Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Rawsome 'Desserts in the Raw' workshop

You may remember that, earlier this year, I raved about Rawsome products appearing at cafes around Perth. As I noted then, the Rawsome range includes raw, vegan (except raw honey in some products), gluten free, paleo, grain free, sugar free and soy free treats that are, quite frankly, amazing. Caramel slice, mint slice, and chocolate fudge brownies are just some of the choices on offer.

Last Sunday, I attended an evening workshop run by Laila Gampfer, the developer of Rawsome. Her Desserts in the Raw workshops are held regularly, and always sell out long in advance of the actual date. In fact, one of the reasons I signed up (way back in August) was the option to cancel without penalty up to 48 hours beforehand. There is always a waiting list of hopeful attendees, so if you need to back out, someone can be slotted into your place.

Raw, vegan chocolate mudcake.

Happily, I didn't need to back out. Along with the other 10 or so attendees, I had a great time and left with enough dessert to fuel me through the week.

The workshop was held in the Rawsome kitchen, which has the sort of bulk bought ingredients I wish my own kitchen was full of: large tubs of cacao, nuts and seeds; many jars of agave; and a huge amount of coconut oil. There are multiple thermomixes, large fridges, and the ovens are used for storage. It's a lovely place. It's also impressive to think of the number of products being churned out by Laila and her small (mostly family) team.



We were given recipes for the desserts we made on the night. Out of courtesy, I am not sharing them here, but will put my own twist on some of my favourites and post variations at a future date. For today, I hope you'll enjoy seeing what we created, and I am summarising some of the key things I learned. All photos are from my phone, so I apologise for that in advance!

Before getting to dessert, we started with a green smoothie and by making a batch of almond milk. Some of the almond pulp featured in recipes later, and I have realised just how poorly I've utilised my own almond pulp in the past.

From there, it was on to two cheesecakes (or cheesefakes as Laila more accurately calls them). Regular readers will know my dislike of regular cheesecake and my equal like of the raw vegan sort. Thus, it is no surprise that I loved this section of the class. Watching soaked cashews turn into cheesecake is something I will never get tired of.

'Fijian' cheesecake

The Fijian cheesecake may be my favourite dessert of the night. it includes a hefty dose of lime juice and a layer of banana between the base and the creamy topping. It packs citrus, coconut and fruit in each bite and I will definitely be experimenting with it at home (and sharing an adapted version with you).


The chocolate chai cheesecake was, ironically, probably my least favourite dessert of the night. It was creamy, rich, and entirely authentic in its cheesecake texture. Others loved it, and if you like cheesecake, I have no doubt you would too. For me, it was a bit too much - but extremely pretty.

Chocolate chai cheesecake

After the cheesecakes, we made the smaller desserts: lamington bliss balls (which included the almond pulp) and moon rocks (very dense - hazelnuts, cacao, nut butter, and coconut oil!). Interestingly, both were made in a mixing bowl, a reminder that food processors aren't necessary for everything.

A food processor was necessary for the final dessert, which was incredibly fun to watch come together. Reminiscent of Hannah's raw chocolate brownies, it was a chocolate mudcake with walnuts, dates and cacao forming the bulk of the 'cake', and chocolate avocado mousse providing the icing. Mixed berries topped things off.

Take home slice of raw, vegan chocolate mudcake - 
a bit messier than the first photo

I have made Hannah's brownies, and I have made many a batch of chocolate avocado mousse, but I have never made anything quite like this cake. Rest assured - I shall be repeating it at home now.

Other than a whole lot of deliciousness, and the aforementioned recipes, I took a number of useful tips from this workshop. In no particular order, they are:
  • You can freeze homemade nut milks. I don't know why this never occurred to me, but it is very helpful to know now. Freezing in ice cube moulds would be a really handy way to do things.
  • Setting raw cheesecakes for 2 hours in the freezer and then overnight in the fridge may give best results in setting speed and texture consistency.
  • I think I make my cheesecake bases too moist; Laila's were drier and probably more like traditional, biscuit crumb, bases.
  • Marbelling is a really effective way to fancify a cake!
  • You can do an incredible amount with a tiny ingredient list. Nuts, cacao, dates and coconut butter go a very long way.
  • If you make your own nut butters, adding brazil nuts to almond or cashew nut butters will help to reduce processing time and food processor effort. Brazil nuts have a higher fat content than almonds and cashews, so are more amenable to being turned into a spreadable form.

