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DIY Kitchen: raw chocolate cake

2013 February 11


Saturday morning it began snowing. The kind of snow that cancels any plans you may have had; which makes driving to the store for…what was it, bananas?…seem like crazy business. It cinches your small world tighter and confers a certain sacredness over the land. You splash a little kahlua in your coffee, the kids drag out Monopoly, snow swallows the outside world, and it all feels holy.

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Our friend Chris walked over to our house with his daughter, Iris, and while the kids got busy jump-roping, I had a little conversation with myself about how much more weirdness you blog readers are up for. (The very small flurry of unsubscribing following recent roadkill mention could be total coincidence, but still…).

I was planning on making this raw chocolate cake that I love, but was feeling a little sheepish about toting out this wonky cake, announcing: you’ll love it! It was made with avocados and almonds and no flour or sugar whatsoever. Who wants the recipe?

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Is your weird-o-meter pinging?

But then Chris—whose continent of culinary preferences contains a stronghold of meat and potatoes—announced that lately he’s been eating less flour, less sugar and more kale smoothies. Which was the exact invitation I needed.

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And really, there’s nowhere to hide from our own weird selves. Plus, it’s too late anyway. And goodness, it’s way too exhausting to keep shuttling all our eccentricities into the closet, the closet which is already overflowing. My friend Julia just told us about the Thai guy who was tasked with massaging her hairy legs during her recent pedicure. Rose asked, a bit worried, “did he say anything?” To which Julia just flashed her gorgeous and sincere smile, like her own billboard for Following your Heart is Beautiful.

Let your freak flag fly! Love what you love! And if people don’t like it, well, let them eat (raw, grainfree, vegan) cake.

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Isn’t it beautiful? And really, it’s incredibly delicious and why wouldn’t you have almonds, dates and avocados for breakfast?

Raw Chocolate Cake

cake ingredients:

2 cups almond meal (probably any nut would do, but I’d choose cashews next if I didn’t have almond meal)

1 cup dates

1/4 cup maple syrup (honey would probably be great, too)

3 TBSP unsweetened cocoa powder

2 – 3 TBSP coconut oil (this helps everything bind together. Start with 2 TBSP and add more if necessary)

1/2 tsp each of vanilla and salt

frosting ingredients:

1 large avocado

1/2 cup dates

1/4 cup maple syrup

3 TBSP unsweetened cocoa powder

2 TBSP water

(FYI: if I’m just looking for a sweet little treat, I just make the frosting, sometimes omitting the dates, because y’know, all that pitting).

Directions: Blend all the cake ingredients. Shape into cake. If it’s too dry, add a little more coconut oil, or water. If too moist, add more almonds. Next, blend all frosting ingredients and spread on top. Keep in fridge.

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First, assemble lovely assistants.

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Ingredients: if you have a Natural Grocers in your town, their almond meal makes this recipe easy as cake.

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The cake “batter.”

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Frosting (possibly the best part of the cake, especially after being chilled).

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Snow + chocolate cake + Rose Raven = 3 of my favorite things

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For the record, Chris loves all our unorthodox cooking around here, and we love feeding him.

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Also for the record, this is what Col was working on while the girls helped me make cake.

Thanks, Elizabeth S. for inspiring this recipe.

Happy Monday, Happy snow day, Happy weird life,


Linking up with Simple Lives Thursday and Nourishing Gourmet


50 Responses leave one →
  1. Sara permalink
    February 11, 2013

    You hooked me with your peach barbecue sauce and I finally tried the pumpkin muffins (with a nod to our own snowy day here), which my kids liked immediately but now seem to only eat half of at a time (and of course they don’t want to share a muffin and each have a half). I love that you use the peel, mostly because I’m lazy, I mean, it saves time. I had my muffin toasted with cream cheese this morning, and I think they are better a couple of days later (though I still wonder if I under cooked them).
    I’ve been working on less sugar and I’m always on the lookout for no flour recipes for a gluten-free friend. So, rather than rushing for the unsubscribe button, I’m marking this “to try,” though I’ll have remember to buy coconut oil (it keeps coming up) and dates, which I don’t ever have on hand.

    • Rachel Turiel permalink
      February 11, 2013


      So glad some of the recipes here have been useful to you. Also, coconut oil is great to fry things in: eggs, veggies, etc…because it can withstand really high heat without degrading.


  2. February 11, 2013

    The cake sounds tasty…but the avocados…hmmm…I was having a conversation with a vegan woman over avocado-frosted cake at a friend’s birthday party, and she was telling me about avocado-chocolate pudding and I thought, I like guacamole way too much to waste good avocados on pudding.

    I was all set to make an equally weird (if not weirder) cake this weekend– Forks over Knives brownies, using aduki beans instead of the black-beans it called for (for Chinese New Year, of course), but due to a similar snow situation, I did not go out to buy date syrup or caramel extract, so I made coconut snow ice cream instead.

  3. Sarah permalink
    February 11, 2013

    Love all the quirky weirdness. You are awesome. Your family rocks. We love you from just west of Mancos Hill. Thanks for the recipes and your writing.

    Keep on keepin’ on Turiel.

