When I first adopted a totally plant-based diet, some 21 years ago, things like cheesecake went completely fell by the wayside. Vegan recipes hadn’t yet taken the world by storm and in those earliest days of compassionate eating, I did keep my culinary creations more basic. However, a few years later at a vegan gathering, I was thrilled to learn that not only was it possible to create a vegan version of cheesecake, but it could taste amazing.
Admittedly, the first ever vegan ‘cheese’ cake that I ate was still full of sugar, made with a biscuity, wheat-base and the main ingredient in the topping was tofu. It wasn’t exactly aligned with my healthier way of eating, so I never tried to recreate it. It wasn’t until many years later when I ate in a couple of out-of-this-world vegan restaurants, that I tasted a sugar free, semi-raw, healthier version… I thought I’d died and gone to heaven! My body began to dissolve into bliss at the mouth-melting, sensual experience of conscious, sweet decadence.
On both occasions I was sure to speak with the chef to offer my heartfelt compliments and ask what the toppings were made out of. They were both uniquely divine, using coconut and cashews for the topping. This just made perfect sense to me. The coconut helps to firm up the topping; and together with cashew nuts, creates the creamiest, cheesecake experience… no cream cheese required – ever!
With my recent strawberry abundance (my strawberry patch has been throwing out a few lbs of these red anti-oxidant rich berries every day), I decided that it was perfect time to write up a strawberry inspired ‘no-cheeze’ cake. I felt moved to use one of my trusted, raw no-bake bases, using nuts, seeds and dried fruits; and then utilise raw coconut butter (or in this case – creamed coconut block, which is a much less expensive version of coconut butter) and cashew nuts for the topping. Lemon zest works a dream to give that familiar conventional cheesecake zingy-ness.
The result was the most heaven-sent dessert! I served this recently for a group of 16 amazing people that I was catering for on retreat. They loved every single morsel!
Note: Creamed coconut is awesome! It comes in a solid block and is essentially the same as coconut butter. It’s not the same as coconut cream or coconut oil; so it can be a tad confusing (although super easy, once you ‘get’ the difference). For more information on creamed coconut block check out my page “What is Creamed Coconut versus Coconut Butter & Coconut Cream?”
Whilst the ingredients are healthy, it is still very rich and best enjoyed in moderation. However, there are times in life when only a decadent “Strawberry ‘No-cheeze’ Cake” will do, so I couldn’t resist sharing my delicious recipe with you – from my heart to yours…
- 150g soft dates (pitted)
- 75g walnuts
- 75g sunflower seeds
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Pinch of sea salt
- 1 teaspoon lemon rind
- 150g creamed coconut
- 125g cashew nuts
- 2 tablespoons maple syrup
- 125g fresh organic strawberries
- This recipe works best with a food processor, although you can also achieve this with a blender (see notes below).
- Soak the cashew nuts for two hours in advance using filtered (or spring) water. Once soaked, drain off the water.
- Line an 8" (20cm) round baking or tart tin, with parchment paper.
- Grind the sunflower seeds in a food processor or nut mill, until you achieve a rough 'meal' consistency. It can be a little more rustic than flour, although be sure that it's well ground. Toss in the walnuts and grind to a rough meal too.
- Add the dates, vanilla extra extract and blend in the food processor until it all sticks together.
- Press this mix evenly and firmly into the parchment paper lined tin (pressing firmly is important to get the base to compress together perfectly); and then pop into the freezer, whilst you prepare the topping.
- Grate the lemon with a very fine grater.
- Chop or grate the creamed coconut. If the coconut block is cold (i.e. if you store it in the fridge, then it might help to let it adjust to room temperature before using).
- Blend the lemon rind with the creamed coconut, soaked cashews (make sure you have drained off the water), maple syrup and fresh strawberries until creamy smooth.
- Pour or scrape the blended topping on top of the base. Smooth it out evenly and the pop it into the freezer to set.
- Leave in the freezer for at least an hour before serving. I prefer to freeze it for a couple of hours and then move into the fridge for serving later on.It is best to serve right from the fridge. This keeps it together perfectly. If you leave it out in a warm room for too long it will be much more fragile. If you keep it in the freezer then, then give it about a half hour to adjust to room temperature before serving. You can store it in the freezer for a few weeks too if needed.
Creamed coconut comes in a solid block (it's not the same as coconut cream or coconut oil), it is essentially the same as coconut butter though. Confusing - I know! I use creamed coconut and coconut butter interchangeably. Read about it HERE
For more delicious conscious desserts check out this page here: Healthy Sweet Treats
Or check out my recipe book here: Trinity’s Conscious Kitchen Recipe Book