We just had a holiday here that is traditionally celebrated by a dairy themed smorgasborg, with cheesecake a staple dessert. In an effort to make it inclusive for my son, last year I made my first cashew-based vegan cheesecake (well, a dozen mini cheesecakes) using what seems to be a pretty standard set of ingredients (cashews, coconut oil, lemon juice, maple syrup…). They looked adorable, but even I, having put in so much work to make them and really wanting to like them, just wasn’t interested in more than a few bites and more or less all of them ended up in the trash. The taste was too nutty and not close enough to the real thing that my taste buds know and love.
This year his preschool was planning on doing a cheesecake making activity. While I was more than happy to accept their suggestion that he make a simplified “cheesecake” with vegan whipped cream based filling, I wanted to make an authentic cake for us to enjoy at home. I figured I’d give cashews one more chance since I happened to have an impressive stock in the cupboard. After spending, admittedly, too much time comparing recipes online I decided to wing it a bit and attempt a vegan banana coconut cream cheesecake, and this happened…(I just salivated a little).
With an anzac biscuit crust and the creamiest banana coconut cream filling, I was really surprised with the results. I think I’ve finally found my go-to cashew cheesecake recipe.
What did I do differently that I think made such a huge improvement to the taste and texture? I soaked the cashews for close to 36 hours before preparing the filling.
To prepare the crust I followed the anzac biscuit recipe, pressing the batter into my spring form pan as I would with any other crust recipe. Place a piece of parchment paper on top and fill the pan with almonds/beans to weight it down while baking.
Note on Alternative Crusts: If you want to make this gluten free, you can make a great and simple raw crust by blending 10-12 soaked and pitted dates, 1 cup of almonds (pistachios also work great), 1/2-3/4 cup grated coconut. Press it into the pan and let set in the fridge for 30 min. A traditional tea biscuit based cheesecake crust would also be great with this filling.
While the crust cools, pulse the ingredients for the filling – cashews, coconut oil, coconut cream, bananas, and maple syrup – for a good 2-3 minutes to let it become smooth and airy. Pour the mixture into the pan to evenly cover the crust.
For the chocolate topping, heat the remains of the coconut cream and, taking it off the stove, melt chocolate chips in it. Stir until the chocolate thickened (add more chocolate if it doesn’t thicken), and using a spoon drizzle the chocolate in a circular pattern around the cake. Don’t worry about globs or imperfections – it really doesn’t matter. For the final touch, you can take a fork and lightly drag it through the top of the cake to make it all look on purpose.
Here’s the recipe. If you’re looking for a crowd pleasing vegan cheesecake with an authentic cheesecake taste, I definitely recommend this one. Hope you enjoy it as much as we did!
- 1 cup rolled oats (I use thick oats)
- 1 cup whole wheat flour
- ⅔ cup cane sugar (you can also use brown sugar - use 1 cup if you like them sweet)
- ⅔ cup shredded coconut (unsweetened)
- ½ cup coconut oil
- 2 Tbsp maple syrup
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 tbsp boiling water
- ½ tsp baking soda
- pinch of salt (optional)
- 1¼ cup cashews
- 4 Tbsp coconut oil
- 2 Tbsp maple syrup
- 1 ripe banana
- ⅓ cup coconut cream (TIP: put the can in the freezer for 20 min and then turn it over before opening - all the creamy fat will separate from the liquid for you so you get an extra creamy result)
- ½ tsp vanilla
- Juice of ⅓ of a lemon (~ 2 Tbsp)
- ⅛ tsp salt
- 2-3 Tbsp coconut cream
- 2-4 Tbsp chocolate chips
- a splash of maple syrup (optional)
- Soak your cashews in water for 36 hours in advance.
- To prepare the crust, preheat the oven to 180 C and line a baking sheet (or two)
- Warm the coconut oil to a liquid state if necessary and add to your mixing bowl.
- Add the sugar, vanilla, and maple syrup to the oil and stir until uniform.
- In a separate bowl mix the flour, oats, coconut and salt before adding it to the wet mixture. Stir until well combined.
- In a small dish, add the baking soda to the boiled water and stir until it stops bubbling. Pour it onto your batter and stir until well distributed.
- Press into a lined spring form pan, cover with parchment paper and weigh down with nuts or beans.
- Bake for 8, remove the paper and nuts/beans and return to the over to cook for another 2 minutes. Let cool.
- To make the filling, Drain the water from your cashews and add them to the food processor together with all your other ingredients.
- Pulse for 2-3 minutes until smooth (scrape down the sides of the bowl if necessary).
- Pour the mixture into the pan so it evenly covers the crust and set aside.
- For the chocolate drizzle, in a saucepan heat 2-3Tbsp coconut cream (ignore the clear liquid. just take the creamy party) on the stove and remove from the heat. Add chocolate chips starting with 2 Tbsp and stir to help them melt. Add maple syrup to sweeten to taste. Stir as it thickens.
- Once the chocolate mixture has cooled for a minute, take a spoon and drizzle the chocolate around your cake (I attempted circles but you can do it as you wish).
- To create the webbed look, take a fork and gently drag it outwards from the center along the surface of the cake.
- Let sit in the freezer for 1 hour to set and then move to the fridge.