You might wonder why I would even go near a recipe like this when I have already perfected an actual cheesecake, made of everything a vegan would run away from ie. all the dairy eggy refined-sugary goodness that makes life worth living. Yeah I don’t know either. Nonetheless, I decided to give it a shot to see if it was possible to make a dessert with all the vegan/raw constraints but also lived up to my impeccably high standards of deliciousness.
Let me be absolutely clear about something. Although this may be a healthier alternative to the real thing, more nutrient rich and easier for your body to process blah blah blah, it’s still a calorie dense dessert. So don’t go eating a whole cake thinking it’s not going to your thighs. There’s still fat in this baby – good fat, but fat is still fat. In conclusion, you could just eat a small slice of real cheesecake and be just as happy, but I guess that’s not the point here.
Blending cashews turns them into a thick cream which you can turn into many things including this dessert. This is so rich, creamy and not too sweet – with a texture like firm ice-cream straight out of the freezer, but becomes more cheesecake-y and amazingly silky smooth on standing. I cannot hand-on-heart say this cake will replace real cheesecake in my life, but you must understand that I’m biased and find it hard to let go of dairy and eggs and sugar. Even so, I still found this deliciously enjoyable even though I knew deep down it wasn’t quite normal, similar to seeing Korean Elvis impersonators.
However, if you didn’t know what it was made of, or how it was made, you would love this rich and perfectly chocolatey cake and you’d swear on your life that there had to be some kind of dairy product in this thing. And the base is so good for something made from only 2 ingredients. You really can’t tell that the cake is made almost entirely of nuts, which I still find amazing. Obviously this won’t be so great for people with nut allergies so maybe consider warning people first in case someone goes into anaphylactic shock.
If you hate baking or are scared of baking, this is recipe is perfect because all it requires is a decent blender and an operational freezer. And then all you need are some unsuspecting suckers to eat some and then you can announce “Guess what? It’s vegan! And raw! And there’s no refined sugar in it!” and they will go, “Really? This delicious cake is good for me?!!” And they will think you are the best and most amazing person ever, which you are.
Raw Vegan Chocolate Raspberry Cheesecake
2 cups raw almonds or almond meal
Pinch sea salt
12 pitted medjool dates
500g cashews, soaked overnight and drained
½ teaspoon sea salt
¾ cup cacao powder
½ cup melted coconut oil
½ cup maple syrup
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Juice of one lemon
Extra water, if necessary, to achieve a thick but pourable consistency (about 1/2 cup)
2 cups raspberries (thawed if using frozen)
7 or 9 inch spring form cake tin (7 inch gives you a taller cake, I used a 7 inch tin here)
Soak the cashews in water overnight or for three or more hours. Drain them of water and set aside. Soak your dates in hot water for ten minutes, and start thawing your berries.
For the base, place the almonds and sea salt in a food processor and grind roughly (skip this step if using almond meal). Add the dates and process until the mixture is uniform and sticks together when you squeeze a bit in the palm your hand. Cover the base and sides of your tin with clingwrap. Press mixture firmly and evenly onto the bottom of your tin. Refrigerate base while you make the filling.
Using a powerful blender or a food processor, blend the cashews, salt, maple syrup and vanilla extract until silky smooth. This may take several minutes. Add the coconut oil and blend until combined. Stop as needed to scrape it down and get it all mixing well. If you are finding the mixture is super thick, take care of your blender by adding some water to make it easier blend.
Remove about 1/3 of the mixture and place into a bowl. Set aside.
Now add the cacao powder into the mixture still in the blender. Blend until smooth. Spread the chocolate mixture over the base.
Wash out your blender and place the remaining mixture in with the lemon juice and raspberries. Process until well blended. Spread the raspberry mixture over the chocolate mixture. Place in freezer for 6 hours or overnight.
Remove from freezer 30 minutes prior to serving to let the cake soften slightly.