Kelly Ohnona's Raw Chocolate Cake

Photo By: Kelly Ohnona
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When I visited Kelly Ohnona in her small NYC apt, I was blown away by how she manages to cook, shoot, and entertain in her small kitchen.  Not to mention make these so called healthy desserts delicious.  She originally invited me over to share about her life and teach me to make her chocolate lava cakes.

We met in a food writing class at ICE, and I immediately took to Kelly's sweetness, great energy and friendly way.  I was super eager to experience and explore her clean takes on healthy food though I must say, I was a little apprehensive.  

While I'm always interested in eating clean, when it comes to dessert, I'm like bring on the fat, sugar, flavor, whatever needs to happen to make that dessert slammin'.

Raw, vegan, and dessert in the same sentence? uh.  Pass me a Snickers bar.  I'll even eat a damn cupcake over some juice bar dessert that costs $12 a slice.  

But I really wanted to taste Kelly's recipe, learn about her life and background and I was curious because Kelly looks amazing, is totally gorgeous and manages to cook and eat this delicious stuff while maintaining a great physique.

I also wanted to share her with The Inherited Plate audience.  People who come to the site might be looking for some healthy alternatives and this site is about passing on great recipes, techniques as well learning about peoples' backgrounds and cultures.

But back to dessert.  After watching her whip these up and bake them off so quickly, I tried Kelly's chocolate lava cakes and remembered all over again why people were so obsessed with that dessert back in the day.  Her healthy version was so spot on and tasted very much like the buttery, chocolatey wonderful little gems we used to bake off at Daniel.

Sold to the girl with a growing muffin top.  When our cooking session was almost over, Kelly popped open the fridge and said, "I want you to taste this, but let's defrost it a little."  It's was a frozen slice of her raw chocolate vegan cake.  Is it technically vegan with the milk solids in the chocolate bar...?  Not sure.  Have to ask Dr. Oz about that but I was def game after the lava cake.

About 15 minutes later I was jamming this little piece of heaven into my pie hole, and was like ok, I'm putting this on the site too!  I LOVE this cake.  It's like a chocolate mousse but with a totally wholesome nut based crust and deeply chocolate and coconut (my favorite) flavored mousse layer on top.  I will note to readers that in making the cake, I did have to have to refrigerate the mousse and place back in the freezer for 20 or so minutes to really get it to that non liquid state she calls for in the recipe, but that totally did the trick.

Big hit.  Made this for a low fodmap party as well and people were drooling and asking for seconds.  So it's gluten free, kosher for passover, raw, and perfect for all those pesky guests you might be having over for dinner.  I will guarantee the chocaholic carnivores will love it too. Make it.

Photo By: Kelly Ohnona

Photo By: Kelly Ohnona

Serving Size: 16


For the Crust:

1 cup of roasted unsalted almonds

2 cups of roasted unsalted hazelnuts

200g of high quality dark chocolate (minimum 50%-70%)


For the Ganache:

2 cans full fat coconut milk

500g high quality chocolate

1 tbsp. of salt


For the ganache:

Place the pieces of chocolate in a medium mixing bowl and set aside.

In a pot, heat the coconut milk and salt on medium high heat and whisk lightly.  Bring the temperature up until you see little bubbles around the edges.

Pour the milk over the chocolate.

Make sure all the chocolate is covered. Let sit for 2 minutes.

Stir gently to incorporate the milk and chocolate together until smooth.

Place a piece of plastic wrap directly over the top of the ganache.

Place in the fridge for at least 2 hours.


For the base cake:

Melt the chocolate.

Place nuts in a food processor.  Pulse a few times and then mix for about 2 minutes until in small pieces.

Add chocolate to the nuts and mix together for 3 minutes.

Use a 10" spring form silicone pan(to make sure it doesn't stick) and press the nut mixture into the pan to create a thick base. 

Put in refrigerator for 1 hour.


Mix the ganache with an electric hand mixer for 4 minutes on medium speed.

You want to make sure it's smooth and not too liquid.

Put back in refrigerator(or freezer for 20 minutes) if too liquid.

When the consistency is easy to spread like a thick cream, pour on top of the base.

Freeze for 2 hours minimum before removing the silicon mold.

Store in refrigerator before serving and decorate as you wish.

You can store the rest of the cake in your freezer up to one month.