Strawberry Ganache Fudge Cake: How to Have Your Cake and Eat It Too


I love you more than rainbows.” – Ryan Bingham (best original song, Crazy Heart) When I heard that, I went “AWWW”. How cute was that speech at the Oscar’s?! [I’m a total sap!] I’m watching it as I type, can you tell?

This (raw) fudge cake might just be more lovable than those colorful arches.

Strawberry Ganache Fudge Cake: the indulgent-tasting cake that looks good and makes you feel good

The oh-so-decadent-looking ganache–would you believe me when I say it’s made of dates, agave syrup, avocado, and cacao powder? Grins. No, it’s not April Fool’s Day yet. This total eye candy is good for you!

In the beginning I wasn’t sure it would be as good as Elle said it would. It’s not that I don’t trust her, or Ani Phyo (the cookbook author). It’s just that the ingredient combination was a bit foreign to me. Really? Avocado?! I grew up eating avocados as dessert topped with powdered milk and sugar, so the sweet part I got. But…with chocolate? You’re kidding!

My apprehension disappeared as soon as I prepared and tasted it. Oh…my…god!

Chocolate ganache

Raw ganache: the stuff of raw dessert heaven!

This chocolate frosting is UNreal in flavor. Wow. You wouldn’t think it has avocado in it. It is as good-no even better-than it looks.

Each cake layer is made of ground walnuts, cacao powder, medjool dates and salt. The major challenge for me when I made this was shaping the cake into 2 stackable layers. My smallest springform pan was 8 inches, and that produced a layer too thin to hold its shape. I ended up using a smaller-diameter fondue pot that I lined with aluminum foil tso I can easily pop out the layer once it’s compressed into a compact disc.

Pressing the cake into one compact disc

This is my low-tech solution to shaping the cake layers. It works.

I was eager to devour it after putting on the first layer of ganache, especially after tasting it with some leftover cake crumbs. I love eating tasting everything while making stuff.

First cake layer

First cake layer frosted with ganache

The original recipe called for fresh raspberries. I had strawberries at the time, so I sliced and macerated them in agave syrup for extra softness and moisture.

First layer of the strawberry ganache fudge cake

Mascerated sliced strawberries

After much fussing around with the frosting to make it look decent (I’m not good with icing at all), I had to wait 2 hours for the cake to firm up before cutting it.

Strawberry Ganache Fudge Cake

A piece of chocolate heaven.

It was love at first bite. I know I say that about a lot of desserts, but wow, this was on its own level of chocolate goodness. If I was to make a list of 100 Things To Eat Before You Die, this will definitely make the cut. Ultra smooth and creamy ganache on two layers of nutty cakes and a soft layer of macerated strawberries in the middle – what could be better? It’s raw and it’s healthy for you, that’s what! This is pure indulgence without the guilt.

Don’t even entertain second thoughts, just make this now. This is pure indulgence without the guilt.

STRAWBERRY GANACHE FUDGE CAKE (RAW) Download the print-ready PDF recipe
Adapted from “Ani’s Raw Food Desserts: 85 Easy, Delectable Sweets and Treats
by Ani Phyo (2009, Da Capo Press).

Ingredients – makes about 6 servings

For the fudge cake:
•    3 cups dry walnuts
•    2/3 cup unsweetened cacao powder or carob powder
•    1/4 teaspoon sea salt
•    1 cup pitted Medjool dates

For the frosting:
•    1/3 cup semi-soft pitted Medjool dates
•    1/4 cup agave syrup
•    1/2 cup ripe avocado flesh (from about 1 medium avocado)
•    1/3 cup cacao powder

For the filling:
•    1/2 cup sliced strawberries
•    1/2 tablespoon agave syrup

1.    For the filling: Mix the strawberries and agave syrup in a small bowl, cover with plastic, and refrigerate for an hour. Strain the juices out before putting on the cake (Step #5).

2.    For the fudge cake: Coarsely chop walnuts, cacao powder, and salt together in a food processor. Add the dates and pulse until thoroughly mixed. You may have to scoop it from the sides of the bowl with a small spatula if the bigger chunks stick.

3.    Shape the cake into two (2) solid, stackable discs using a 6- or 7-inch springform pan. You can use other flat-bottom containers, but line them with aluminum foil for easy removal of the cakes. Note that the thinner you make the cake layers, the more fragile they will be. Placing the cake discs in the freezer while you make the frosting will help set them.

4.    For the frosting: Pulse the following in the food processor until smooth, in this order: the dates and agave syrup; avocado flesh; and lastly, cacao powder.

5.    To assemble the cake: Place one cake layer on a plate or cake stand and frost the top with about one third of the ganache. Carefully place strawberry filling on the center and spread until about half an inch from the edge.

6.    Position the second cake layer on top and frost the top and sides of the cake. Place in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours to let it firm up.

Storage: According to the original recipe, the cake layers will keep in the fridge for many weeks. The frosting can be kept separately in the fridge for a week. The assembled cake with fruit will keep in the fridge for up to 3 days.

– The trickiest part of this recipe is shaping the cake layers so that each disc stays in one piece. You might have to redo the first layer you make just to get the hang of it.
– Slicing the cake can get crumbly and messy due to the nutty cake layers. I would highly recommend making this in individual serving-sized portions, if you have small springform pans or even ramekins.
– You won’t have any problems with storage. This cake is small and is so good it will disappear from the table before you can even think of your second helping.

