I've always thought vegan cheescakes must be hella difficult to make. As soon as I saw raw activated soaked nuts, I tended to put those recipes to the side. Not to mention the absence of dairy or eggs to hold the creamy filling in place worried the traditional baker in me. It takes a lot of confidence in the magic of baking to put a super liquid runny mix in the fridge and pray it won't succumb to physics and simply explode from the tin when you attempt to grandly reveal your cheesecake masterpiece. I know women who this has happened to at rather fancy dinner parties and it took them weeks to recover. Oh the domesticity shame. After producing some gorgeous and sturdy traditional cheesecakes in my kitchen (even low-fat low-sugar versions), I was armed with the knowledge and thus power to tackle cheesecake recipes without breaking a sweat.
But a vegan cheesecake, well that is different. What changed my mind and inspired me to try a dairy-free cheesecake was that this recipe didn't scare me. It didn't say soak nuts for three days before draining, resoaking, saying a magic chant three times and then give a thoughtful blessing. It simply said get some raw nuts, soak them in a little water for an hour and drain. Phew!
While my previous solid track record of triumphs in the cheesecake department was now relatively irrelevant, I figured I was unveiling the result amongst family and hopefully they would understand my kitchen experiments can sometimes not always go to plan. I mean family is a non judgemental environment right? Hmm okay, maybe the pressure was on.
Much like the first time I baked a cheesecake, this was an experiment I tackled with optimism and faith in the magical science of baking, albeit great disbelief. Without any chanting or prayers, my first vegan cheesecake has the most gloriously light filling tinged with a blush of pink and creaminess to rival the best of conventional cheesecakes. I served this sweet little number to a large group of women at a ladies lunch and they were in heaven. But this wasn't just for the ladies, the husbands were found later that day devouring the left overs. I think we have a winner.
Don't be scared, this recipe is actually really easy (dare I say easier than traditional dairy recipes) and is low in sugar, gluten-free and full of healthy fats. I guarantee you will be making this again! Just remember, it will melt more quickly than your usual cheesecake because these ingredients are largely liquid at room temperature. You need to serve from fridge and eat immediately, which shouldn't be a problem :)
Strawberry Vegan Cheesecake
- 1/2 cup of almond meal
- 3 tablespoons of coconut oil
- 2 tablespoons of cacao powder
- 1 tablespoons of Natvia
- 1/2 cup of raw macadamias, soaked in water for at least one hour
- 1/2 cup of raw cashews, soaked in water for at least one hour
- 1/2 cup of coconut milk
- 1/2 cup of coconut oil
- 1/2 cup of Natvia
- 1 cup of strawberries - save a few for the topping
- 1/4 cup of shredded coconut plus some for the topping
- Mix together the almond meal, coconut oil cacao powder and Natvia into a crumbly consistency. Line a baking tin (preferably a snap-lock tin for easier cake removal) with greased proof paper. Press the mix into the bottom of the tin until its all spread out and flat.
- In a high-speed blender, blend the nuts, coconut milk, coconut oil (melted), Natvia, strawberries and coconut.
- Once the mixture is smooth and creamy, pour into your tin to cover the base. Top with sliced strawberries and shredded coconut.
- Refridgerate for at least four hours or overnight. The cake will come away a little from the sides and you can use a knife to loosen the edges before removing.