01.22.2018

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Nick turned 36 last week and, per his request, I made him a Classic Yellow Birthday Cake with Chocolate Sour Cream frosting. The cake smelled, looked, and tasted delicious (I made it while the boys were at school so I had the frosting covered spatulas all to myself…). There was just one problem – I recently challenged myself not to eat sugar, dairy, or gluten during the week (I’m not sweating the frosting licks) as a simple way to recover from our holiday overload. Nick’s beautiful birthday cake had serious doses of all three.

This Raw Pineapple-Mango Cheesecake saved the day for me and was the perfect thing to have as a healthier option alongside the classic birthday cake. I love tropical, tart desserts, especially during the dark winter months – they remind me of sun, sand, and heat! This dessert is also a great party alternative for guests who have food sensitivities.

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Raw Pineapple-Mango Cheesecake is incredibly simple to make – you don’t actually cook anything. The most challenging step for me is to remember to soak the raw cashews overnight. The crust, cheesecake filling, and fruit topping are all whizzed up using a food processor then layered into a springform pan and chilled.

While some sugar-free, dairy-free, gluten-free desserts are made with tofu or processed vegan foods, I like that this treat is full of recognizable ingredients like nuts, unsweetened coconut, and fresh fruit.

For all of you staying among snow and darkness this winter, give this cake a try. I promise it’ll make you feel like you’re lounging under a palm tree somewhere, however far off that actually may be.

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Raw Pineapple-Mango Cheesecake

Makes 1 9-inch cake – serves 12 to 16

 

Crust:

1 cup raw almonds

1/4 cup raw cashews

1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut

Juice and zest from 1 lime

1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

10 Dole pitted dates

1 tablespoon flour of your choice (all purpose or gluten-free)

Pinch of kosher salt

 

Cheesecake:

3 1/2 cups raw cashews, soaked overnight

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 Dole cup pineapple juice

1/3 cup melted coconut oil

Juice and zest from 1 lime

1/4 teaspoon turmeric

1/4 cup water

 

Pineapple Topping:

1 tablespoon coconut oil, melted

1 1/2 cups Dole frozen pineapple chunks, thawed

1 ½ cups Dole frozen mango chunks, thawed

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  1. Start by making the crust. Place all the crust ingredients in the bowl of a food processor and run the motor until the mix forms into a dough. Turn the ball of dough out into a spring form pan and, using your fingers, press the crust into the bottom of the pan. Set aside.  
  1. Next, make the cheesecake filling. Add all the cheesecake ingredients to the rinsed food processor. Blend until smooth and creamy. Taste for sweetness. This is not a sweet cake so if you prefer more sweetener, add in a tablespoon of agave syrup or other liquid sweetener. Pour the cheesecake batter over the pressed crust.
  1. Lastly, make the fruit layer by blending the melted coconut oil and thawed fruit in the food processor until smooth. Pour over the top of the cake. Set the cake in the freezer to set up. After an hour in the freezer you can remove the springform ring and serve or place the cake in the fridge to serve at a later time. Raw Pineapple Cheesecake is good chilled or at room temperature.

This post is sponsored by Dole Packaged Foods.

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02.02.2017

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I wrote The Beginner’s Guide to Juice Making for Food52. Check it out! 

Whether you received a juicer over the holidays, are in the midst of a New Year’s resolution kick, or simply want to get more fresh fruits and vegetables in your diet (who doesn’t?), you may be curious about juicing…click here to read the full article and get the recipes.

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Photography by Elizabeth Cecil

07.30.2014

I have stopped washing our beach towels. I’m just throwing them into the back of my car – day after day. They’re not really dirty anyway, just really really sandy (and more damp then I’d like to admit). I have also stopped packing full lunches for me and the boys. I found myself starting this crazy process at 7:30 am, hoping to meet friends at the beach around 10, and realized how silly I was being. For the rest of the summer it’s used beach towels and smoothies.

The summer frenzy is finally catching up with me. The hot beach days with two kids in tow, evening events out, keeping up with work, and this sweet face waking me up in the wee hours (I can’t get over his blonde swirl). It’s intense and exhausting but so fleeting and wonderful too.

These are extra special sweet smoothies inspired by a friend of Dylan’s who needed some TLC after a bad accident. She got a batch to sip on and we got a batch for the road. They definitely satisfy a sweet tooth.

Cocoa Beach
1 banana
1 cup plain whole milk yogurt
1 teaspoon honey
1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tablespoon extra virgin coconut oil
2 tablespoons extra liquid (water, whole milk, nut milk, etc.)

Tropical Beach 
1 banana
1/2 cup mango
1/2 cup pineapple
1 cup full fat coconut milk
1 tablespoon extra virgin coconut oil
2 tablespoons extra liquid (water, whole milk, nut milk, etc.)

PS. My mom’s garden has turned into a sweet pea wonderland.