Oh how I love sweet treats. You're either a sweet or a savoury I think, and I was definitely born bearing the sweet-toothed gene. However as long as your sweeties are plant-based, natural and organic (where possible), and eaten in moderation (ie one slice, not four), then I truly believe sweet treats are a wonderful part of a balanced happy life. There's nothing quite like catching up with a good friend over a steaming cup of tea and delicious slice of cake. When I used to flat with my younger sister, we would religiously have afternoon coffee and cake dates every Sunday. We'd trot up to the local bakery where they had incredible homemade cakes on offer, would buy one large slice to share, then take it with us to the cafe next door and savour each bite together with a hot soy chai latte.
So in memory of those coffee and cake dates with my dear little sis, here is a wonderfully simple recipe for a delicious raw cheesecake. As with all my recipes, there's no dairy, no refined sugar, and even the natural sweeteners have been kept to a minimum. I've been playing around with raw cheesecakes for a few years now, and think I've finally cracked the code with this wee specimen. The combination of using not just coconut oil, but a little bit of cacao butter as well, adds a creamy element that tastes just like a traditional full cream cheesecake. If you make this for your regular dairy swilling, meat eating loved ones, I promise you they'll be whispering the V word before you know it!
I love the simplicity of the lemons in this cheesecake, and really, it doesn't need anything else in terms of flavour - they offset the sweet chewy coconutty base brilliantly. I've also used Lucuma in this recipe to sweeten. Lucuma is a delicious citrusy tasting fruit from Peru, which looks like a nashi pear crossed with a mango, and has a delicious creamy citrus flavour with a hint of maple. Lucuma is a natural low GI sweetener which means it's a good option for diabetics and anyone looking to stabilise their blood sugars (which is most of us). It's also rich in antioxidants, and has the same amount of calcium as a glass of cow's milk. To read more about Lucuma, check out my previous post on all it's benefits here.
I normally always serve my vegan cheesecakes with some sliced seasonal fruit to add some freshness, and a big blob of coconut yoghurt, coconut cream, or my Coconut Cashew Chia Cream to impart some moisture. The best thing about this cake is it's so easy to make once you have all the ingredients in your cupboard, and it's brilliant to slice up and stash in the freezer. I'll slice the whole thing up, leave a few out to eat that night, then put the rest pre-sliced in the freezer to eat for dessert later during the week.
All of the items below can be purchased from our online store, simply click on each ingredient link to add to your shopping cart
Always use certified organic ingredients where possible
1 1/4 c almonds (soaked overnight and drained)*
1/4 c desiccated coconut
1/2 c medjoul dates, pitted (soak them if using regular dates)
zest of 1/2 a lemon
1/2 tsp vanilla powderr/extract
1/4 tsp pink rock salt
3 c cashews (soaked 2hrs and drained)
1/2c coconut milk**
Juice of 2 lemons
1/4 c coconut nectar
1 tbsp lucuma powder***
1/2c extra virgin coconut oil, melted
2 tbsp cacao butter, melted
1 tbsp psyllium husk or lecithin
1/2 tsp vanilla powder/extract OR 1 vanilla pod scraped
1/4 tsp pink rock salt
* You could also use brazil nuts, hazelnuts or walnuts. Or do a half half with sunflower seeds which are often more affordable.
**I use Trade Aid's organic fair trade coconut milk in all my recipes. Unlike some coconut milks/creams which separate, this one has a beautiful thick even consistency making it perfect for cheesecakes, as well as using as a pouring cream or in my Coconut Cashew Chia Cream recipe. It's called "coconut milk" but is much more like a coconut cream. You can order it here.
***If you don't have lucuma, increase the light coconut nectar to 1/3 cup.
c = 250ml cup, tbsp = 15ml tablespoon, tsp = 5ml teaspoon
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Photos by the talented Bronwyn Kan