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  • March 8, 2010 3:03 am

    I’m having difficulty believing it myself, but have to since you say so and it certain;y looks very good. You have problems with the cicng? Doesn’t show at all!
    .-= Aparna´s last blog ..Bread and Grapes Under A Tuscan Sun: Schiacciata Con L’Uva =-.

    • joy
      March 8, 2010 12:47 pm

      I’m making this again in the next two weeks, just to make sure it’s really that good. ;-) Thanks! I’m such a perfectionist with my own work, that’s what it is. Haha. It took a while to make it look like that, I have to say.

  • March 8, 2010 5:42 am

    That looks to die for! Better than regular chocolate cake! Wow!

    • joy
      March 8, 2010 12:48 pm

      Thanks for stopping by, Jessica! And thanks! When we had it, I really thought it was better than most of the chocolate cakes I’ve had.

  • March 8, 2010 6:53 am

    That looks absolutely wonderful and having tasted avocado cupcakes recently, I know how good the cake can taste. The ganache? I guess I will take your word for it – if you say it’s good, it must be!!! I love your low tech cake layering solution – ingenious – never thought of that!
    .-= Mardi@eatlivetravelwrite´s last blog ..Hell‚Äôs Kitchen (Minneapolis) =-.

    • joy
      March 8, 2010 12:50 pm

      Thanks, Mardi! I’m still in disbelief. Like I said to Aparna above, I’ll be making this again just to make sure I wasn’t just delusional. Haha. I pride myself with being resourceful, and sometimes it works out. :D

  • March 8, 2010 8:15 am

    Actually, I’m very confident that the avocado ganache tasted good, I’m just so impressed at how smooth and glossy it looks. Well done. (I wish I could place that oscar quote, though.)
    .-= Manggy´s last blog ..River Cafe’s Chocolate Almond Cake =-.

    • joy
      March 8, 2010 12:52 pm

      Have you had it before? I never would have thought it would taste as good as it was. I was surprised with the glossiness, too. I updated the post and included that info: Ryan Bingham for best original song in Crazy Heart. It was one of the first awards given.

  • March 8, 2010 1:04 pm

    I’m skeptical about the raw thing, but that does look good!
    .-= Kate @ Savour Fare´s last blog ..Giveaway and The Savour Fare Kitchen ‚Äî Essential Kitchen Tools =-.

    • joy
      March 8, 2010 2:54 pm

      I was the first one to make a face at the mention of “raw food eating” a few years back. This year I’m trying to make an effort to try new things, including raw. Although I wouldn’t give up cooked food, I have to say that I’m surprised to discover how good “raw food” is and how much I’m enjoying making and eating it. One thing that pushed me a bit in this direction was the raw food booth at Foodbuzz last year.

  • March 8, 2010 4:32 pm

    i am SO intrigued by this. i need to make just to satisfy my curiosity. it also looks amazing!
    .-= carolyn´s last blog ..Return of the salad =-.

  • March 9, 2010 2:59 am

    Wow! The first word that popped into my head when I saw it was “Gorgeous!” and then when I read what it was, how it is made and your description I thought “Amazing!” It looks so fabulously chocolatey and luscious, dense and delicious! I’d so love to try it too!
    .-= Jamie´s last blog ..CHAMPAGNE CHICKEN =-.

  • March 9, 2010 9:22 am

    That sounds unbelievable! I need to try this one day ;)
    .-= Tea´s last blog ..The Colors of the Seasons =-.

  • March 9, 2010 2:37 pm

    Looks awesome!!!

  • March 17, 2010 5:56 am

    This looks awesome. I’ve been wanting to do some raw desserts but haven’t tried it yet. I guess it’s the expensive ingredients but this cake is really worth a try. I’ll be waiting for avocado season. And you sliced the cake very nicely.

    • Alexia
      December 16, 2010 1:20 pm

      Divina, you are right. The ingredients are super expensive. I went to a whole foods and saw that for a small jar of raw coconut oil, it was 10 dollars. for a large container of cacao powder, it was about 30 dollars. It seems you have to have a whole other job to afford the ingredients. I decided that I still want to make the recipes, but since I can’t afford EVERYTHING for them, I am going to make them semi-raw. This grocery store near me sells raw cashews, almonds, and walnuts for extra cheap. And I will by regular cacao powder to make this fudge cake. That way I know that my desserts are still healthy and semi-raw. lol. :-)

  • Alexia
    December 16, 2010 1:17 pm

    Hi Joy!

    I have to say I am so happy I stumbled upon your page! I am actually planning on making the ganache fudge cake, but I prefer strawberries to raspberries and wanted to see if I could google that. I wasn’t sure if raspberries are SUPPOSED to go with a ganache fudge cake. Then I thought, what the heck…Anywho, I made the Pineapple Icebox Dessert in Ani Phyo’s book, and although I liked it, my dad and brother ate it but didn’t think it was a smashing hit…so for the next dessert I am hoping to wow them with a raw chocolate dessert–the ganache fudge cake! I am so excited to hear how good it was. I just can’t wait to make the cake and I also loooooove how you suggested soaking the strawberries in agave syrup…I know that the original recipe doesn’t call for soaking the raspberries in agave syrup (at least I don’t think so), so wow! I am amazed! It is true, eating raw does have quite an appeal to it, which is why I’ve begun to look into it too…hopefully one day I can at least be eating 25% raw or more! :-)

    Have a good one!

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