Want to make something gorgeous to really impress your plant-loving friends? This vegan cheesecake is rich and creamy, with tons of flavour and visual appeal. It can keep for ages in the freezer, too, so there’s no excuse not to whip one up and save it for your next gathering!
I’ve tried the frozen vegan cheesecake that Daiya makes, but I wasn’t overwhelmed by it. I figured I could do better, and customize it to my taste. There’s no refined sugar in this recipe, but rather the sweetness comes from maple syrup, from dates, and from coconut. How nice!
And on that note, make sure to use pure and real maple syrup. The artificial stuff will technically work, but it’s made with refined sugar and doesn’t contain the interesting minerals and vitamins like calcium, magnesium, and potassium. (But, you know, it’s still sugar. So don’t go adding it to your diet for its health benefits!)
If you can’t eat gluten,
you’ll be able to enjoy this recipe so long as you aren’t sensitive to oats. I know they offer specifically “gluten-free” oats in the grocery store, but I have heard some people say that oats bother them too.
Not to fear! I recommend swapping out the oats for almond flour. It’ll still taste delicious, and be quite similar to the crust on my dark chocolate tart recipe. This just doesn’t include the cocoa powder.
If you can’t eat nuts,
specifically almonds, then you could switch out the almonds in the crust for another nut like pecans, or increase the amount of cashews. Unfortunately the filling just wouldn’t be the same without cashews, so if you aren’t able to eat those, I’d try a different recipe instead.
Before you want to make this recipe,
you’ll have to remember to put a can of coconut milk in the fridge and a bunch of cashews in a container with water to soak overnight (if possible).
Cooling the coconut milk will make all the cream separate and gather at the top of the can. You can easily scoop it out and leave behind the watery liquid. The cream is great for all sorts of desserts, and the liquid is good for adding to smoothies, curries, or whatever else you’re making.
Cashews become super soft from soaking, and turn into a creamy smooth paste with just a little brisk processing. If you don’t soak them, you’re not going to get them ground down as finely. Even just 4-5 hours of soaking will make a big difference.
And of course, I always use raw nuts because they don’t have any added salt and incorporate better when processing.
Lemon Coconut Cheesecake
For the Crust
- 1/4 cup raw cashews
- 1/4 cup raw almonds
- 1/2 cup oats
- 1 tbsp maple syrup
- 5 pitted dates
- 3 tbsp coconut oil
For the Filling
- 1 cup cashews, soaked in water
- 1 tbsp water
- 2/3 cup coconut cream
- 1/4 cup coconut oil
- 1 tbsp maple syrup
- zest from 1 lemon
For the Coconut Topping
- 3 tbsp shredded unsweetened coconut
- 4-5 dried hibiscus flowers
- 1 cup boiling water
Start with the crust:
Heat up your coconut oil in a small dish so that it is a liquid. Putting it near a heat source like a stove or heater is often enough to melt it safely, but you can use the microwave too.
In a food processor, combine the cashews, almonds, oats, maple syrup, and dates. Process on high until it creates a fine crumble.
Stop the processor and add in the coconut oil. Pulse a few times to distribute it, and test that the crumble has enough stickiness to clump together when pressed. If it's too dry, add a little extra coconut oil.
Take a 4 inch springform pan and line the bottom with a small circle of parchment paper to make it easier to remove later. Fill with the crust, and use a spoon or clean fingers to press it down firmly into the pan.
Pop the pan into the freezer for about 10 minutes while you prepare the filling.
For the filling:
In the food processor again (cleaned out), combine the cashews (without the soaking water), the tablespoon of water, the coconut cream, coconut oil, and maple syrup. Blend until completely smooth, about 2 minutes. If you have a high powered blender, this will get it even smoother.
Zest a lemon and add the zest to the filling. Blend on low for a couple seconds to distribute the lemon.
Remove the crust from the freezer and pour in the filling.
Tap the pan on the counter several times to get the filling to settle in to the crust and to remove air bubbles. The top surface should level itself out.
Put the cake into the freezer, for at least half an hour. You can remove the springform pan and return it to the freezer in a container if you wish, and keep it there until you're ready to eat it. Allow a few minutes for the cake to thaw before serving.
Coconut Topping (Optional):
In a bowl, combine the shredded coconut and hibiscus flowers.
Boil water and cover the coconut and flowers. Allow to sit for 5-10 minutes.
Strain the mixture and remove the flowers. Spread the coconut out on a baking sheet with a piece of parchment paper on it.
Either allow the coconut to sit out overnight to dry out, or put it in a slightly warm oven - either on the lowest temperature it can manage, or put it in after baking something when the oven is off but still warm. Make sure not to crisp the coconut, just dry it out.
You can then decorate the cake with this pretty pink coconut, or save it for later in a sealed container.