  4. February 11, 2013

    i squealed like a preteen girl the first time i was faced with an avocado smoothie…’eeewwwww’. but now that i’m older and…well, just older, i am down with all strange bedfellows so i sayeth, bring your freak flag forth!

    i can’t wait to try this recipe. and my jaw dropped at col’s drawing. really…it’s amazing! you might have the oven turned off, but there’s something cookin’ in that boy.

    love to you all!!

  5. February 11, 2013

    The first time I ate a raw lunch at Turtle Lake Refuge, I expected the worst, and didn’t think I would like anything. And then, and then…well, it was fantastic. And I was gob smacked. Sometimes we just have to get out of the way of the stories in our head. By the way, Alton Brown, of Good Eats fame and one of my heros for how he blends cooking with, gasp, science, has a recipe for avocado frosting. Of course, it has a pound of powdered sugar in it. But not much else. And he’s pretty darned main stream. Hairy legged women unite!

  6. February 11, 2013

    I made a mock tuna salad the other night for the fam, using chick peas. I threw enough green tomato pickles and their juice in there for them to love it.

    Wait, is that weird?

    • Rachel Turiel permalink
      February 11, 2013

      Wow. I’d like to hear that recipe. I always get excited about chick peas, and then after they multiply secretively in the pressure cooker I’m not so sure what to do with them.

      • February 12, 2013

        To make the mock tuna salad, I mush the chickpeas with my potato masher and proceed as if I’m making tuna salad. It’s that easy. My Alabama born & bred husband loves pickles in everything, so I chop pickles as well as a little bit of onion finely, add salt, pepper and mayo and just a little bit of pickle juice. I read it somewhere in the internet and was intrigued that chickpeas could resemble tuna, so I had to try it for myself. They really sort of do.

        The green tomato pickle recipe is from Food in Jars – she just happens to have it on her website.

        I wasn’t sure about them when I made them, but they are good. Garlicy and dilly – they are better than my attempts at dill cucumber pickles and yet have about the same consistency (not crisp). Pickled okra is good in tuna salad too. (and potato salad and egg salad and really, any thing you combine with mayo and call a ‘salad’ according to my husband.)

        It’s also quite good with your fermented carrots on top. My new favorite lunch is a toasted cheese on sourdough with loads of those carrots piled on top.

  7. February 11, 2013

    ‘Let your freak flag fly! Love what you love! And if people don’t like it, well, let them eat (raw, grainfree, vegan) cake.’

    Best sentence ever!

  8. anne permalink
    February 11, 2013

    I find nothing strange about your eating habits (roadkill to raw), which maybe makes me freaky too? I will definitely be trying this cake–thanks for the recipe!

  9. Jennifer permalink
    February 11, 2013

    Thanks Rachel, I was wondering what to make for Valentine’s Day and if I replace the maple syrup with honey, this is totally works for the GAPS diet!

    • Rachel Turiel permalink
      February 11, 2013

      Yay, Jennifer. I thought of you as I wrote this post, as in: well damnit, I know at least Jennifer would eat something like this. :)

  10. katharine permalink
    February 11, 2013

    beautiful, delicious, bring it on…that you for sharing the recipe. i have noticed my palette changing over the past few years in ways that i think are for the better. last week i was inspired to really consider the difference between the care that i need and the food that i eat. i made some significant changes and i did not have that grasping emotional response, “but….”
    i feel good- already and i am not someone who felt sick or even unhealthy before.
    i hear this happening all over the place from friends.
    thank you for speaking it and offering up some inspiration.

  11. February 11, 2013

    I find your family’s wild and weird ways endearing and comforting. It’s good to know that if I posted something about eating roadkill (Oh waiiiiit… I did! that at least there’d be one other person out there that would appreciate it :) I often make dessert type foods with just the same ingredients as you used for your delightful raw cake. I think we’re due for a treat around here too!! I love Col’s pictures these days. What a delightful little artist he is!

  12. Emmanuelle permalink
    February 11, 2013

    Holy Moly, Rachel, this recipe is a true Invitation To Decadence for a reader who can’t eat flour or sugar – in fact anything as sweet as a banana (not to mention dates, figs, honey and the like) is too intense for me to be eaten by itself, I have to mix it with a lot of yogurt for instance (talking about blood sugar issues ? ;o) – but who still loves the flavour of chocolate, dates and figs. Darn! I’ll find a way to adapt it somehow.

    And yes please, be yourself, we love you for who you are!

    • Emmanuelle permalink
      February 11, 2013

      I forgot to say that almonds, nuts and vegetable oil have the same effect on me as sweet things (dizziness, and various weird reactions that I can’t really describe) unless consumed in very small amounts at a time!

      So… I have been lusting hopelessly over your energy nuggets for a while, but I still hope I can find a way to make them with, I don’t know, cooked quinoa, some almond meal, mashed bananas, sweet potatoes, black beans, grated ginger and cocoa powder… (!)

      I do make a fantastic, instant dessert with mashed bananas and unsweetened cocoa powder, the bitterness of the latter absorbing somehow the intensity of the sugar released in the bananas by mashing them a few minutes.

