This year, the first day of spring in the Northern Hemisphere is on March 20th. In Switzerland, it feels like it has already arrived.
I love mint and chocolate and with the impending spring, I wanted to make something with these ingredients. This creamy and cool mint cake with a chocolate almond base is perfect for the spring season, St Patrick’s day or all year round. It’s light, refreshing with just a hint of lime and mint.
This cake filling is made with fresh mint leaves, raw cashews, green seedless grapes, lime juice and almond milk. The base is a mix of almonds, oats, cacao, medjool dates and maple syrup. I sprinkled the top with Matcha green tea powder, but go ahead and decorate it as you want.
With only one tablespoon of confectioner’s sugar in the entire cake, it is naturally sweet. After several attempts (and perseverance!), I found a way to incorporate the agar-agar so that the cake holds its shape and the mint leaves don’t oxidize and lose their colour.
Cool mint cake
One round 20 cm (8 inches) springform cake pan lined with parchment.
Double the ingredients for a larger cake
- 6 medjool dates, pitted + 3 tablespoons (tbsp) water
- 2 tbsps maple syrup
- 2 tbps cacao or cocoa powder (no sugar added)
- 1 cup almond meal (ground almonds can be found in stores)
- ½ cup rolled natural oats, small size (not grounded)
- In a medium-size and narrow microwaveable bowl, put the pitted dates and water (press the dates into the water) and microwave on high for 30 seconds to soften the dates. When done, add the maple syrup and process (in same bowl) with handheld blender to obtain a caramel.
- Add the cacao powder and mix with a fork until blended.
- Add the almond meal and oats. Mix well to combine.
- Pat evenly on bottom of pan. Bake in oven at 180°C / 350°F for 15 minutes. Set aside to cool.
- 1 cup raw cashews, soaked overnight in water or in boiled water for 4 hours
- juice of 1 green lime
- 3/4 cup loosely packed fresh mint leaves (15 gr), stems removed and roughly chopped
- 1 cup seedless green grapes (180 grams)
- ½ cup almond milk
- 1½ teaspoons agar-agar powder for desserts
- 1 tbsp confectioner’s sugar
- Matcha green tea powder to sprinkle on top (option)
- In small bowl, soak mint leaves in the lime juice; turning the leaves a few times in the juice. Put in fridge to cool.
- Put the 1 cup of green grapes in fridge to cool.
- Strain the cashews and rinse them under cold running water. Transfer them into a high speed blender or processor.
- On stove top, heat up the almond milk and add the agar-agar. Simmer and stir for one minute. Remove from heat and cool to room temperature (20 minutes or more). It will form a soft gel, but don’t let it gel too long. Don’t add to the mixture in the blender if it is hot or warm to touch otherwise the mint leaves will oxidize and turn to a green-yellow dull colour.
- When the almond milk has cooled, put the grapes in the blender with the cashews and blend on low. Add the mint leaves and lime juice and blend again. Add the gelled almond milk and blend. Add the confectioner’s sugar and blend. Keep blending on low, gradually increasing to high. Blend on high for 2-3 minutes or until silky-smooth, scraping down the sides of the blender as needed. Blend until the mint leaves are almost invisible or miniature specks. You should obtain a thick green creamy filling.
- Immediately pour and spread filling on top of cooled crust. It will continue to gel.
- Store covered with foil in freezer for minimum 2 hours or overnight. Unmold partially frozen cake and place on platter. If very frozen, allow cake to slightly thaw before umolding.
- Dust the top with matcha green tea powder. Serve.
- You don’t need to freeze this cake again. Store in a covered container in fridge and it will continue to hold beautifully thanks to the agar-agar.
NB: For a green and firm filling, make sure that the ingredients are never hot or warm.