I am so excited about this recipe! Cheesecake is one thing I love but never get to have enough of. Turns out making a vegan one is fabulously smooth and creamy, and super easy to make. It’s adapted from the Minimal Baker’s 7- ingredient version- I changed the flavours and made the base out of biscuits, which I find is the surest way to make it taste incredible. I squashed up digestives- you can use lotus biscuits too. This recipe is dreamy.
This makes a relatively petite cheesecake, with about 6 portions- serve with fresh berries, and a dollop of vegan creme fraiche or ice cream. For a bigger cheesecake, double up these quantities. See below for flavour ideas- you can whip up a whole load of combinations using this recipe as a base!
Prep: 30 mins
Freezing time: 2 hours
300g biscuits- I used Tesco Everyday Value digestives, which are vegan, while most digestives contain milk or whey. Most biscuits would work here- try gingernut or lotus for a hit of warm spice. Vegan Womble has made a useful list of vegan biscuits available in the UK: https://veganwomble.co.uk/vegan-biscuits-uk/
4 tbsp Vitalite sunflower spread (add slowly, some biscuits need more or less than others)
1 tbsp vanilla essence
4 handfuls any red berries, fresh or frozen- think cherries, strawberries, raspberries, redcurrants, even grapes.
200g raw cashews, soaked in hot water for about an hour
Juice of 1 large lemon (approx. 50ml juice)
80g coconut oil
120ml + 2 tbsp full fat coconut milk- it’s important to get full fat, ideally with a a solid layer of cream at the top of the tin, which delivers a gorgeous, rich texture.
120ml syrup of some kind- I used Sweet Freedom fruit syrup (easy to find in supermarkets) but you could use honey (if not vegan), agave nectar, maple syrup, etc
- If you have one, grab a food processor, and crumble the biscuits into it and whizz until fine crumbs. If not, take a large strong freezer bag, or even a clean dustbin bag, and smash the biscuits with a rolling pin. In a separate bowl or pan, add the butter with a spatula and mix into the crumbs. To test the texture, grab a large lump; it should mostly stick together when you squeeze it between your fingers. If it is too dry, scoop in more butter.
- Grease and line a loose bottomed cake tin. I used a standard 9inch one. If you’re doubling this recipe, make sure it has high sides!
- Pour the sweet and crumbly base into the tin, and stick it down into the bottom. Press down hard until it’s firm and even and everything is stuck down- no crumbs floating around on top!
- Place in the fridge or freezer to harden.
- Then, make the filling. Take a large bowl, and add in the cashews, oil, milk, vanilla, and syrup. Using an immersion/ stick blender (best for smoothness) whizz all the ingredients together until you have a smooth, soft, batter. Add more vanilla to taste. It should be thick like cake batter- if it’s too thin, add more cashews.
- To achieve the layers which I have here, I split the filling into three bowls or jugs. One I leave plain/ vanilla. To the second I add a handful of berries until it turns pink, and for the third mixture I throw in loads of berries, to make it a succulent, vivid red.
- If you’re not layering, just add 3/4 of the berries to the filling mix and blend in, reserving some for decoration.
- Spoon the mixture onto the base, and freeze. If you’re layering, make sure to do one layer at a time, freezing. refrigerating each layer as you go. With the filling on the biscuit base, tap the tin gently on a hard surface to remove air bubbles and even out the top, and freeze or refrigerate until solid. It took me about an hour in the freezer for each layer. Freezing makes the layers faster to achieve at this stage, but make sure not to serve it straight away- no-one wants to eat frozen cheesecake! The finished version should be kept in the fridge.
This basic cheesecake recipe is easy to adapt for different flavours and ideas.
- Purple cheesecake- sub the red berries for purple ones like blueberries, blackberries, blackcurrants etc. Or mix up the two!
- Peanut butter- swirl some peanut butter into the filling.
- Bakewell- use almond biscuits in the base, almond butter/ cherry jam in the filling, and top with flaked almonds/ cherries/ cherry jam
- Christmas- sub digestives for ginger nut biscuits, and add a tablespoon of cinnamon to the base. For the filling, use the basic mix and add a tablespoon of brandy or vegan baileys, cinnamon powder, a teaspoon of nutmeg, vanilla essence, and the juice and zest of an orange. Top with cranberries or red berries or slices of clementine and a sprinkle of icing sugar