Tiramisu is a dessert classic and the masterminds behind Cafe Gratitude are generously sharing their plant-based take on this much loved Italian export. If you’ve had this dessert at one of Cafe Gratitude’s restaurants before, you’ll know that it definitely lives up to its menu name, I Am Adoring. In fact, we think it’s “healthier” cashew cream and cacao mousse swaps actually make it more luxurious. Personally, we love to pair ours with a Warm Feelings™ saffron latte and find that the saffron complements the coffee flavors perfectly. One note, this recipe is not for the faint of heart. There are a few steps to this dish and it involves a little skill but is absolutely worth the effort! But if you would rather skip the cooking component (no judgment), you can purchase both the tiramisu and Warm Feelings™ saffron latte at the Café Gratitude Newport Beach location!

I Am Adoring Recipe

Ingredients for the Vanilla-Espresso Cake:

  • 1 ½ cup date paste (12 ounces) (see below)
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon of vanilla water (see below)
  • ⅓ cup unscented or lightly scented coconut oil
  • 4 ½ cups almond pulp or almond flour (see below)
  • ¼ cup almond milk
  • ¼ cup cold-pressed coffee or espresso

Ingredients for Chocolate Mousse:

  • ½ ounce soaked Irish moss
  • 1 ¼ cup of almond milk
  • ¼ cup date paste
  • ¼ cup cacao powder
  • ¼ cup agave
  • 2 tablespoons of vanilla water (see below)
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 ½ teaspoons of sunflower lecithin
  • 4 tablespoons unscented or lightly scented coconut oil

Ingredients for Whipped Cream:

  • 1 ½ cups water
  • 1 cup raw cashews
  • ¼ cup cane sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup unscented or lightly scented coconut oil
  • 6 tablespoons of cacao powder for decoration

Ingredients for Vanilla Water:

  • 4 vanilla beans, whole
  • 6 cups of water

Most of our recipes call for vanilla; some either the scraped insides only of the vanilla bean seeds or vanilla water. To do the water, you will blend the vanilla stick and water until it’s thoroughly blended. This keeps refrigerated for 2 weeks in an air-tight container.

Ingredients for Date Paste:

  • 20 pitted dates
  • ¼ cup warm water

Date Paste Assembly:

Date paste is available but hard to find and is often coated with rice flour. Although you could use pitted dates to make our crusts and cakes, making your own date paste is easy to do. You can store date paste in the freezer for up to 3 months.

  1. Process pitted dates in food processor

Dates range between being really dry and really moist. If they are way too dry, you may need to add more water but if they are very juicy, don’t add any.

Almond Pulp or Almond Flour?

At Café Gratitude, we make all our nut milks in house so we always have an abundance of almond pulp leftover from our almond milk production. This sprouted almond pulp makes a beautiful base for our raw layer cakes.

If you are making your own almond milk at home, you can just save your leftover almond pulp in the freezer until you are ready to use it. The almond milk recipe below makes about 1 cup of leftover almond pulp.

You can also use an organic, store-bought almond flour as a substitute.

Ingredients for Almond Milk:

  • 2 cup raw almonds, soaked overnight
  • 2 organic Medjool dates, pitted
  • ¼ teaspoon Himalayan salt
  • 6 cups water

Almond Milk Assembly:

  1. Soak 6 cups of almonds in 18 cups of water for 12 hours. Make sure you are using a bowl or container large enough to hold your almonds with at least an inch of water above the almonds. The almonds will expand considerably as they sprout.
  2. Cover the almonds and let them sit in the fridge overnight. If your dates are very dry, you could pit and soak them along with the almonds. If they are rich and juicy, you can just add them directly when you are making the milk.
  3. The following day, drain and rinse the almonds well and transfer them to a blender. Add the pitted Medjool dates, the salt, and the water and blend for 2 or 3 minutes until the almonds are finely ground.
  4. Strain the almond mixture through a nut milk bag over a large bowl squeezing the pulp well to extract all of the milk. Homemade almond milk will keep for 2 or 3 days in the fridge.
  5. Use the almond pulp for your recipe.

