While most are surely spending their summers chugging cold beer, enjoying ice cream cones and sipping fancy frozen drinks, why not try something new? Whether you're a health food fanatic, a dessert lover or just plain curious, we promise that raw desserts don't mean sad salad leaves or cucumber and carrot slices. Less processed sugar and fewer crappy ingredients need not result in a sacrifice of flavour – think sticky dates, coconut cream, fresh chopped nuts, agave nectar, rich dark chocolate and more.
We know what you're thinking – 'No eggs. No milk. No sugar. No baking. WTF kind of cake is that?' Sure, the idea of raw desserts may challenge your definition of sweets, but try one of these great treats and we promise you'll be an instant convert.
1. Pure & Whole Cheesecake
Pure & Whole lives up to its name with this nutrient-dense cake. The vegetarian eatery's signature raw vegan cheesecake combines a thick top layer of dairy-free dark chocolate mousse with a creamy base of cashew, tahini and coconut oil and a burst of fruity flavour from a sweet blueberry filling. And the secret to the smoothness of the cake? Avocado – so you're even getting a little boost of healthy fat. Chocolate lovers should also be sure try Pure & Whole's ecstasy balls – they're little bites of bliss.
42RMB at Pure & Whole, Room 104, Shanghai Centre, 1376 Nanjing Xi Lu, near Xikang Lu, Jingan district.
2. Alan Wong's Raw Banana 'Cream' Pie
A special menu item conceived by the Hawaiian fine dining restaurant's creative head chef Beth Cosgrove, this fabulous chilled pie has a luscious 'cream' filling made up of thick coconut cream and a blend of raw macadamia and cashew nut 'cream' piled onto a crust of dates and nuts. It's vegan, so that means dairy-free, plus refined sugar- and gluten-free to boot; it's sweetness coming only from ripe bananas and a touch of pure maple syrup.
68RMB at Alan Wong's Shanghai, Second Floor, Shanghai Centre, 1376 Nanjing Xi Lu, near Xikang Lu, Jingan district.
3. Green Vege Cafe's Raw Cashew Nut Lemon Cheesecake
Light and refreshing, this raw cashew nut lemon cheesecake uses soy milk and citrus for its tangy flavour. Pair it with a pot of earl grey during an afternoon tea session (2-5pm, 42RMB with your choice of tea or juice) and you’ve got yourself a delightful snack to brighten up your day!
35RMB at Green Vege cafe, Room 3-301, Touch Mall, 679, Zhongshan Nan Er Lu, near Chuanchang Lu, Xuhui district.
4. 茹 If Vegan Dark chocolate and nut mousse cake
茹 If Vegan prides itself on sourcing the finest quality dark chocolate for this decadent mousse cake with walnut crust. One bite and you'll see that this dessert is pretty damn fine – it's super rich, oh so moist and overall quite sinful, but also not too sweet and without a trace of bitterness that sometimes comes with super dark chocolate.. Plus, they say dark chocolate releases endorphins, right? Plus, there are no added preservatives or additives.
36RMB at 茹 If Vegan, 408 Shanxi Bei Lu, Jingan district.