Choosing a name for a recipe I always find odd. It either jumps out at me or I struggle with it. See I want something that basically tells you what the dish is, and I don't want it to be too clever or cutesy or weird. But you know, sometimes you just have to have some fun too. Especially when it comes to birthday cakes, and something as rich, decadent and utterly delicious as this cake.
If you want this cake to tell you what it is, then it's basically a Snickers Cheesecake. A Snickers is a thick layer of nougat with another layer of peanut laden caramel that is about half the thickness of the nougat. Then it's all coated in chocolate. So "Snickers" just didn't cut it for this cake. This cake is a sensory explosion of taste, texture and contrasts. And it deserves a pretty spectacular name!
Each year when I choose my birthday cake, I tend to go for something that reminds me of being a kid. Something decadent, and fun, something that brings joy and a smile to my lips as I think of it. That's exactly what a birthday cake should be, it should bring you joy and release your inner child.
I debated whether to make it or not since I've made a Snickers Cheesecake before, and also find Snickers Bites in our Nourishing Treats book. But both of those are more like a "real" snickers in the proportions of the cake. And this is, well it's what birthday cakes should be all about. Not about want, not about need or would like, but just because you deserve it. To go back to your childhood and enjoy being ridiculous and just decadent.
I think you are either a Snickers or a Mars Bar person. For me the distinction is obvious - it's all about the texture. A Snickers is a Mars Bar really, but with that much needed addition of the peanuts to cut through the richness of the caramel and give your mouth a break from the sameness of the texture of the combination of the caramel and nougat. Even as a child, for me texture was everything.
And this cake, my lovelies, is all about the texture! A larger than life base, a lovely peanut buttery raw cheesecake that is actually just a small part of the cake, topped with a beautifully smooth caramel filled with different sized pieces of peanuts and topped with chocolate ganache.
You might look at this and think that it's too much work. Honestly, not a word of a lie, each layer will take 15-20 minutes, at most. And it can be done in stages. Sometimes if I am short for time when I want to make a cake tomorrow, I will prepare the base the day before and leave it in the freezer ready to top the next day. The caramel for this can also be made ahead of time, as the cheesecake layer needs to be completely set before putting the thick firm caramel on top.
I wish I could share a slice of this with you. Well, that's a lie. Not share a slice with you but give you a slice!
If you make this, I would LOVE to know. Please tag @freyasnourishment on social media or message me a photo and let me know what you think!
Nuttery Peanut Buttery Caramello Cake
Makes one 20cm cake
1 1/2 cups peanuts
1/2 cup almond meal
1/2 cup cacao powder
3/4 cup medjool dates
Peanut Butter Cheesecake:
1 cup cashews - soaked overnight in cold water, or 1 hour in hot water
1/4 cup coconut oil
1/4 cup coconut cream - scoop the firm cream from the top of a chilled tin
1/4 cup peanut butter - smooth or crunchy. I used crunchy
1/4 cup maple syrup
Squeeze of lemon juice (cuts through the richness)
Pinch of salt
1 cup medjool dates
1 cup peanuts
1/2 cup peanut butter
1/2 cup tahini
1 tbsp coconut oil
180g dark chocolate (I used Loving Earth 70%)
1/3 cup coconut cream - scoop the firm cream from the top of a chilled tin
Crunchy Peanut Bits:
3/4 cup peanuts
1/3 cup rice malt syrup (or another thick sweetener. Maple syrup doesn't work as well as it is too thin)
- Add all the ingredients except the dates to the food processor and whizz until mixed. You want the peanuts to break down but with some texture left in them
- With the motor still running, add the dates a couple at a time - you want the mixture to hold together when pinched. You may need some extra dates*
- Press into the base of a lined springform cake tin, or better yet use a silicon cake mould as they are so easy to get raw cakes out of. Score some parallel lines into the base - this will create some texture for the cheesecake layer to grip onto so that it creates a tight seal and prevents a gap between the cheesecake and the base
- Place in the freezer while you make the cheesecake layer
* if your dates are dry, soak them in hot water for 10 minutes or so to soften them otherwise you will need to use more
- Drain and rinse your cashews
- Add all ingredients to the blender and mix until smooth
- Pour over the base and set in the freezer for a good 2 hours or until the top is firm to touch. If the cheesecake layer is too soft, the nutty caramel won't be able to spread across the cake cleanly
- Add all ingredients except the peanuts to the blender and mix until smooth
- Spoon the caramel out and place in a bowl. Sprinkle in the peanuts and mix through - you might want to put on some disposable gloves to do this to really get it mixed in well. It's much easier than with a spoon
- Leave aside until the cake is ready
- It depends how oily the tahini and peanut butter is, sometimes there will be a little excess oil once the mix is blended together. You can just pour this off and discard it
- When the cake is firm to touch and set enough, spoon the caramel* at intervals around the cake and smooth with the back of the spoon or wearing a disposable glove, use the warmth of your hand to smooth it out evenly over the cake. You want an even layer with a smooth surface
- Place back in the freezer
*there will be excess caramel. This is on purpose so that you can roll some of it into balls to use for decorations at the end. Best way to roll them is with gloved hands, placing onto a parchment lined tray and into the freezer
- Once the caramel layer is on, start melting the chocolate in a double boiler
- Spoon some of the chocolate out into a seperate bowl to drizzle over the top of the cake at the end, over the little caramel balls
- Add the thick coconut cream to the chocolate and stir to combine
- Pour over the nutty caramel, making sure you have a smooth surface then place the cake back in the freezer for an hour or so until it is completely set
Crunchy Peanut Bits:
- Put some whole peanuts to the side, then roughly chop the remaining peanuts. You want all different sizes, as the small bits fill the gaps between the whole peanuts
- Heat a frypan and add the rice malt syrup, leaving to heat up until it is bubbling
- Take teaspoon and drop spoonfuls onto a lined baking tray, spaced apart and allow to set
- Drizzle over some of the melted chocolate
*these are a peanut version of the toffee pieces I used in the Golden Gaytime Cheesecake - you could very easily use those instead if you prefer not to use more peanuts
Once the cake is completely set, remove from the cake tin and add the little nutty caramel balls around the edge of the cake and sprinkle over the crunchy peanut bits. Use the extra melted chocolate you put aside to drizzle over the decorations.
The cake will need to thaw before serving, you can leave it in the fridge overnight if you don't need it until the next day, or leave covered on the kitchen counter for an hour or two (depends on the room temperature how long it will take)
This cake will "technically" last for a week or two in the fridge, and can be stored for a month in the freezer (longer it may succumb to freezer burn) but I doubt you will have any left by that stage to test that theory out 😉
Here are some other celebration recipes you may like to try:
Eating well is a form of self respect