Yields 7 cups milk (1 cup almond pulp)

Vanilla Espresso Cake Assembly:

  1. In the stand mixer bowl, add the date paste, coconut oil, vanilla, and salt. Start mixing at low speed first then higher until you have a creamy and very smooth consistency. This will take a few minutes.
  2. Turn off the mixer and add the almond flour, almond milk, and cold-pressed coffee or espresso.
  3. Begin mixing at low speed for about 5 minutes. Stopping and cleaning the sides as needed until all ingredients are well incorporated. The cake batter should be soft and light to the touch.
  4. When cake batter is ready, divide it into two equal parts.
  5. Lightly oil a 9-inch spring-form pan with coconut oil and spread one portion of the batter on the bottom in an even flat later. Keep the remaining cake portion out at room temperature until ready to use.

Chocolate Mousse Assembly:

You will need to soak the Irish moss least 8 hours in advance. You will also need a high-speed blender to properly break down the Irish moss and fully blend the mousse.

Irish moss is a seaweed most often used as a vegan gelatin or thickener in recipes and is purported to have many health benefits. We have used Irish moss since we opened Café Gratitude primarily in our raw cakes, creams, and cheeses because it is versatile and does not require heat to activate its gelling properties.

While it might be difficult to source in your local supermarket, Irish moss can be easily sourced online. For this recipe, you will need to purchase the whole seaweed, not the flakes.

To prepare your Irish moss, you will need to carefully wash it, as it can often be very sandy from the harvest. Once clean, cover the Irish moss with abundant cold water and let it soak in the fridge for at least 8 hours. Allow extra room in your soaking container, as the Irish moss will expand with water as it soaks. Don’t rinse the Irish moss after the soaking process is complete and don’t drain or replace the soaking water. You can keep soaked Irish moss covered in the fridge for up to one month.

  1. To begin making the mousse, measure your Irish moss using a digital scale making sure that you carefully shake off any extra water prior to weighing it.
  2. Rough chop the Irish moss and add to the blender with ½ cup of the almond milk.
  3. Blend on medium speed until the moss begins to create a thick jelly. Small bits of Irish moss may accumulate on the sides of the blender or under the lid. Stop occasionally to scrape them down using a spatula and continue blending until you have a smooth gelatin. Do not move on to the next step until the mixture is completely smooth, otherwise you will have small bits of Irish moss in your mousse that will be impossible to eliminate.
  4. Once you have a thick paste, add the remaining ¾ cup of almond milk, the agave, date paste, cacao powder, vanilla water, and salt.
  5. Blend well until smooth and creamy then add the lecithin and coconut oil and resume blending until fully incorporated.
  6. Pour the mousse on top of the first cake layer.
  7. Place the entire pan in the freezer to set the mousse for about an hour.
  8. When the mousse feels firm, remove the pan from the freezer and gently apply the second cake layer. Proceed with the whipped cream.

Whipped Cream Assembly:

  1. In a high-speed blender, combine the cashews, water, cane sugar, and salt.
  2. Blend until you have a smooth cream and then add the coconut oil. Continue blending until the mixture is completely blended and then pour about it into the cake.
  3. Let it set up in the fridge for about 12 hours or overnight.

Final Assembly:

  1. Take out the cake from the pan running a small thin spatula on the sides of the cake. Smooth out if necessary.
  2. Using a small sifter, gently sift the cacao powder in an even layer on top of the cake. The cacao powder should completely cover the whipped cream frosting. You can add some almonds or coffee beans on top too.
  3. Enjoy with a cup of our Warm Feelings™ saffron latte.
Makes one 9 inch cake

Before it was a fixture on the L.A. dining scene, Café Gratitude was founded in the Bay Area with the simple ethos that joy derives from loving and being grateful for food, health, and good company. You can now enjoy Café Gratitude’s organic, plant-based fare from any of its 5 locations or discover more of their recipes like this one in the Love is Served cookbook.

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