Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Chocolate Strawberry Parfaits

 Strawberry Banana Parfaits
vegan and soy-free

My family gathers several times a year to celebrate clusters of birthday. This weekend we got together for three birthdays and I made the dessert. Ever since my fantastic birthday dinner at Portobello and their amazing tiramisu with cashew marscapone I had been eager to experiment more with cashews. The result: a creamy, fluffy, and very rich mousse I am extremely excited to share as part of my birthday parfait recipe.

The Components

Chocolate Brownie Cake Chocolate Mousse
Coconut Whipped Cream

Chocolate Brownie Cake

This is a delicious blend between a cake and a brownie: rich, moist, and super chocolatey. This is probably the easiest cake recipe I've ever seen and takes no more than ten minutes to assemble.

1 1/4 cup flour
1 cup sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1/3 cup cocoa
1/2 tsp salt

1 cup warm water
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/3 cup canola oil
1 tsp apple cider vinegar

Preheat the oven to 350. Lightly oil a 9'' cake pan or 8x8 square dish. Mix together the first five ingredients until well combined. In a measuring cup combine the wet ingredients and pour into the dry. Mix together until smooth, but do not over-mix. Small chunks are okay; the batter should look something like this:

Place in oven and bake about 20 minutes, until knife comes out clean in the center.
Set aside to cool.

Chocolate Mousse

This recipe follows a classic chocolate mousse that is made up of three components: whipped eggs and sugar, melted chocolate, and whipped cream. After some experimenting and reading I came up with this vegan version of the classic mousse.

2 cup cashews, soaked overnight
1 cup water
1/4 cup sugar

12 oz chocolate, melted

2 cans coconut milk, chilled overnight
1/3 cup powdered sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract or 2 vanilla beans

Place cashews in a bowl and add 1 cups water.
Let the cashews soak in the water overnight.

Once ready blend the cashews, water, and sugar in a food processor for a looooong time until mixture is smooth and thick.

Meanwhile melt the chocolate on a double boiler, stirring occasionally.

Once chocolate is melted scrape into large bowl. Fold in the completely smooth cashew mixture until well combined. Let cool to room temperature.

While chocolate cashew mixture is cooling, open the two cans of chilled coconut milk and scrape out the fatty solids on the top (about half the can). Place in a bowl with sugar and vanilla extract and blend with a hand mixture until the coconut milk is the texture of whipped cream.

Fold in the whipped cream to the now cooled chocolate mixture. Place in a airtight contain and let set up in the fridge.

Coconut Whipped Cream

1 can coconut milk, chilled overnight
3 TBSP powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract

Blend together as done for mousse.

Strawberries and Bananas

Slice 2 bananas and 1/2 pint strawberries.
Place strawberries in bowl and mix with two tablespoons of sugar to bring out the moisture.

To assemble parfaits:
cut one inch chunks from cooled cake and place 3-4 at the bottom of the glass.
Top with several sliced strawberries.
Cover with 3-4 TBSP mousse.
Repeat, this time with bananas.
Pipe or spoon on the whipped cream and top with a strawberry.
Serve chilled.


  1. I made a simple version of this to serve the in-laws today! The cake, cut in squares, with strawberries and whipped coconut cream on top. I've never done the whipped cream before, and it was a huge hit. Thanks! You're inspiring me to try my hand at more baking/dessert making. I only wish we could putter around the kitchen together... One of these days :)

    1. I'm glad it was a hit! We definitely need to figure out a way to see each other.

  2. Do you only use the top of the can or the whole can of coconut milk for the whipped cream?

  3. you just want to use the top solid, fatty part. in order to ensure it separates, you may need to chill the can in the fridge overnight but some brands like Thai Kitchen usually come separated.