Baked Vegan Cheesecake
Ok, this cheesecake has absolutely NO CHEESE and it is still really really good. Seriously, hear me out – this is a great vegan cheesecake that doesn’t taste like trash. I’ve had vegan cheesecakes before that made my mouth pucker into sadness, but this vegan cheesecake is so good that even your non-vegan friends will love it! Proof: I brought this cheesecake to a party last weekend and everyone completely demolished it.
My efforts to eat vegan-ish have been pretty successful so far, and I am determined to be a flexible vegan without giving up any of the foods that I love. Because for me food = happiness, and depriving myself of my favorite foods like pizza or cheesecake just wouldn’t do. So, I’ve been searching for vegan recipes that replicate these favorite foods, and one that I stumbled on comes from Minimalist Baker (one of the best food blogs on the Internet, no exaggeration).
The taste and texture of this cheesecake comes together so well because it’s baked! Most vegan cheesecake recipes I’ve found are no-bake, which is totally cool most of the time. But that classic cheesecake taste that I know and love can really only come from a baked cheesecake, and this recipe hits all of those marks for me. It’s lightly sweet, tangy, zesty, and honestly can easily be mistaken for the real thing. I adapted the recipe a smidge by adding crushed gingerbread cookie leftovers from my Vegan White Chocolate Truffles Recipe (link to that deliciousness here) into the crust, and I’m glad I did it. Gingerbread cookie crust is so good, and so perfectly fall!
I almost didn’t want to bring this vegan cheesecake to that party because when I first stole a teeny tiny taste of it I knew that I could easily eat the whole thing myself, and not feel bad about it at all! I’m a realist when it comes to food, and I know that it’s pretty much impossible to make tofu that tastes like Nashville Hot Chicken, but this vegan cheesecake really does just taste like cheesecake. It’s delicious, and you have to make it.
While you’re at it, check out a past cheesecake recipe of mine which also just so happens to be my most popular blog recipe – ever! Copycat Philadelphia Cheesecake Bars to the rescue.
- 3/4 cup gluten-free rolled oats
- 1/4 cup raw almonds, or walnuts
- 1/4 cup gingerbread cookie crumbs (or try oatmeal cookie crumbs, or graham cracker!)
- 1/4 tsp sea salt
- 2 Tbsp brown sugar
- 4 Tbsp coconut oil, melted
- 1 cup raw cashews, soaked in hot water for 1 hour
- 1 cup coconut cream (Trader Joe's makes a great one)
- 8 ounces vegan cream cheese (I used Trader Joe's brand)
- 1 Tbsp cornstarch
- 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup maple syrup (plus more to taste)
- 1 Tbsp melted coconut oil
- zest of 1 lemon
- 1-2 Tbsp lemon juice (plus more to taste)
- 1/8 tsp sea salt
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (176 C) and line the bottom of a 8" inch baking dish with parchment paper. Set aside.
- Add oats, almonds/walnuts, gingerbread crumbs, sea salt, and brown sugar to a food processor and mix on high until a fine meal is achieved.
- Remove lid and add melted coconut oil, starting with 4 Tbsp and adding more if it's too dry.
- Pulse/mix on low until a loose dough is formed, scraping down sides as needed. The dough should be more on the dough-y side and not too crumbly.
- Transfer mixture to parchment-lined pan and spread evenly to distribute. Use a flat-bottomed object, like a drinking glass, to press down firmly until it’s evenly distributed and well packed. Let it come up the sides a little.
- Bake for 15 minutes, then increase heat to 375 F (190 C) and bake for 5-10 minutes more, or until the edges are golden brown and there is some browning on the surface. Remove from oven and reduce heat to 325 F.
- Once cashews are soaked and drained, add to clean food processor along with coconut cream, vegan cream cheese, cornstarch, vanilla, maple syrup, coconut oil, lemon zest, lemon juice, and sea salt. Blend on high until very creamy and smooth, scraping down sides as needed.
- Taste and adjust flavor as needed, adding more lemon juice for acidity, lemon zest for tartness, salt for flavor balance, and honey for sweetness.
- Pour filling over the pre-baked crust and spread into an even layer. Tap on counter to remove air bubbles.
- Bake for 50 minutes to 1 hour, until the edges look very slightly dry and the center appears only slightly “jiggly” but not liquidy. When you shake it, it will have some give to it, but it shouldn't all look liquid - only the center should jiggle.
- Let rest for 10 minutes at room temperature, then transfer to refrigerator to let cool completely (uncovered). Once cooled, cover with plastic wrap (waiting until cool will prevent condensation) and continue refrigerating for a total of 5-6 hours, preferably overnight.
- To serve, lift out of pan with parchment paper and cut into bars or triangles. Enjoy!
Adapted From: Minimalist Baker