More generally, it deserves note that the workshop was well run and a very enjoyable way to spend a few hours. Laila is full of energy and clearly very enthuasiastic about what she does - and lots of fun to be around. I was also glad that while we had plenty of opportunities to participate in the processing / creating process, there was also no obligation to do so and you could sit back and watch if preferred.


Have you been to many / any food-related workshops? Or do you have any favourite raw / vegan dessert recipes of your own?

33 comments:

  1. Wow this sound absolutely amazing, i would love to do a workshop like this! And your creations look so divine... Love to hear any tips re how to use almond pulp too :)

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    1. Thanks Kate! As for the almond pulp - throw it in a bowl with cocoa and a nut butter of choice. Mix together and then roll into balls and coat with coconut!

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    2. Sounds simple and delicious! Will try :)

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  2. WOW what an experience! So many yummy desserts to try and one can debate 'good for you'!! x

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    1. It absolutely was! I think 'good for you' has to be followed with 'in a very rich, healthy fat containing way' but that still counts ;)

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  3. Wow - this looks awesome!! I have never done a raw dessert class but I have always wanted to experiment to see what each ingredient lends to the final product. I have made a few cheesecakes but they have all been so different, yet still so yummy. I totally want to try the marble swirl! I think my favourite so far has been my Better Than Nutella Cheesecake.

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    1. I can understand why that one is your favourite :D

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  4. Wow, tbe cheesefakes and mud cake look devine!

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    1. Don't they just?! The magic of raw vegan desserts will never cease to amaze me.

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  5. I'm in love with that chocolate chai cheesecake - wow!

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    1. Would you believe it took less than 15 minutes of active preparation time? So much prettiness for so little work :-)

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  6. So much fun! And what an treat for me to be referenced in such a post of wonderment. x

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    1. You're right where you belong :-)

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  7. Really? It only took 15 mins of active prep time? It look so pretty. I can spend a couple of hours and it would never look that pretty!

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    1. I do doubt my abilities to get it that pretty ever, but I can assure you that wherever our skills will allow us to reach, we'll get there in an amazingly short period of time!

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  8. Confession: I don't think I've ever had a slice of vegan cheesecake! I must correct this. What a great course and yes, everyday there's something to learn as a foodie. I love the look of the slice of cheesecake with the fresh fruit! xx

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    1. Oh, you must rectify that Charlie! And the cheesecake with fruit was absolutely divine :)

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  9. Hi Kari,
    Long time no write :). I love raw desserts but find them really rich. A little goes a long way!

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    1. Lovely to hear from you Liz!! I find them really rich too - I think that's why I tend to prefer the varieties with fruit in the mix, because it lightens things slightly :-)

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  10. I love cheesecakes but am also interested in cheesefakes (love that new term for me) - the marble swirl looks so pretty and that whole workshop sounds like fun and a great learning experience - blogging is great but sometimes I miss the shared cooking I did sometimes in student houses, swapping tips and tasting what others make.

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    1. There is something lovely about discussing food in person with people who have similar interests and their own techniques / tips to pass around. I think you'd have loved this, and suspect you'd love the cheesefakes too :-)

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  11. Ooh it all looks lovely! I don't know any raw recipes but these look good :)

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    1. Thanks! They were really fun to make (or watch being made ;) ).

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  12. I would love to attend a workshop like this! I'm mad about raw desserts. Thanks for those tips- freezing nut milks and adding brazils to nut butter are especially useful :)

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    1. I'm glad you liked them - they were particularly helpful for me too!

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  13. Raw dessert overwhelm me!
    I have been to a soy cooking class! it was great fun!

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    1. That does sound fun! Raw desserts are actually incredibly easy though, I promise! Way easier than other types in fact :-)

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  14. I'm so glad you had such an amazing experience! It sure sounds like it was a lot of fun! And delicious ;). Chocolate chai cheesecake really does sound good but since I'm not a huge fan of cheesecakes either, I may share the same opinion as you. I must try adding brazil nuts next time! So many wonderful tips. Thank you for sharing, Kari!

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    1. A pleasure, Min! I'm glad you enjoyed seeing the products - they really were delicious :)

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  15. This sounds absolutely amazing! I may have to come to Perth just for one of these workshops...

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  16. Oh these cakes look just divine! How did you get them to freeze so quickly during the class? Or were the cakes made beforehand? And thanks for the tips, freezing nut milk sounds so clever!

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    1. Thanks Sophie! Nothing was made beforehand but we did the cheescakes first and they went in the freezer for a couple of hours before the class finished :-) I think Laila added a little more coconut oil than usual too, to facilitate the setting! They were still a bit soft by the time we cut them, but obviously firm enough to cut and survive transfer to a container.

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