Trying to keep the freshman 15 off was no easy feat in my first year of uni, especially when I had a secret love affair with cheesecakes. Actually, it was not much of a secret. I told anyone who would listen and willingly partake in cheesecake adventures.
My favourite Toronto memories always feature Future Bakery’s slices of cheesecake. Indulging in a creamy cake was the best way to escape exam stress, or project deadlines – in my opinion, of course. (Good Wife, anyone?)
Prior to becoming vegan, I initially worried how I’d break up with cheesecakes. Breakups are never easy, especially when you’re emotionally invested. Envisioning a future without cheesecakes was an important consideration, yet difficult decision to make.
Thankfully I followed through with my decision to become vegan because that’s how I stumbled upon the magic of cashews. I am glad to announce my once clean breakup with cheesecakes is no more and our flame has reignited. We’re stronger than ever, and we’ve also decided to take our relationship to the next level – all thanks to cashews.
I grew up eating cashews, but never in desserts. My fondest cashew memories are with dad when he would take us on 18-hour road trips to the U.S.A. Dad always had a massive tin of cashews next to him in the front, as my brothers and I freestyled chants in the backseat. On one trip, I even wrote a rap on the importance of environmental protection to Eminem’s “The Real Slim Shady” whilst snacking on cashews. Little did we know that, at least lyrically, I was a vegan in the making.
This recipe is the definition of perfection (again, in my opinion) because these cheesecakes are:
- arguably healthier because they’re RAW (all of the nutrients);
- you won’t feel bloated because this recipe is gluten and dairy free; and
- they are totally delicious.
My mum and dad think they are better than regular cheesecakes, which is huge because they don’t like cheesecakes to begin with (and dad is the foodie version of Simon Cowell). I have fallen in love with this recipe, and I’m super stoked to finally be able to share it with y’all!
- 2 cups whole almonds
- 2 tbsps maple syrup
- 1.5 tsp cinnamon
- 4 tbsps coconut oil or Earthsafe Soy-free Vegan Butter
- ½ tsp vanilla extract
- Cheese Filling:
- ⅓ cup coconut oil
- 2 cups cashews (soaked overnight)
- ⅔ cup coconut milk
- ½ cup agave nectar (or ⅓ cup + 1 tbsp Maple Syrup)
- ½ tsp vanilla extract
- ½ tbsp fresh lemon juice
- Blueberry Sauce - 1 cup frozen blueberries, 1 tbsp lemon juice, 2 tbsps maple syrup, ⅛ tsp cinnamon, ½ tsp cornstarch
- Chocolate - 1 cup chocolate chips, 2 tbsps coconut oil/vegan butter, 1 tbsp icing sugar/agave nectar
- In a bowl, soak 2 cups of cashews in water overnight.
- Prep two muffin trays with paper cups for easy cleanup and a nifty design.
- In a food processor, add your almonds, maple syrup, cinnamon, coconut oil/vegan butter and vanilla extract. Blend until the almonds are fine and the mixture can be moulded.
- Using a teaspoon, scoop out the mixture into the muffin cups, then press it down with either the back of the spoon or your thumbs.
- Place the muffin trays in the freezer, so the crusts can begin to harden whilst making the "cheese".
- In a blender, add the pre-soaked cashews, coconut oil, coconut milk, agave nectar (or maple syrup), lemon juice and vanilla extract.
- Blend until the mixture is smooth. If it still is chunky, slowly add more coconut milk.
- If you added coconut milk, ensure the sweetness is balanced by adding agave nectar/maple syrup.
- When the mixture is ready, take out the muffin trays from the freezer. Use a tablespoon, or small ladle to pour the "cheese mix" into the cups.
- I start by filling the cups half-way, and then top-off cups with any remaining filling.
- If you wanted to add any toppings, you can do so now.
- Blueberry Sauce - in a saucepan on low-medium heat, mix the blueberries, lemon juice, maple syrup and cinnamon. After a couple of minutes, when blueberries are cooking in the juices, slowly add the cornstarch to thicken the mixture. Once it has slightly thick, take a tablespoon to scoop the blueberries and place on top.
- Chocolate Sauce - melt the chocolate chips in a stainless steel/glass bowl placed on top of a pot of boiling water. Add the coconut oil and icing sugar/agave nectar. Once all ingredients have melted and are mixed thoroughly, use a small ladle to pour the chocolate topping onto the cakes.
- Cover the muffin pans with plastic wrap and place trays flat in the freezer. Keep the cakes in the freezer for at least 6 hours.
- Once ready to eat, use a butterknife to gently pop out the cakes from the tray. For any cakes you want to eat immediately, leave them out for a couple of minutes. The remainder can be kept in the fridge/freezer until they're ready to be eaten.
ENJOY & SHARE
If you love cheesecakes as much as I do, leave a comment below!