want to do is line a 1 quart bowl with cling film (aka plastic wrap). This makes it easy later.
For the cake:
1 cup walnuts
2/3 cup almonds
1 cup pitted dates, packed
1/2 teaspoon orange zest
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
In a food processor, grind the almonds to a fine powder and set aside in a separate bowl. Then process the walnuts into small, crumb-like pieces and add them to the almonds.
Next, process dates, orange zest, and pure vanilla extract until smooth.
Add in the nuts and mix until it’s dough-like. Press the mixture into and up the sides of the lined bowl and chill in refrigerator while you make the almond cream.
For the Almond Cream:
1 cup cashews
1/3 cup almond milk
1/3 cup coconut oil, melted
3 tablespoons maple syrup
1 1/2 teaspoons pure almond extract
2 tablespoons chopped almonds
|The maple syrup is missing from the photo, but don’t worry, I remembered to add it!|
Blend all but the chopped almonds until smooth, then fold in the chopped almonds and spread the mixture evenly on top of the cake layer.
Mine was way too thin to do this at first because I added extra almond milk, so I just poured it into the center and as it chilled and firmed up I was able to spread it up and along the sides.
Once the almond cream layer has chilled and is set, then it’s ready for the final component.
For the chocolate cream:
3/4 cup almond milk
1/2 cup cashews
1/2 cup walnuts
3-4 tablespoons cocoa powder (original recipe uses “cacao” and carob powder)
3 tablespoons maple syrup
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract (original recipe calls for 1/2 of a vanilla bean)
pinch of sea salt
2 tablespoons coconut oil, melted (original recipe also uses cacao butter)
In blender, combine all ingredients except the coconut oil and mix until smooth and creamy. Add coconut oil and blend until thoroughly combined. It will be similar in consistency to chocolate pudding. Pour mixture over almond cream to fill in the center of the bowl.
Allow to chill in the freezer for a few hours or the refrigerator overnight. When ready to eat, just turn the bowl upside down on a plate and remove.
Then peel off the plastic wrap, slice, and serve. I’ve been keeping mine in the refrigerator, but I think it would do equally well in the freezer if you prefer a frozen, ice cream cake type dessert.