Birthdays are an excuse to dive head first into all of your favorite guilty pleasures. I don’t know about you but most of my guilty pleasures involve chocolate. What? Yours don’t? Usually on my birthday I eat a lot of chocolate and a lot of dessert. In fact on my birthday I like to just replace entire meals with dessert. I know what you are thinking and no, I don’t just eat dessert all day long on my birthday with no actual sustenance in between!…(Okay fine I do, but it’s MY birthday I can do what I want!) But my guilty pleasures aside there were three, count them three, back to back birthdays at CrossFit this week. So of course I had to make something really outstanding for my CrossFit girls Jen, Shreya, and Michele.
Your CrossFit friends are a special variety of comrades, they are indeed a very unique type of friend. These are people that I sweat with, that I suffer with, that I am in severe pain with, that I bleed with, that I laugh with, that I cry with, that I scream with, that I would go to war with. These people see me at my best, my worst and everyday in between, their PR is my PR and vice versa. It’s kind of like a marriage of sorts, only we don’t live together and we have to pay to see each other on daily basis.
So you can only imagine how amazingly awesome my birthday ‘cake’ had to be to celebrate these ladies in all their glory! So I was thinking, if birthdays equal guilty pleasures a.k.a chocolate, and I need to make some sort of ‘cake’… what could I do?…(scratching my Paleo chin)…Ah ha! Paleo Chocolate Cheesecake!!! The original recipe I used you can find here, but I will type it out for you below along with my notes, additions, and substitutions.
Paleo Chocolate Cheesecake with Fauxreo Crust
*Makes 8-12 servings
For the crust:
2 cups raw pecans
2 tablespoons coconut oil
1 tablespoon creamy almond butter
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 cup pure maple syrup grade B
1/8 teaspoon pink himalayan salt
For the filling:
2 cups raw cashews (soaked at least for 4 hours, overnight is better)
1 cup peeled & diced zucchini
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 cup pure maple syrup grade B
1/4 cup of coconut palm sugar (If you don’t have coconut palm sugar just use another 1/4 cup of maple syrup for a total of 1/2 cup)
2 tablespoons of unsweetened vanilla almond milk
2 tablespoons coconut water
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon pink himalayan salt
The juice of one medium lemon
1/2 cup coconut oil, melted
1. Prepare the crust by placing the pecans in a food processor and grind them into fine meal. Add in the rest of the crust ingredients, and process again until well combined. Line the bottom of an 8-inch spring form pan with parchment paper, then press the crust evenly into the bottom of the pan. If you have residual oil from the almond butter and coconut oil, just blot with a paper towel. Place the pan in the freezer to set, while you prepare the filling.
2. In a high-powered blender, process the raw cashews until they are blended. Add in the zucchini, cocoa powder, maple syrup, coconut palm sugar, almond milk, coconut water, vanilla extract, salt, and lemon juice. For the lemon juice I go by taste as not to overdo it with lemon flavor. I started by juicing half of the lemon, mixing and tasting, and adding more. Add as needed to your preference. Then add in the melted coconut oil, and blend again until a super smooth and creamy batter is formed. If your batter is too thick try adding a little more almond milk and coconut water until the desired smooth creamy batter consistency is reached.
3. Pour the filling into the frozen pie crust, and allow to set in the freezer for an hour to harden. After that you can add any topping you like and then place back in the freezer for at least 4 hours, preferably overnight. Remove about an hour or so before serving so it can thaw a bit.
Really pay attention to the lemon juice on this one. It’s not that big of a deal but I’m a perfectionist and I really wanted the chocolate flavor to come through without being overpowered by the lemon. You need the lemon juice though to give it that sour cheesecake flavor, so just go by taste, keep adding a little lemon juice until it’s just right! After pouring into the pan I used a rubber spatula to smooth and even out the top. I then put the cheesecake in the freezer to set for an hour. Then I did my handy dandy microwave melting of 85% cacao dark chocolate in a Ziploc baggie, cutting the corner trick, to drizzle chocolate over the cake. (You can find a more detailed version of that sentence in my chocolate covered strawberry blog). I also broke up some dark chocolate squares and placed them sideways into the top of the cake. At this point it was still soft enough to do so. Then I popped that bad boy back in the freezer overnight!
So after we did the WOD today we all gathered round, took birthday pictures and sampled the Paleo fare! It was so delicious! And I’m not just saying that because I made it! It came out exactly how I wanted! The chocolate crust was so rich and full of flavor, it made the perfect imitation Oreo crust or Fauxreo crust if you will. The zucchini gave it an amazing true to cheesecake texture, so creamy and smooth. I was in guilty pleasure Paleo heaven! Even poor Jackie who gave up chocolate for Lent had to have a bite, bless her heart! And even the boys looked like they were enjoying themselves! It made me so happy to see everyone hanging out, eating my Paleo chocolate cheesecake, at 7 o’clock in the morning, celebrating each other and these amazing friendships that we’ve forged through battle, together, in the CrossFit barracks.
What guilty pleasure would you like to see made Paleo? Drop me a comment and I’ll see what I can do! Please don’t say pizza. Until next time keep it clean!