  13. Emmanuelle permalink
    February 11, 2013

    Oh, wait! I forgot to say that Col’s drawing struck me as particularly amazing. The dragon with all its volumes, the tall shape of the castle studded with stylized windows, the composition, everything is bold and definite at the same time. And look at the 3D spiral coming out of that room!

    • Rachel Turiel permalink
      February 12, 2013

      Oh Emmanuelle, thank you for being such a booster of Col’s art!

      • Emmanuelle permalink
        February 12, 2013

        Col has clearly a true gift for visual and spatial exploring… And I totally agree with marygood !

        • Rachel Turiel permalink
          February 12, 2013

          Aw shit, just re-read mary’s comment and I have tears in my eyes at the library. Thank you. There is typically not much societal recognition for Col’s particular talents, and he often looks “behind” in the way society views intelligence in children. He *is* so drawn to visual and spatial exploration. And I love seeing what he creates. xo

  14. February 11, 2013

    wait. people unsubscribed after a roadkill post? for my part, i’ve been driving around oakland wondering what my chances are of finding something for dinner in the middle of the road (so far, not so good evidently…thank goodness for taquerias).

    i’m mostly a lurker around here, but i’ve been stopping by daily for a while now. your blog is one of my happy places on the interwebs. thank you!

    • Rachel Turiel permalink
      February 12, 2013

      Ha! New urban movement! :)

  15. February 12, 2013

    Rachel, I had read your blog for quite a while, enjoying your beautiful writing and honest and hilarious tales and one day it kind on dawned on me that you were, for want of a better word ‘alternative’. And I really am not. But I love your posts about roadkill, your wonderful garden and fermenting habits and love of things I haven’t even really even heard of before (what are chokecherries? they sound dangerous). Pretty much everything you says makes a good deal of sense to me, and your salad post had me salivating and making salads with avocado and bacon and nuts and yummy dressings for days.

  16. Kay permalink
    February 12, 2013

    I don’t know about weird-o-metre, but my intrigued-o-meter is pinging madly!
    I’m definitively going to try this receipt – this is absolutely PERFECT for me, since I love baking but don’t have an oven. (And I don’t have a blender either – do you have any tips for making this without one?)

    Here’s to all things delicious!

  17. Melissa permalink
    February 12, 2013

    here’s to weird!
    and raw chocolate cake! i can’t wait to assemble ingredients and try it . . . but not with my 5 (!!) year old boy watching me or else he won’t eat it (:


  18. Danny permalink
    February 12, 2013

    Rachie! This was crackin’ me up and so well crafted! Scumptuously crafted, in fact, with very fine ingredients. Now she’s made two of these cakes and swears that’s all she’ll eat for breakfast anymore. SMuv U

  19. February 12, 2013

    love you weirdness, and that cake looks awesome! and, oh i’m missing vitamin cottage. we’ve recently left boulder for the wilds of the appalachian hills, and i find most of what i need in the local grocer, but vitamin cottage it is not.

  20. Molly Wieser permalink
    February 13, 2013

    I was just given some almond meal, because of someone who makes their own almond milk and had almond meal leftover. I’ll have to get some dates, make this cake, and then have a freak flag party. Thank you.

  21. gretchen permalink
    February 13, 2013

    I read this post at about 8 am and made it to the store to pick up missing ingredients just as they were opening. Thank you, inspiration! I made it as an early Valentine’s surprise for my family. There was barely enough frosting to cover the cake because i had to keep testing it… by the spoonful! Delicious!

    Because i am completely unable to ever follow a recipe as directed, and because we are trying to cut down on the sweets as much as possible, i made a couple changes. Food for thought:

    +Sprouted almonds instead of almond meal (because i happened to have one and not the other)
    -No maple syrup- substitute a few drops Stevia extract
    +A bit of coconut milk

    Threw it all in the food processor together and mmmmm! It was a bit sticky so i put it in the dehydrator for a while and let it set up a bit. That added a nice touch i thought. It was awesome, especially in light of the lack of sweets around here lately.

    Also, not sure if you’re already on board, but i’m trying to spread the word to as many people as possible- Label GMO foods in Colorado


  22. February 13, 2013

    i have to chime in on col’s drawing as well- incredible! i personally feel so thankful for you in the world because we are so similar in our weirdnesses and because you give me courage to put my weird out there too. i can’t imagine what crazy person would unsubscribe from your blog, but if it is even true (and not just a mistake) then it is most definitely their loss. you’re a babe.

  23. Gwyneth permalink
    February 28, 2013

    Is there anything I can use in place of the avocados for the frosting? I can not tolerate avocados, I feel very nauseous after eating them.

    • Rachel Turiel permalink
      February 28, 2013

      Try a cup of cashews.

  24. Rebecca permalink
    March 23, 2013

    Thank you for this recipe! I have a new-found love of “weird” cooking (really, any cooking at all) — but why is healthy weird? Society, I do not understand you ;) Anyway, we had some friends over tonight to eat vegetable dishes and drink green juice — and wine. I made your raw chocolate cake for dessert and it was a HUGE hit. Honestly, the best cake I have ever made. So rich! Loved it!

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